It has not been raining much this Spring. Last year, at this time, we got too much rain, only to leave us later in Summer with no rain for over a month. Having too much rain did help through the dry period, not like what other Southern areas experienced, yet it was a hardship for many shallow rooted plants.
But the way the weather appears to be changing, we are in for some crazy weather patterns this year. April 1 was our last rain and the day of the images shown here. There was not rain much before that either. But no need to dwell on the dry start to Spring because what will be, will be.
So, let’s change gears… and here is how I took the shot above, and one directly below.
They were taken with a macro lens, f2.8 (Nikon Micro 60mm 1:2.8 G) at 6 inches away from the big water drop. This image was four individual images to start and they were focus stacked. Focus stacking is an imaging technique where a set of images are shot at different focal distance to be stacked one on top of another in post processing, then blended in Photoshop to result in a selectively focused macro image. More than the narrow area of focus can be combined in this manner.
This, and the one below, were my first attempts at the technique, and I found it a very hard thing to do well. I plan to try this on bugs on a very calm day, if they stay still that is, since it must be done using a tripod for successful completion of the image match up. For those of you interested in this technique, you can go here. I have been using a similar technique in Photoshop previously, but not in the same way. It is my first attempt at using the camera in this manner.
And today’s post at Advanced Photography just came in on photographing water. This is exactly how I wanted to capture the shots. I send you there to be amazed and learn too. I should have done my exercise after seeing this post.
All the other images of the daffodil leaves were taken with a 18-135mm lens with an aperture set at f4 to blur the background. They are single images, and the lens is easier to use when hand holding the camera.
Soft and Blurry
I did take all these photos more than a week ago before I saw the video from The Grid on my last post. So much of what I learned from the Photoshop guys has been filed for future sessions. I purposefully left out a photo of a flower before I posted though! But, the guys are not going to get me to cease posting flowers. Many of the images, I followed Rule of Thirds, at least the best I could on a macro shot. I filled the frame too is some cases. Some rules just happen by habit, others need to be thought about first. Just like most things in life I guess.
The Japanese Maple leaves were taken with the 60mm macro lens as well, which got wet by the way. I have to watch that because I had my D80 camera go in for repair because it locked up when being exposed to moisture. I did not give it sufficient time to acclimate to humid conditions, my bad.
The camera I was using (above) in all these images was the D7000. It is much faster than the D80, plus it has many other juicy goodies.
I really should concentrate on getting a point of interest in each image, like a reflection in the rain drops (I have no reflection to speak of, just another leaf not well defined below). The images are a bit boring, but I did want to start using this lens for macros and not rely on a zoom lens. So, it was all about learning. It will take practice and better light to make this type of image below. I just included it so you could see what kind of shot I want to get.
The image above should have no grain. The ISO was 4000 (the problem) to get a 1/250 shutter speed at f4, still not high enough to freeze action adequately, but bright enough to get a photo. You can have no camera movement and need accurate focus. I used a wireless remote shutter release so the blur is all me on focusing.
In the maple images, the wind was blowing strong and I had to wait between gusts. The sun was breaking in and out too. The camera was set to 1/800, f2.8, ISO 640.
I added the image below after getting the comment on using the High Pass filter in Photoshop. High Pass is a very useful filter for increasing clarity in an image by adding additional contrast and sharpening to edges found in the image. But it should be used only on images needing the filter. So to show you what it does to the image above, I ran it on a duplicate of the original and then changed to overlay. But realize, I could mask the image also. What it did was over sharpen the image even though I had it set to only 5px. Highlights got blown out even further than was found in the original. I tried to place the image in the comment rather than edit the post, but WP does not allow this and strips the code. Click to see the two images and see why the filter does not enhance this image below.
I really hope this year brings us rain. We went most of the winter without snow. The garden plants are already suffering a bit. Photos are pretty after a rain and snow, but the weather has not been cooperating for my photo shoots. As much as it is improbable, travel should be in the cards to locations of interest.
Thanks for bearing with me on going outside my comfort zone here. Getting better pictures means learning to use my equipment. So that is my new goal, practice until I can get it right. Feel free to chime in on what can be done to better use this lens too, or even to make the images here better. Chances are I know the failings, but your advice is always welcome.
I want to thank Holley, from Roses and Other Gardening Joys for selecting GWGT for the Sunshine Award. It such an honor and I am quite appreciative. Holley’s blog is one I visit often and she is a whiz with Roses. Go and see!
And, the next post is a Big Thank You to another blogger for a wonderful and beautiful gift I received in the mail today. I will save it for next time, because the gift needs to be shown because it is so nice. Suspense….