Just lately I’ve been frustrated at my attempts at photography. My complaints have revolved around not having access to amazing landscapes, not having access to much more knowledgeable photographers and their skills, not having the best camera and lenses… and then I realise that with macro and plant photography I can just step outside into my garden and shoot some flowers with a cheap 50mm lens and produce personally satisfying and fulfilling images.
The purple lilies were my birthday flowers. The others are Echinacea and Anemone. The camera was hand-held (I pondered using a tripod and may try again using it), and there was a slight breeze. Despite it being annoying as it moves the subject about thus making sharp images much more difficult, a breeze also creates some nice blurry bokeh and movement in the background. In fact, I’m falling in love with blurred, arty backgrounds achieved with extremely shallow depth of field. Would it be too much to make a collection of images of just smooth and silky backgrounds produced by using the crazy depth of field possible with a 50mm lens? I may find out.
I found a new hide yesterday. Great little find nearby, with so many species frequenting the feeders – including two Great Spotted Woodpeckers at one point! I was excited, it’s true, and spent an hour or so with the camera trying to get some decent captures. However, I was limited in light levels as, by the time I found the hide, it was beginning to darken. To up my shutter speed meant losing depth of field, and I do like my DoF… so I left the camera in AV mode and did my best with low light.
Many blurred images later, I have concluded I need to visit this hide in lighter hours, and use TV mode more for wildlife shots to obtain the really sharp results I want! I managed to get a few sharp(ish) shots, however, and have used LR to adjust the sharpness and shadows in the relevant areas. Here is a small selection – a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), a Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major pinetorum).
As part of my Advanced Method Zoology module, we undertook some imaging coursework. This involved photomacrography, photomicrography and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) work. I decided to try the focus stacking at home instead, as I can focus much more in my own surroundings. The subject of my work was Odonata (dragonflies) and I had a few specimens to photograph.
I used the Canon 100mm macro lens, which is quite probably the best lens ever for macro work (biased opinion). I have learnt how to focus stack, kinda, and it’s so much fun. I recommend it!
I took the new (second-hand) lens out into the garden to try to capture a closer shot of the moon than my very old 75-300mm lens used to allow. I stacked three of the clearest shots in Z stacker. I’m not sure how effective that was, as the stacked final only looks marginally clearer than the original sharpest image. I have compared it with an old shot of the moon I took in September with my old 75-300mm lens.
I’m looking forward to taking more images of the moon, on clearer night than this (it was a bit hazy).
The original images (below) was f/9, 1/100, ISO 100, at 400mm on a semi-cloudy night.
STACKED. Canon 100-400mm lens. Three images stacked. 28/12/2017.
OLD. Canon 75-300mm lens. f/5.6. 1/250. ISO 100. 02/09/2017.
Been messing about with aperture again. I have to say that aperture experiments are addictive, as is focus stacking. Yes, I’ve discovered focus stacking. I can’t put up some of my images yet as they are part of my coursework for my BSc. Zoology (Adv. Zoology module) – these will be uploaded at a later date – but I was messing about with some of these Physalis from my garden. Here’s a couple of unusual focus shots and my first ever focus stacked image. My technique needs a lot of work.