Posts tagged “Macro

My First Butterfly of the Season (Three Photographs)

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This Eastern Comma was probably in search of sap. Some of the trees are dripping, but the temperature is still a bit cool and that probably also slowed the butterfly down. This is my first insect of 2017, and with luck there will be many more. I was not prepared for shooting insects. I used my 200-500mm lens but it seems to have caught the detail needed. I have included a black and white photograph just for the fun of it.

Daddy Longlegs (Harvestmen) Three Photographs

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Daddy Longlegs may be common but there are many different kinds; their bodies display all sorts of patterns and color that unless looked at closely cannot easily be seen. It’s sometimes hard to tell the front from the back, their eyes are on top of their body and very small. They pose photographic challenges. It’s hard to get a detailed shot of the body and keep all the legs in the frame; it’s almost impossible to get a shot where all the legs are either in focus or not moving. All that said, these creatures can be quite interesting and they are harmless. They are also one of the oldest of insects. They are not actually spiders; they have their own family. More interesting, they don’t move great distances, they tend to find a place they like and do their hunting in a small area around it.

Dragonflies (Two Photographs) and a Note About Black and White

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I have noticed that compositions are more impressive in black and white when there is sufficient contrast to set out the subject and where the background is or can be made less intrusive. If you look at these two photographs you will see that the first works very nicely while the second marginally meets both criteria. I like both photos or I would not post them, but the second is a challenging shot in B&W.


Dragonflies (Three Photographs)

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As I never manage to get going really early or stay out late, most of my photos are taken in the middle of the day. This runs against most photography books prime contention that the golden hour or blue hour for that matter is best for photography (which I am not disputing). It’s just that interesting light and nature doing its thing happens all day and bright sunlight keeps my shutter speed where I like it. Working with daylight runs the risk of backlit subjects more highlights and shadows. However I cope and it works for me, especially with animals.



Grasshoppers (Three Photographs)

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It’s fair game that farmers and gardeners have some issues with grasshoppers. I have found them in meadows, in nature reserves and they are fun to shoot. A grasshopper defense is to jump and freeze in motion after that first jump. The trick is to watch where they jump and land. Assuming you move slowly, they catch your eye and move to take a closer look at you while hanging on to their refuge. That’s when I start shooting. From experience I know that they will stay put for some time and you are likely to get bored before they do. If you see a grasshopper there are usually many more around. They like the edges of paths and so you can stay on the path and still get shots like this.




The Last of My Bees (Three Photographs)

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These are the last of my 2016 Bees and I will have to wait until the new hives are active in the summer. The first bee looks like it was taken in a studio but I can assure that the last thing I would want in a studio is a bee. In the field they really don’t seem much of a problem. I may overreact when they buzz by me and I may stand back from the larger more menacing ones, but I have yet to have a problem with a bee. Those I see are hard workers.



Macro and Depth of Field (Four Photographs)

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Many people, including myself, do not shoot true macro when we shoot insects. True macro is when the subject fills the frame at 1:1 or greater (that is the object fills the sensor or is larger than the sensor). Even with macro lenses and extension tubes I am still not at 1:1. What does concern me is the working distance between the subject and my lens, the longer the lens (e.g. 100mm) the farther away I am from the subject (100mm gives 10 or more inches of working distance) and still be able to see enough of it. Short lenses mean having to get very/very close to the subject and makes the need for artificial lighting almost inevitable. So what does this have to do with aperture? The closer you are to a subject, the more limited the depth of field (sometimes only a few millimeters) at any depth of field. Going from F4 to F11, can have a small effect on depth of field, so the temptation is to use very small aperture like F16. Photos taken at apertures above F16 can suffer from diffraction adding fuzziness to the photograph. Unless you want to focus stack (take multiple photos at different apertures and combine them later) you will want that working distance I spoke about between you and the subject. It will give you a slightly larger depth of field because of the distance. Even then the depth of field will be narrow and you will have to decide how much of your subject and background really needs to be in focus. As for these photos, they were all taken at either F13-F14 and depending on how close I was to the subject you can see what is in focus and what is not. The ant is by far the most dramatic example of depth of field and I was very close. Sometimes circumstances dictate what we can have in focus, the damselfly photo illustrates this. Most macro tutorials tell you to take your photo so that your subject is side on to get the maximum in focus. They say not to take photos face on where the back-end can go out of focus, but as you can see I don’t always ascribe to the common wisdom.