A few weeks ago I bought myself a macro lens, and since then I’ve been having a lot of fun! This Friday was a beautiful, sunny day so I went down the West Leederville Community Garden and wandered around taking photographs. The results are over on flickr.
Macro is tricky. Most of the subjects I’ve been photographing move. Plants move with the breeze, insects and other creatures move (often very rapidly) of their own will, so you need quick exposure times. In order to get useful depth of field with this lens (perhaps half a small flower’s width) you need to be at least at f/9. To get enough light for these conditions, I’ve been relying on one or more of bright sunlight, a ring flash convertor and occasionally the built in flash on the camera body.
Even then you have a thin area in focus. Plants in a breeze sway backwards and forwards, so you have to patiently wait for the breeze to die down or for the plant to drift into focus. The camera gets heavy quickly when you are in an awkward posture trying to photograph something.
In short, it’s been tremendously fun. I had no idea that centipedes live on my balcony until I got a somewhat blurry photograph of what the WA Museum on twitter told me was a stone centipede. Playing about with nighttime and the ring flash gave some fun results; I’ve found this photo makes a cheerful desktop background:
It’s a snapdragon seedling, a couple of weeks old and shooting up.
The great thing about photography as a hobby is that it pulls me out the door. Bird photography has sent me off on trips marching about in the bush by myself. It’s really fun to have a new place to look for photos, finding insects sitting on petals or ants running in and out of surprising places.