Now this is an oxymoron. Macro shots by nature need good light due to how close you generally are to your subject. But when you don’t have the beautiful soft light of morning or early evening, you can use just your camera to your benefit. Sure the images will not be quite as moody and soft, but they can be had anyway if you are willing to take the chance on your manual settings.
I am interrupting the regularly scheduled post, Chanticleer, Eleven in Twelve, On the Way Back, to bring you this special event from my garden. It coincides with a post on Green Apples, so I hope you jump over there after reading this. The post is called When the Light is Just Right for Photography. It showcases macro shots taken in Maine during lighting conditions best suited to soft and warm photos. See twenty images in beautiful light. The Crescent shows up again as a side view.
This is an image from the shoot in Maine for the post, When the Light is Right for Photography. Do you agree that the light makes for better images? Compare these and the ones from Green Apples to the ones in this post.
I think this is a Field Crescent, but I am not certain.
The Chanticleer Tour will continue, scheduled for July 25th. The end of July starts the garden walk gardens that I promised.
So what did I do differently? These images are not taken with a macro lens, but a 300mm. I did not use fancy extras, like extension tubes or even the macro lens I own. So purposefully not using what will produce a better image, here is what I got just by shooting with a high ISO, and before I hear it, I know grain is a problem especially when you blur a background. But trust me, you can get fine images with today’s digital cameras. I did not even use my Nikon D7000 here (the better camera).
Check out increasing the ISO on your camera. Many of these images were shot cranking the ISO up to 1600 and above. This allows for reasonable shutter speeds where hand holding the camera is necessary. Did you know pumpkin flowers were fuzzy or attracted many bees? The ISO above was 6400. The pumpkin is growing in my yard, by the way. More accurately, it is taking over the yard. You will see a post of this interloper soon.
Increasing the ISO allows for more light, like opening up the aperture to 4.8 or even more open does normally. The faster the sensor the more open the aperture in low light cases. You can get some nice bokeh this way.
Bokeh describes the character of the out of focus areas in your image. The best bokeh is those little round blurry colors of light in the background of an image. They occur when you adjust the depth of field with a low aperture and a short focal length. My 135mm lens zooms to 18mm like in this shot of the Monarda, backed by boxwood. Better yet, would be if the boxwood was wet. You would get more circles of light. What you are seeing is that the boxwood is dry and buff colored.
You can see, I sacrificed light somewhat. In fact, all these images were shot on a very dark gray day, a day hopefully awaiting a thunderstorm. Even a dark day can produce images that are not too bad. This is not your usual cloudy morning, good for nice saturation, it was a day looming with dark skies. Even the street lights were flickering on and off. So you can see how important camera settings are in capturing available light.
So the amount of light entering my camera was very dependant on my camera settings and the high ISO. The aim was to achieve soft images, but still have some color saturation, like below.
The other option was to use a flash. I took some shots of insects using the flash that I will show later. But using the in camera flash limits you to a shutter speed of 250. These settings can also be controlled when using a hot shoe mount flash. But I did not use mine here.
The whole point of this exercise was to show the difference that you get when you actually choose a good time of day to photograph. If you do, the resulting photographs will be lively and not flat. Hop on over to my post on Green Apples and see the difference in the macro shots taken there. It makes a world of difference. Also, there I used a 17-35mm lens and filters like a ‘real’ photographer.
This post was to persuade you to hop on over to Green Apples.
The photos there are soft, yet well focused. Blur is used more effectively. I just wanted to show a comparison of using a better camera, professional lens and a few filters, along with the most important… morning light.
These images were also taken in early morning light, but no sun. The sunniest thing in the garden was my little sunflower. Here’s hoping for rain. Now off to When the Light is Right for Photography. But first….
I have to put a smile on a fellow blogger’s face because he was disappointed I did not do a closeup of the Iris at Chanticleer. Here are three images Stone, I hope you come back and see I did not forget your comment!
Make sure and go visit Stone the Gardener. His blog is REALLY good. He has a great post on Freebies for the Garden that I saw this morning.