Yes, I was rooting around in my archives last week and found these beauties.
My wife has a large patch of day lillies in the back of our yard. I never tire of photographing flowers. I liked the way this trio presented themselves. They remind me of maroon velvet. Aren’t they lovely?
So how do I get them all in sharp focus? A tripod is essential and I have a nice heavy one that can get very low to the ground. You need the rock solid support so you can stop your lens down enough. I generally don’t go smaller than f/11 if I can help it because you begin to lose definition from diffraction at small apertures. You can’t fight the laws of physics.
My favorite macro setup, 75-150mm manual zoom lens with my Nikon 3T two element diopter (close up attachment), is all manual. If I had auto-focus I would turn it off for shots like this one because auto-focus is a nuisance for macro photography.
I first read about Nikon’s 3T (and 4T) multi-element close up attachments in John Shaw’s excellent “Closeups in Nature.” I highly recommend this book. It’s filled with well written advice from a master nature photographer and the images alone are worth the modest price. When I checked the price at Amazon ($16.47), they invited me to view my order — I discovered that I bought the book on May 22, 2001. LOL
I have learned so much from this one book. The pages are starting to fall out of my copy from years of use. Get it. You’ll never regret the purchase.
John Shaw uses Nikon equipment and has gone 100% digital. I think most of the images in Closeups in Nature were shot with a Nikon F3. Hey! I have one of those and it’s the camera I always use for my macro photography. The advice in John’s book is just as appropriate (maybe more so) in our digital world.
When you are using a low ISO and your lens is stopped down, you’ll be shooting at a slow shutter speed. Besides needing a tripod, when you get below 1/30 second, vibration from the mirror in your SLR can introduce vibration and you’ll lose sharpness. When you get below 1/8 or 1/4 of a second, the camera can settle down. So what do you do for the in between? You lock the mirror in the up position before you press the shutter.
Wait. You are using a remote release aren’t you? You should be because even the “gentlest” touch on the shutter button can move the camera and that’s a no-no.
I switch my TTL metering to manual for macro, and I often use a hand held incident meter as a second check, then I choose my exposure. Since I’m using film and must wait for processing (no histograms), I’ll bracket my shots to be sure I get a good one. The light meter in my F3 is almost always dead on, but why take chances.
I was going to write a tutorial on how I do macro photography, but John Shaw is a fantastic teacher, so I thought I’d tempt you with a few goodies and let John show you the rest. Macro photography is so rewarding, especially when you understand how to “do it right.”
Be sure to visit Lisa’s Chaos for more Macro Monday photos. Thank you Lisa. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to share.