Last 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.
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:
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.