So we had some really neat chunky snow flakes the other day. I ran out early in the morning and nabbed a few macro photos while the wind was low. The trusty 105mm Nikkor and the stalwart Nikon D800 were the weapons of choice for this hunt – maximum resolution and resolving power!
It’s incredible to see the intricacies of frozen water up close like this. I have included a square cropped image here of the larger picture to see more of the detail.
It’s pretty wild stuff to see!
The “ball” images above here are frozen chokecherries. They are almost the same image, the only difference is lighting. On the darker blue image I lit the chokecherry with a flashlight in close and feathered a bit to give the image some shape and specular highlights – which we didn’t get with the flat cloudy ambient light. #Sparkle 🤩
In this block of images you can see the crops of the above. The creative genius of God on display for our viewing pleasure! 😎👍🙏
This is just a quick blog post showing how I was shooting some macro shots of my favourite cameras this evening.
This behind the scenes iPhone shot shows the exceedingly crude setup. Main light is an AlienBee 1600 through a gridded Photoflex soft box. I setup my home made scrim as a big reflector and did a simple blue gelled flash pointed at the back wall to give a bit of colour. Very simple setup with a decent result.
I also shot the good ol’ Nikon Df with an old 28mm manual focus lens from 19 diggity 5. I took more of a macro approach with this shot and used that same blue flash to add that hint of glancing colour to the shadow side. The blue sets it off just that extra little bit.
I shot the same kind of angle of the X-Pro2 but it doesn’t work as well to me. The X-Pro2 is more minimalistic in its design, lending to a more covert external appearance anyways (which I like). There’s just not as much going on for the accent light to bring attention too. Anyways, just a fun little shoot for something to do.
Here’s a link to the Nikon photo in 4K resolution. I shot all these files with the Nikon D800 RAW so there’s resolution to burn. 😎👍
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.
Springtime is officially sprung in Saskatchewan when the Crocuses are blooming and the wood ticks are crawling! Both of which are true now! Oh well, we can still be excited about the Crocuses! 😎
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. 🙂
The kids got some super rad fiber optic tree things for Christmas. They look cool and have provided hours of entertainment already. So I decided to cash in on the coolness with my macro lens. Just like mini fire works! 😀
FYI: Just as an aside, I tweeted to Sasktel about when the Oxbow area will be getting Fiber for internet. . . . 2017. 😯
It’s been a long stretch with no bloggin’ so today I decided to catch up a bit. I have been über busy as of late with Grad shoots and funerals, plus and impromptu road trip with my boy. So I haven’t been doing much recreational shooting. But this morning after another glorious rain, conditions were perfect to do some raindrop chasing. The D800. For as much as I LOVE my X100s, I won’t soon part from the full frame glory of 36 glorious mega pixels. The color and quality of the images is really superb. Whilst wandering around the yard, I noticed a nearly microscopic spider. And thankfully, she (we’ll call her Charlotte :D) cooperated and I was able to nab a couple of images. There was a slight breeze which really sucks for macro photographers. I was already at IS0 3200 trying to keep a high enough shutter speed to freeze the motion. Tricky business. But super fun! Gotta love Macro. 😎
Bonus Video! BTS of the complete and utter gong show Macro Photography can be in the wind. Or breeze. heheheheh… 😆
I watched a documentary one time about Shaolin Monks. In the documentary, it showed them all doing super human things like balancing on one toe with 3 other monks on their shoulders, laying on a bed of nails without getting hurt, etc. And for recreation, they all balanced standing on each other in positions that would make Cirque du soleil jealous! To relax these people did this! Incredible! 😎
I think of Macro Photography in much the same light. For me, it’s a very nice, relaxing, fun kind of photography – that takes the utmost concentration! I’ve noticed it get even more challenging since I got the D800. The slightest movements of the subject render the shot out of focus, even at f/16. I think using DX for macro for so long I got used to the DX look of the photos. It appeared that more was in focus than with a full frame camera, but it’s not true. It’s that there is more photo there with a greater angle of view throwing more out of focus on the edges that simply isn’t there in DX. I put the D800 into DX crop mode and tried it out. Sure enough, both an FX frame and the DX crop frame had the same stuff in focus in the frame. It’s just that there was more in the D800 file to be out of focus. If that makes sense. 😀 Shoalin Camera Monk time! 😉
The name of the game today on this dark and dreary cesspool of flat light was macro lichen. It’s the little mosses that grow on trees. And no, they don’t only grow on the north side! 😉 heheehhee…… To me, these images look like an alien landscape, especially when you crop way in to 100%!
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. 😉
Spring is springing, the blossoms are blooming and the butterflies are flying! 😎 Exciting stuff. At lunch I noticed these butterflies swarming around like my brother at an all you can eat buffet. I grabbed the macro lens and went to town. It was awesome! Later I identified them as Vanessa atalanta – Red Admiral butterflies. The sun was high so everything was nice and contrasty and colour rich. Boo ya!
In the pub “Bobby’s Place” in Moose Jaw, there are his and hers bathrooms like in any other public house. However, in Bobby’s the doors are labeled “Laddies” and “Ladies”. I watched for over an hour as woman after woman went through the “Laddies” door! bwahahaah… 😀 They all came out with the same shock & awe embarrassment face! . . . That little anecdote has nothing to do with this blog post other than it’s about Macro Photography of Lady Bugs. 😉 Sorry for the red herring. Anyways, nabbed these shots of this lady bug today. Everything is super saturated in colour from the rain and dark cloud lighting conditions. I love the textures and the colours in these shots. The lady bug stands out like Shaquille O’Neil in Alameda. 😎
Can you imagine if this thing was people life-sized?? 😯 It would eat you and your family. I often think that, whilst doing macro photography. Blech!
Earlier this week I went down to Starr Liquor and Wine to buy a bottle of my favourite red wine: Angus The Bull (a delightful cabernet sauvignon from Australia). 8) It’s pure awesome! Big bold bull flavour. But alas, Starr didn’t have any in stock. 😦 But, lest my palette be dismayed, I caught a gander of a beautiful Scottish Lass! 🙂
So at last night’s photography club, we decided to go on the fall photo walk today. Beautiful, beautiful day for a walk in Shepherd’s ravine near Oxbow. I have been in there many times for geocaching and running the dog but low and behold, when we got there today, it was barricaded with a locked gate! CURSES! 👿 We had to park at the top and then hoof it on down into the valley for the mad shots. The exercise was good for us, so I’m not complaining. 😉 It was another fun photo event to be sure. I decided that I was going to shoot macro for this photo walk so all I brought was the 105mm AF-S VR Micro. That and my trusty reflector/diffuser, it was all I needed . It’s way more fun and way less complicated when you bring only 1 camera and 1 lens. Scott Kelby also did a photo walk today, you can check out the website here.
Check out this crazy green snake we found in our yard yesterday! It freaked me out, because normally we only see garter snakes. Then this glow in the dark green sucker shows up! I thought it was an escaped boa constrictor baby that snuck in on a banana shipment! Yikes! 😆 He slithered away behind a set of concrete steps. Hopefully to eat some crickets or something. 8)
I guess there was a big storm last night. I wouldn’t know. I slept through it all! 😉 But the tell tale signs were there in the morning. Ground was wet, raindrop remnants on the leaves. I looked out at our patio this morning and noticed that one of our potted plants had some pretty cool drops that were left over and evaporating quickly. I grabbed the picture mill and a flash and nabbed a couple of shots. It’s another one of those small world micro shots. They’re cool and often overlooked in the modern day haste of the world.
One of my other fun times things to do is go geocaching. And a sub-area of geocaching is the trackable/geocoin game where people actually mint coins that have tracking numbers and move them all over the world. On the geocaching.com website, you can track these things and see exactly who made them, where they’ve been or if they have a mission. I picked up this really cool geocoin in Regina called N&V’s 4musketeers Royalist Geocoin. It has a mission to travel to Château d’Arricau-Bordes in France. I was struck by how cool this coin was and I vowed to take some pictures of it to upload to its tracking page. I finally got a minute to do it and so here’s what I came up with. It’s a very unique geocoin! 8D
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:
Fly. Dragonfly that is. 8) There were zillions out in the back yard the other night, taking care of our mosquito population. I grabbed the 105 macro and an SB-600 on camera to add some much needed fill as the light was low and making some sweet cross lighting setups. I love dragonflies. They will forever be on the payroll at my house! 😉
Challenge of the Day: Micro/Close Up.
This is a cactus blossom growing in our backyard I was waiting and waiting and waiting for that ant to finally crawl up the bloom. Macro Photography =
1 part lens + 9,000 parts patience. Great Lighting. 8)
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! 🙂
I put together a macro studio light box tonight in about 3.9 seconds. It’s totally a synch. And, best of all, it’s cheap! Cardboard box, parchment paper, background and away we go! Check out how to make your own DIY Macro studio in this youtube vid.
The results rock the set. I was blown away at how nice the light comes through. And, using my SB-600’s made it super easy to control the ratios and placement of the lights. You could light this with ikea desk lamps too and control the falloff by simply moving the lamps closer and farther away. But strobe is cooler. 😉 It see endless possibilities for still life in this easy lightbox. Or, product photography if you do any selling of goods on eBay. Very cool stuff!