Another grey damp day so after doing my homework for the HNC in Photography and ordering some canvas prints for the Lochalsh Art Fair I decided to try out some more options with macro. This time I dodged the midges by bringing some things indoors. So in the kitchen I set up a background of ferns, some green, some turning russet. I decided on some scabious flowers collected from just outside the house and set it up in front of the ferns, held in place by a Whimberley Plamp. I used Live View to try and get the focus right and various aperture, shutterspeed and ISO combinations, plus the use of some fill-flash, but this one, using only natural light from the window plus a white reflector and a long exposure worked best. Despite usng a fairly small aperture the macro lens still produced a nice Bokeh effect in the background, but this allowed me to get more of the flower head in focus.
Throughout this exercise I found focusing very challenging as the whole subject wobbled about when I adjusted the focus, being attached to the same tripd as the camera. I need to think about better ways of reducing that movement if I am to sort out the focusing challenge properly.
The next shot is of another flower head on the same plant but which has not opened yet, so it was a bit smaller. In this case I used some fill flash from below and to the right as the bottom right side of the flower was very shaded, the window being off to the left. This, and the wider aperture allowed for a slightly faster shutterspeed and the smaller flower head meant that most of it was still relatively sharp. If you look carefully you can see a very small mite or spider in the bottom right of the flower head (slightly blurred as it was moving a bit). I tried lots of options but I can't quite master the flash proeprly so I guess that needs to be my next focus for practice and experimentation, and perhaps a bit of reading.
I also had another go at the acorn from outside. The following shot is the best I managed and with the use of fill flash I think the colour balance is a bit more subtle. For this one I simply mounted my Canon Speedlight 420 on top of the camera, with a diffuser to soften the flash and angled slightly upwards, bouncing off the ceiling in effect.
For the last shot I focused on the oak buds instead of the acorn. This time I deflected the flash more so a slightly longer shutterspeed was required. The depth of field is very shallow in this one, probably as a result of me bringing the camera in much closer to the subject.
I am an amateur photographer who is also a Chartered Geographer with his own part-time consultancy business and I work as an estate manager for a national conservation charity in Scotland. I am based in Lochalsh, Wester Ross, Scotland, just next to the Isle of Skye.
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