Cucumber tendrils in a Greenhouse in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia
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A bit of an older image (photographed in 2011) but I found a lot of photography opportunities with my Canon 100mm macro lens and these cucumber tendrils in a backyard greenhouse. I photographed the leaves and the flowers from a few angles but settled on these curled tendrils as the most interesting aspect of these plants.
More of my macro photography can be found in the Macro Photos Gallery.
Organic Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia
Ripe Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) in the Fraser Valley of BC
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These are some Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) I photographed back in August of 2011. I didn’t get the final editing done until now – but I wish I had processed these when I could actually eat some. Viewing these gave me a craving for some fresh Blueberries! Unfortunate that I will have to wait until around August before I can have some fresh ones again!
A closeup of two Crocus (Crocus vernus) flowers in the backyard last Spring.
This photograph was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to have a shallow depth of field that would blur the background. Since these flowers were at different heights, having them both in focus was not going to occur along with a shallow depth of field. I might have been able to get these both in focus with an aperture of f/16 or higher, but this would not have the background bokeh effect I was looking for. So this is a blend of two exposures shot at f/2.8 each focusing on the top of one of the flowers. The two exposures were then merged in Photoshop. I like the effect this created, and it shows that a “focus stack” doesn’t have to have everything in focus through the composition.
I haven’t shot any macro since last Fall so during a break in the rain I made this photo a few days ago. “Lady’s Mantle” (Alchemilla) leaves have lots of little hairs on them which always seem to collect such great water droplets. Made with my trusty Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
One of the things I love most about macro photography is how a small area of the backyard can suddenly yield almost infinite possibilities with a macro lens. One of my favourite macro subject are bees – and while I have shot a lot of these it can be rather hit and miss. You need a decent shutter speed as these and other insects don’t seem to sit still long while on a flower. To do this I shot at a higher ISO than usual (800 in this case), and at a wide aperture (f/6.3 for a little more DOF than f/2.8) so I could have a high shutter speed. I was also doing this hand held with a 100mm lens with no stabilization, so a shutter speed of 1/100sec would have not turned out well with just the camera shake from my hands (that 1/focal length rule). These guys dart around so much that using a tripod would drive one mad so these settings are important.
Even with settings like this there is still a lot of trial and error. So I take a lot of shots. This further illustrated to me my need to upgrade from my 2Gb CF cards – they were okay for my 30D but the 7D in RAW mode results in 22-25 megabytes for each photo. Once you start taking something other than landscapes having only 70 exposures available before switching cards is limiting.
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) -click to enlarge-
A few years ago I made it my quest to pursue the “perfect” bee on a flower shot. I took hundreds of photos – but my technique and understanding was not (apparently) very good. I wound up with a few keepers but nothing that really made me feel like I nailed it. Having to go through all of those shots burned me out on the idea and while I have shot the occasional bee since, I’ve generally avoided trying again.
I have a much better understanding of how to shoot this sort of thing now, and inspired by this post by Robin Black, I decided to try again. The lavender flowers in the backyard are somewhat past their prime, but the insects are still all over them collecting nectar. I found this Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) to be a more interesting subject than the plain honeybees, though the Skippers seem to be a lot more manic in their movements. I am quite happy with this shot, but is it the “perfect” Skipper photo? Not yet!
A few months ago I walked through Campbell Valley Park with only my macro lens on my camera. The point of this exercise was that I wanted to focus on just type of shot and not get distracted by other sorts of shots. I wanted to concentrate on the small things like this mushroom, or another subject from that day – a Bleeding Heart flower.
Unfortunately I am not adept at identification of fungi, so I’ll get as close as possible and merely identify this as some sort of Mycena sp.
Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) -click to enlarge-
This is a Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) flower I found in Campbell Valley Park. It doesn’t break any new compositional ground being a simple macro shot, but it did require a fair bit of patience to shoot. While in the middle of the forest, low to the ground, the breeze was still throwing these flowers around quite a bit so getting this shot required about 30 minutes. I managed to get a few shots that were sharp, luckily.
One thing that has helped me greatly in getting sharp macro shots is the live view mode on my new Canon 7D – a feature my old camera did not have. I find that especially with the macro shots zooming in using the screen not only allows me to focus better (using manual focus) but determine when the subject has stopped twitching in the wind. It also means I do not have to lie down on the trail to look through the viewfinder to compose the shot like my old camera.