I haven’t been shooting much Macro Photography as of late. And there is no greater bang for your photo buck than a macro lens. It is super versatile! But I do really like it as a genre. I find it very relaxing (in a Shaolin Monk balancing on one finger kind of way). It’s a very precise art form. It varies considerably from taking photos of people. There is a similarity in the patience and preparation needed to get a great shot. My Mom gave us a bleeding heart plant and we put it in our front garden. Every year it comes back and blooms these beautiful little flowers. I’ve been meaning to photograph it for a few years now and never got around to it. So last night I went for broke and got these two shots I was happy with.
Here’s a behind the scenes iPhone photo of how I made the images. I was using a speed light in an orbis ring flash for the main light. For a kicker on the top image I used an OLight S1 Baton. That little extra bit of light really adds to the 3D quality of the image. The bottom image was just the orbis from above instead of on axis to give the shot a more “studio” quality light feel.
Every once and while it is just awesome to kick back and relax with some macro photography. So much of the time we’re used to seeing the big, landscape madness photo. But if we slow down and crouch down, the tiny world is an amazing place. I was using my DIY Scrim and Orbis Ring Flash to control the light and reshape it. It still requires quite a bit of work, but I find it to be super relaxing. It’s kinda like Shaolin Monks when they are at rest:
😎 My good friend and gardener of the century Carol Tetzlaff had us out at her place to check out the Lilies that were in bloom. The weather was ideal and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Which also meant that the mosquitos had me for their bonanza. It was worth every bite. 🙂
I still love Macro Photography. Always will. There is no bigger bang for your buck than a macro lens. EVER! It’s so fun and enjoyable getting up close and personal to the tiny world. But it also takes some rockin’ portraits too. I love the extra bokehlicious num-nums I get when I use this lens. As the sun was sneaking away again for another night, I ran out to get some blossom photos. The kids were playing, it was loads of fun. The light was soft and directional. It was indeed a beautiful evening. Then, my dog rolled in cow crap in the back pasture and ruined the whole night. Sigh. 😉
One of the most relaxing, yet still challenging, things to shoot are flowers and gardens. A beautiful sunny day, some nice breeze and 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro lens. What could be better?! 8) I went over to the Tetzlaffs the other day and was able to snap some nice shots of their beautiful garden. It was a veritable macro shooting gallery with lilies and roses and petunias and dahlias and everything else in between. It’s a relaxing time because it’s slow, you take your time in setting up your shots verses fast paced candids where you have to be ready non stop. But there are challenges to overcome too. The first being wind. It’s always windy in Saskatchewan but with macro, even the slightest breeze is enough to give you blurry shots, even when on a tripod, which I was for many of these shots. Using my cable release and manual focusing I had to wait for the flowers to quit bobbing in the breeze. Also, another challenge is light. I shot the majority of these shots from 5-6PMish. The sun is still high and it was harsh lighting. I brought a big diffuser and a reflector though and made a light tent around the flower. The sun becomes the ginormous key light and the silver reflector provides some sweet fill. You get soft luscious lighting that still has some direction and complexity. I would call it even, but not flat light. 🙂 Anyways, here’s the take:
The best thing about living in a small town is that you can get away with stuff you probably couldn’t do in a city setting. No, I don’t mean peeing in your front yard or shooting vermin from the back porch. I’m talking about photos in public places. I asked at the friendly neighbourhood flower shop if I could take some pictures of all the beautiful flowers. They said yes. They probably didn’t realize I was bringing my tripod and ginormous reflector. heheehehe… 😉 I was able to snap photos for 2 hours in the green house from my tripod. I could never have done this in a city setting with scads of people crawling about. It worked fantastic and I was thankful for the opportunity. A CD of images as a thank you is coming to you, Green Bow! 🙂
For the record and the journal, I’m sick of rain. Thoroughly sick of it. As I’m sure all the farmers are too. But, it does provide some way cool macro opportunities. I grabbed my 105mm Macro and an SB-600 flash and went out in the rain, hunting drops and whatever I could find. The trickiest thing ever was the near hurricane force winds that were blowing everything around and drying up the raindrops at a rapid rate. I had to move quickly. As I was also using flash, I wanted to try some edgier light stuff. I dialled in Manual exposure of 250th at f/11-18 and then simply flicked the strobe at 64th power. A wee flick of light is all it took. I tried zooming the flash head too from 24mm to 85. I found that the wider swath created a nicer look. It would be sweet to have Nikon’s ring flash setup but it’s way too much cash. I think I will develop some ghetto form of a 2 flash setup for on the go macro stuff. I’ll put the order into the R&D department of Schultz Photographic… 😉
I went out on a bumble bee hunt with my macro lens the other morning before I borrowed it to a friend. Had to get my macro fix. Fortunately the weather has been ridiculously cold and I haven’t missed much macro action. I’ve been waiting for a whole year for my nan king cherry trees to blossom and attract the big buzzers. One of them showed up so I gave chase and nabbed a couple quick shots before he buzzed off for good. Our tulips in the front yard were also in full bloom, backlit wonderfully by early morning sunlight. And, this years crop of bush bunnies were also munching away. So I nabbed a couple shots of them too. All in all, not a bad little walk!
The hills are alive with singing! And crocuses! And also, regrettably, wood ticks. Be on your guard for the vampires if you go into the fields in search of the flower of the prairies! 🙂
Our neighbour dropped by this week and brought with her some daffodils for life from the Cancer Society. They were just beginning to open up which presented some pretty fun macro shots. Such a beautiful sign of hope for everyone who is fighting cancer and who has conquered it. 🙂