[/caption] An extreme close-up of a water droplet hanging on an Iris flower offers a great macro opportunity. I wasn’t using a tripod so I had to be sure and remove my CIR-PL and keep a very steady hand. I was about 1/2 and inch from touching the flower so I made sure to keep a very steady hand so I wouldn’t end up with any camera shake or blur. I was able to keep the ISO at 100 and just made sure that I utilized the histogram each time I took a macro photograph. I did sharpen the photo in Adobe Photoshop and saturated the colors in the Iris to really bring out the colorful beauty of the flower.
I was amazed to find out how many different colors of Iris flowers were mixed to create some of the most beautiful hybrid Iris flowers that I have ever seen. I took this shot on 5/30/10 and posted a very detailed article on 6/2/10 about my trip to the Iris flower garden that’s located just north of Keizer, OR if anyone is interested. With all of the amazing colors of these flowers it allows a photographer hundreds of opportunities to capture the true personality that these flowers project. To get this shot I was using my Canon EOS T1i along with my Sigma 50mm Prime/Macro lens. The only filter that I was using was my UV and my Hoya 81B filter. You never want to use a CIR-PL when taking macro shots since it will create too much shadow and the shot will come out blurry. I was about 1 inch from the flower and I wasn’t using a tripod or remote switch. I don’t like using a tripod when taking most of my macro photos since it takes forever to set up and it’s not nearly as fun as getting right up close to your subject. As long as you have your settings correct and you allow enough light to avoid any blur you can master some pretty awesome shots. To ensure this I had set the camera to Program/Normal mode and made sure that the IS was on. The aperture was at F5.6, the ISO was at 200 and the white balance was at -0.7. Since the light was perfect the shutter speed came out at 1/256 second. I took the photo at about 12:05pm and I had the sun near my back so there was little to no shade to darken and blur the subject. Since I was using a prime lens I needed to concentrate and focus on one particular subject so I decided to focus in on the very bottom part of the orange tongue of the flower and the part of the dark purple that was just beneath the orange. This allowed me to focus on two separate parts of the flower without blurring the majority of the flower. I find that this is the best way to take full advantage of a Prime/Macro lens, especially when standing just cm or inches from your subject. I took well over 750 photos this day and I never seemed to run out of ways to shoot. A tripod would have really slowed me down and bored me as well. As long as you have a steady hand and can find the correct setting as well as lighting, a macro lens can really create a fun experience when photographing close subjects.
[/caption] Macro photography is best when able to get really close to flowers so you can show the intricate parts of the subject. Normally I will spray a flower with water in order to focus on a water droplet so it really brings out the character and color of the flower. However, whenever I am lucky enough to photograph a flower with an insect near it I try to focus on the insect rather than a water droplet. This is especially true since you usually can’t spray the flower without scaring off the insect or angering the bee. I wanted to try and have both the rose and the bee in focus when I took this shot so I decided not to use my 50mm marcro/prime lens and instead use my 18-55mm lens. I tried to get as close as I could without distorting the picture so I changed the camera menu to Program/Normal as opposed to close-up. I stood about 8 inches from the rose and increased the focal length to 55mm. I made sure that I had removed the warming filter and CIR-PL so I could eliminate the possibility of any camera shake/blur. Due to the shadow and low light the shutter speed was pretty slow at 1/83 second and the aperture was at F 6.4. Since the bee was about to fly away I wasn’t able to adjust the ISO or white balance. The ISO was at 100 and the white balance was at -0.3. I was somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t able to get more light from within the flower in order to enhance the bees body. But because I was facing the sun and there was some shadows blocking any direct light, I tried to use this to my advantage by eliminating any glare. This photo was taken at the Portland International Rose Test Garden just above downtown Portland. I have visited this park numerous times and I can spend hours photographing the thousands of roses dotting the isles. During springtime, before the roses bloom, you can photograph dozens of other types of flowers as well. The hills within the park are teaming with possibilities and I have found myself enveloped in the scenery.