Who knew?

Ack.  I’m struggling with macro shots.  I’m trying to learn.   Aperture and f numbers, speed, let in more light/let in less light and focus.  Then there’s the tripod, the lenses (right now I use extension tubes: 30 mm/20mm/12mm until I save for a regular macro lens) and the lens cleaner.  Oh, I forgot about the SUN, overcast, wind….I’m sure I’ve left out a lot more.  To me it’s like trying to get all the components of dinner on the table at the same time!

Practice, practice, practice!  I was out practicing the other day and found some moss* to shoot.  I got all set up, looked through my lenses and WOWZA!  Who knew?   Moss* has the coolest spikey flowers!  I had no idea until I looked through my lenses.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.    ~Henry David Thoreau


The  “flowers or flower heads” with some frost glinting on the moss in the background.

**Ok…now I’m not sure what this is!  After researching “Moss in Winter”…I couldn’t come up with the version here at all.  It resembles moss, and I read there are 15,000 different varieties of “moss” in the Americas.  I’ll keep looking.  If any of you know what this is, let me know! 

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26 thoughts on “Who knew?

  1. I love this picture…it looks as though you tossed a handful of little red chili peppers in the air captured them there forever. Nice!

  2. this one looks great, well done. ya i know, it can be confusing, a lot of factors will affect your macro shot, any shot for that matter. just keep at it, practice, practice, practice, take your time, relax, read up all you can on the subject, and have fun with it.. ;o)

    • Thanks Dianne! I was out again today…but using aperture priority….figured I’d backtrack a little. I did come in with more focused shots that the past few days! Thanks for your tips!

  3. I have a macro lens that I have looked at for about 2 months now. It was a gift from my husband.

    I just stare at it. I keep thinking, “You don’t scare me.” Yes, it does. ~~~ : – O

    You have given me a little push to hold it in my hand. Maybe, I’ll get it on my camera this weekend.
    I see there is a lot of new things I may begin to see.
    Good job on this ..

    • Thank you, Isadora. I went back to aperture priority instead of full manual. That way I decide the aperture and focus and the camera takes responsibility for the shutter speed. My Nikon D-80 has an “A” for aperture. I set it on that, the rest is set for manual. It’s a good way to start. And it’s really fun to get up close and personal with nature! Good luck! Let me know how it goes! We can learn together. 😉

  4. Hi Judy, sorry to say I don’t really have any experience of macro photography.
    If you want the red flower heads or all of the image in focus, I suggest may need to reduce the aperture size by increasing the f-stop value (eg from f4 to say f 16 of f22) but then you will need to increase exposure time to compensate for the smaller aperture. This will increase your depth of field, and give you more of your subject in focus. You might like to try out this link. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi Judy. For what it’s worth, you might want to try practicing with close-up indoors–in a controlled environment (predictable, even light and no wind)–until you get the basics down. Once you get the technical parts down, you can venture outside to deal with the elements already confident in your ability with your photographic equipment.

    Just a couple of very quick tips:

    1. manual metering…properly judging exposure is an exercise in learning about tones and how your camera’s meter reads them. I photograph in full manual using the spot metering mode (doesn’t mean that you have to do this, mind you–there are many different methods to attaining the exposure you desire). Your camera’s meter, in essence, is trying to expose everything as a neutral tone…but not everything IS neutral. (This is why, if you go out on a snowy day in bright sun, if your meter is going to underexpose the scene…because it wants to treat bright white–which is roughly 2 1/2 stops above neutral–as a neutral tone.) This is a lot easier to DEMONSTRATE than explain believe me.

    2. Depth of field…the smaller the aperture (the bigger the f-stop number), the more depth of field you have. The larger the aperture (the smaller the f-stop number), the less DOF.

    3. Keep in mind that exposure is a relationship between three things–aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Each of these factors has a different relevance to the final product (aperture, as mentioned above, is relevant for depth of field; shutter speed is relevant for how long the shutter is open and will frequently dictate how a moving object (or an object subject to movement, like a flower or leaf on a tree or shrub, etc.) appears; ISO, in the digital age, is a mimic of the sensitivity of film back in the old days…now it’s technically a measure of sensor signal amplification, but basically you should set this at your camera’s base level (I believe it’s 200 for the D80) whenever possible to achieve the aperture/shutter speed combination you want.

    All of these factors work in concert…so, in terms of the exposure of tones, if you select the following set of readings as the desired exposure:

    ISO = 200
    Aperture = f/8
    Shutter speed = 1/100 sec.

    It’s the exact same tonal rendering as:

    Shutter speed=1/50

    Compare the two. You have raised the ISO one stop; you’ve closed the aperture by two stops; you’ve slowed the shutter speed by one stop.

    All of the factors involve the amount of light striking the sensor. The ISO jump has made the sensor “more sensitive” so you’ve GAINED ONE stop.

    The aperture has been closed down to allow less light…you’ve LOST TWO stops.

    The shutter speed has been slowed to allow more light…you’ve GAINED ONE stop.

    Treat it like as simple arithmetic:

    1-2+1 = 0

    The exposure is exactly the same in both instances.

    Hope this has been of some help. Any questions, drop me a note.

    • Kerry….
      You are so kind to do this for me. Thank you for taking YOUR time to help me.
      Today I tried Aperture Priority…but kept it on manual mode so I could still control the focusing. I also tried several different apertures on the same shot between f/5-f/32…just to hammer things into my brain. I did better today than yesterday. Still more to learn!! You know, I was never good in math! lol So I’m happy the math is that simple! 😉 Thanks again, Kerry. I will definitely try your tips.

  6. I have a macro lens – although not the closest type – and I fail every time I get it out! The wind is a big problem when I try flowers or insects and if I try indoors then I get the light wrong. So, I put it away then try again a few weeks later and fail and put it away and …..
    But I really like your shot,very effective 🙂

    • Thank you, Gilly. I feel totally the same as you do! I’m forcing myself to use my extension tubes (saving for a macro), playing with shutter speed, aperture and actually changing the ISO…which I never paid attention to before! 😉 I have an enormous problem with manual focus because it seems as though there’s such a tiny “window” where it’s perfect! Today I was working with some store-purchased tulips. Maybe the two of us can inspire each other!

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