Macro Photos – You Can Do It!

Posted: April 29, 2009 in photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

1iconphotoLast weekend, while despairing at the state of my back yard, I noticed that the rose bush was freaking out with all the blooms. There were (are!) entire bouquets of roses on this poor little neglected thing that we’ve never done anything for except stick it in the ground and kind of coax one of the drip heads over toward its general direction. Apparently our neglect just served to motivate this little rose bush to Show Us that it could thrive.

Feeling a little guilty (raised at Granny’s knee, I’m of the camp of allowing living outdoor things to remain, well, living outdoors), I snipped one of the stems from the bush and carried it into the house. I stuck it in a bud vase with some water, then cast around for a well-lit place to take pictures and mess around with macro shots. We keep our house pretty dark in order to keep it cool (at the sacrifice of natural lighting, alas), so the best option at the moment was the bathroom, with its northern- and western-facing block windows.

I set up the tripod and attached the camera – for the shots I wanted, it was necessary to set the tripod up at near its highest level, point the lens down at the flowers, and drag out the step-stool so I could look through the viewfinder. I stopped down the lens to its lowest f-stop, which for my camera/lens combination was 5.6 (my kingdom for a macro lens!). Then I zoomed as closely into the flower as I could, allowed the auto-focus to do its thing, and set the camera shutter release on the timer so I wouldn’t jar the camera by manually pressing the button and end up blurring the photo. Calvin darted in with the water bottle and sprayed the blooms – he’s good at added touches like that.

rose04_042509
Exposure: 0.04 (1/25); Aperture: f5.6; Focal Length: 55mm; ISO: 200 – click on the photo for larger versions.

rose06_042509
Exposure: 0.04 (1/25); Aperture: f5.6; Focal Length: 55mm; ISO: 100 – click on the photo for larger versions.

I love how only parts of the flowers are in focus. Basically, the rule is, the lower the f-stop, the more the focus is narrowed to what is directly in front of the lens, and the more “blurred” the background is. This style of shooting is great for portraits, too, when you want the focus of the photo to be directly on the subject, without all of the “noise” of the background.

Here’s a shot at f8, the next “stop” up, which shows a little bit more of the flower in focus. It may be easier to see what I mean if you look at the larger versions:

rose05_042509
Exposure: 0.04 (1/25); Aperture: f8; Focal Length: 55mm; ISO: 200 – click on the photo for larger versions.

It’s an addictive photography technique. I find I want to take macro shots of everything, now. You might have to deal with my obsession in the near future. You love it, admit it.

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Comments
  1. boundandgags says:

    Nice pictures! You and Dave – http://davidlevine.wordpress.com/ – should go into the plant porn businesss together.

  2. iamheatherjo says:

    Purdy!!

    I don’t mess around with my tripod (my friend Lorrie would say pi-trod) as often as I could (or should?). But when I have, I’ve used my little wireless remote instead of the timer to avoid camera shake too.

  3. Kim says:

    Got-DAMN, I need a good camera.
    Those are beauts!

  4. Taoist Biker says:

    I say what Kim said!

  5. crisitunity says:

    I say what they says!

  6. David says:

    I think I can SMELL them roses!!

    • Laura says:

      They do smell good – the rose bush has exploded so much right now that we can smell ’em coming in through the windows.

  7. […] am the Anti-Laura. Laura says she sometimes neglects her yard yet she gets this. I frequently work in my yard and what to I […]

  8. […] am the Anti-Laura. Laura says she sometimes neglects her yard yet she gets this. I frequently work in my yard and what do I […]

  9. […] Laura says she sometimes neglects her yard yet she gets this. […]

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