Sunday, 16 August 2009

Macro A-GO-GO!

I finally got the chance to take my new macro lens out for an adventure! Macro photography is something that has interested me for a while now, but isn't something I've had experience with. So these are my very first attempts.....

I've left it a bit late in the year for nice flowers, but inbetween torrential rain showers I found lots of flying beasties! In particular there was tons of hoverflys, tiny wasp-like critters.

I had a grand old time crawling through the undergrowth chasing these, but found it very tricky in general. I was using the camera handheld, trying to photograph flighty little beasties as they flitted about. It was also a very windy day, so when the damn things did finally come in to land, the thing there were sitting on was swinging about wildly. To get the fastest shutter speed I used a wide aperture. I was frustrated that this meant the depth of field was too shallow in many cases to get the whole bug in focus (the first hoverfly photo above has this problem pretty badly).

So how do people get around this? I don't have a ring-flash (I only have the flash built into the camera). So is the solution just to use a tripod and hope for a relatively still bug to land nearby?

I would really welcome any tips/suggestions that you might have on this topic!

Whenever I did manage to get part of the insect in focus I was astounded at the sharpness of this lens. The images it produces are crisp enough to see individual hairs on the body of an insect no more than 1cm in length, it was astonishing. Also the 'bokeh' (quality of the out of focus light/features) of this lens is gorgeous! I'm absolutely delighted with my choice. Now all I need is to develop the skills to use this lens to its full potential!

I used manual focussing for all these photos as I found the auto-focus had real trouble finding what I was interested in. I think that this was the 'hunting' that people complained of in the lens reviews. Personally I prefer to use manual focus when I can, but with such fast moving targets it certainly added an extra level of challenge!

I spent quite a long timelooking for spiders, with the idea that at least they'd stay still and be fixed to a single plane (the web) but alas I couldn't find any. I hate creepy crawlies, and spiders in particular, but somehow they're much less scary when viewed through a lens :o)

One thing I did discover was that blue bottles are really pretty in close up! So at least now when I swat them with a rolled up magazine I'll remember that they're pretty when you forget how gross they are!