Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Getting More Macro

Anyone who has read this blog, knows that I have an affinity for macro shots. For Christmas, my husband gave me a 105 mm lens so that I could really get macro. He knows how much I enjoy the smallest details of garden life. Recently, I spent some time getting to know my new lens. It has had its challenges but has been rewarding at the same time.



The beauty of this lens is that it provides even more detail in pattern and texture of the subject, in my case plants and insects. The challenge is that when you get in this close the slightest movement, from wind, insect or photographer (even with the vibration reduction on) can mess up your entire shot.


A lot of the time the subject can't all be arranged on the same plane and so I have to decide what is going to be in focus and what is not. And yes, I was only inches away from this snake when I photographed it.


Sometimes throwing more of the subject out of focus makes for some interesting results and a little more of an artistic look.


With macro shots the background will always be out of focus. Out in the garden it can be challenging to get the right background because of the angles you have to shoot from. I found that choosing a plain background makes the photo simpler, focusing on the main subject.


The fun part of all this is discovering the microscopic world. Many of the insects I looked at are very, very small, like the spider below. He is hanging on the parsley leaf which gives you a reference to how small he really is. Normally, these creatures go unnoticed because we focus on the bigger things in the garden.


I shot all these without a tripod but I think I will invest in a small, flexible one to get some sharper results, especially with the very tiny insects.


There is a whole new world waiting to be explored behind this lens. 

29 comments:

  1. Really nice pictures. Congratulations on the new lens.

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  2. Amazing photos! Love that one with the snake.

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    1. Thank you Jason! The snake was a fun find. Taking photos of moving targets is always a challenge no matter what lens! :)

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  3. I have the same lens and it really is a great one. You are right, with any macro lens it takes some getting used to. Nikon recommends using a tripod, but I rarely do now that I have gotten used to the lens. You are right too about images being very artsy. I find I prefer images with selective focus, rather than all being crisp. I too shot a garter snake with it last year. Your snake has a 'annoyed' expression. Have fun with the lens, you will find so many things to shoot.

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    1. The snake was annoyed having a camera shoved in his face. He kept sticking his tongue out at me but it was so fast it was difficult to get in focus. I tend to want to get too close to the subject and then have to pull back. This lens is heavier than my others so once I have focused and set the camera I tend to be a little shaky. I am sure with practice I will get it down faster.

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  4. They're all amazing shots but I particularly like to spider... you have so much talent Karin and this is all without a tripod!

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    1. You are so sweet, thank you! Spiders make fascinating subjects especially when they make such interesting webs. Plus it helps that they stay still for long periods of time.

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  5. You have real talent - both in the taking of the picture and the eye for composing it. Beautiful!

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  6. What a great gift, and I know you are having a blast using it! Your photos are amazing. Not too sure you should be getting so close to a snake, though!

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    1. Ha! It is non-venomous so I felt comfortable being closer plus my husband was standing near by and he is very good at handling snakes.

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  7. They are all impressive shots. I love the tiniest detail in every subject you took. What a talent!

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    1. So glad that you visited and enjoyed the photos! I didn't even see all the details until I looked at the photographs. It opens up a whole new world.

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  8. Beautiful shot of the snake!

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  9. I shoot with a 105mm most of the time too. It is definitely my favorite lens. Now that I'm needing readers for the majority of the time, the lens picks up so much more than I can see! Such a great capture of the snake...you're a courageous one :) Enjoy the learning curve; it gets easier and you'll soon be able to maneuver the lens like a pro.

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    1. Your photos are spectacular Cat. Now I know your secret :o)! Good to know that it will get easier.

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  10. I've been thinking lately that I need to use a tripod more. When I use my digital zoom, I just can't get the same quality because I shake too much. Great shots! The spider and the Dandelion are my favorites from this batch!

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    1. I find a tripod difficult to use when I am shooting wildlife, especially the insects and birds that tend to move around a lot so I rarely use it with my zoom lens. The macro lens is heavier and it takes me more time to set up and focus so my hands are tired by the time I am ready to take my shot. I hope it will get easier over time or my muscles get stronger.

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  11. Congratulations, may your journey from photographer to artist be filled with both frustration and joy, failure, and many, many successes.

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    1. The rocky road is certainly more rewarding and educational. Thanks for the words of inspiration Charlie!

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  12. Here's to plenty more wonderful photos with your new lens! It looks like the snake is ready for you to choose a new subject.

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    1. Indeed, he was pretty annoyed and feed up by the time I got finished. He slithered off in a hurry once I moved away from him and he didn't think I was a threat anymore.

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  13. Fabulous Karin....I love inspecting the finer details up close in the garden behind and in front of the camera.

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    1. Isn't it incredible Donna! There is so much to be learned in the fine details. And so much of it we miss if we don't stop and really take a good look.

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  14. So many beautiful photos in this post Karin. You've really mastered that new lens. Interesting that you note the slightest movement or breeze can mess up the shot though. I know how hard it is with the wind to get a good shot with my camera, can't imagine how much more difficult this would be with a macro lens.

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  15. Great shots, Karin - I especially liked the one of the snake (courageous), but all are nicely detailed. Yes, macro can be a challenge - the right dof can be difficult to achieve. You might consider getting a gorillapod - small, light but holds a DSLR + large lens, and very flexible.

    I don't have a macro lens (yet) for my new full-frame camera - am trying to learn to use some close-up lenses with my 50mm lens.

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  16. amazing macro photos ... I love them too

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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