Sunday, August 5, 2012


On Saturday, August 4th, I felt a need to do some macro photography.  It was warm and sunny, and I headed to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.  But after wandering around there for about 10 minutes and seeing nothing,  I packed my gear and left for the Mitchell Domes, knowing that there would be something to shoot.

I know that I am looking for different subjects than are most of the people that come to the Domes with cameras.  But I also knew that I needed to find something at least a little different from the subjects I had been shooting in the past.  I was only partly successful in that regard, but I was OK with what I did find.

The first thing I shot was some sort of purple flower with very long and narrow stamens.

Although the petals were an awesome purple and were relatively two- rather than three-dimensional, the stamens and pistol were, as I said, very long and projected quite far from the flower's face.  That translates into depth of field issues.  I wound up taking the above shot at the narrowest aperture of f/51, which kept the business part of the flower in pretty good focus.

The following shot covers old territory and is a bit simple.  This vine was about four inches long.

I was happy that I was able to darken the background to further isolate the subject vine.  I also decided to place the vine on the right side of the image in post-processing just to create a little more interest.

I had brought only my macro lens, which is a 90 mm prime lens.  That generally means that I need to be fairly close to my subject.  However, the following stalk, perhaps a foot in length, was across a small man-made pond from where I was standing.  I took the following shot anyway and then cropped it way down in post-processing.  Even though this shot was taken with a wide open aperture, there is a lot of clutter visible in the background because of the distance between the camera and the subject.

Maybe next time I will pack a longer lens.

Another plant that caught my eye was the following dracaena (I think).  I liked the plant's colorful appearance, as well as the woven pattern the narrow leaves presented.

The problem was that the leaves were projecting to the front and the back as well as to the sides, creating a very three-dimensional subject.  That causes real depth of field issues:  There is no way to keep all of the leaves in good focus with a shot taken at close range.  I could have taken a shot from a sufficient distance to handle the depth of field issues; however, that was not the shot I was looking for, as the weaving structure would have been lost in the mix.  So I decided to focus just on the central portion of the plant and was able to position the camera so as to avoid any leaves extending directly toward the lens, as they would have been badly out of focus and would have been a major distraction in the image.  As it was, I needed to crop the image somewhat to eliminate those leaves most out of focus.  I didn't mind that there were still some focus issues at the periphery (including the leaf extending toward the upper right corner), but I was a bit disappointed that there was light on the left and dark on the right.  Even so, I like this shot quite a lot.

And here is another familiar subject--a plant whose large, monochromatic leaves were being backlit by the sun.  Here are three shots that I took.  This was a very large plant, and the images only concern a small portion of it.  The first photo is a very mundane image with the center of the plant in the center of the image.

I decided I didn't particularly like this composition.  I also didn't like that the leaf on the right didn't have the same quality of green as the others in the image.  The following shot doesn't suffer from the problems that the first shot had and emphasizes some quasi-parallel lines.

But maybe it's a little simple.  For the third shot, (in post-processing) I placed the vertices of the lines created by the plant in the lower right corner.

Finally, here is a shot of a string of buttons plant in the Desert Dome.

I was able to place the three mature blossoms in pretty good focus, but the immature, reddish blossom was quite a bit closer, and I could not keep it in good focus without introducing a lot of distraction in the background.  This shot was taken at a wide-open aperture of f/4.

Taken with my Nikon D7000 with Tamron 90 mm macro lens.

1 comment:

  1. Some of these are SOOO GOOD. The second photo (vine), the one with red-edged leaves, and the final of the green leaves. Wow!