Going Macro With The Micro

MYPHOTOWALK — PHOTO TECH TALK

I am always searching for new ways to see through the lens of my camera and focus on the intricacies of God’s design.

I recently decided to study macro photography and learn how to capture the intimate details in a landscape.

Of course, I’ve had my eye on a Micro–Nikkor 200mm lens for well over a year and so I was recently excited to be able to purchase a pre-owned one from a friend.

And thus has begun a new journey for me into the world of macro photography.

I studied the flower photography of Harold Davis through his book Photographing Flowers and his video teaching. Then, I watched Kathleen Clemons’ online course at CreativeLive at least three times. I learned so much from these two amazing photographers. They immediately became my mentors for fine art macro photography.

When I started shooting macro images, I soon realized that shooting handheld was no easy task. My first shots were mostly blurry with only one real keeper. I’m not used to that sort of obstacle after shooting broad landscapes and large wildlife for so many years.

So, I immediately brought my trusty Gitzo tripod into the mix and began to get more clarity as I focused in on the details of plants and flowers. I experimented with both auto and manual focus. So far I get better results with manual focus.

Things got even more exciting when I decided to go to Trader Joe’s and buy some different flowers including roses, some small calla lilies, and various types of wildflowers. I got a small poster board to use as a backdrop near a sunny window and covered it with a scarf to use as a backdrop. I chose patterns and colors that I knew would work as a bokeh behind the flowers.

Now began my learning in earnest. I pulled a small vase out of our cabinet and began photographing different flowers, one at a time, zooming in on details, and selectively choosing areas of focus. I had so much fun that I could have gone on for hours. But then, I also couldn’t wait to get the images into my computer to see what I had and then to post-process.

As I looked at the results, one after another, I realized that some captures work better than others. And also, it’s a matter of one’s own opinion. I like more clarity and less blur on the actual flower — at least most of the time. There are some flowers where the petals are longer, with curves, and seem to dance. Then, I don’t mind more blur, even lots of blur, as long as there is serious clarity for leaves closer to the front or directly in the center of the flower.

In this particular image posted today I made certain the center was in focus and allowed the blur to move outward. However, I worked to achieve a certain clarity throughout the surface of the flower by stopping down to f/16. I especially loved the center of this flower. Notice how it looks like ribbons. That’s the power that macro photography gives us in being able to zoom in on details. I would have never seen those ribbons without looking closer to this beauty of a flower. And then, look at all the different shades in the colors. In post-processing, I decided that it had such a painterly look about it, that I added a hint of a Van Gogh filter from Topaz Impression to the flower, and giving full texture to the background.

Sometimes with these flowers, as I am capturing the images, I am seeing an impressionistic painting in them even before I post-process the photo. I recently had the opportunity to go to The Getty Center Museum, Pacific Palisades, CA, and view some beautiful paintings by Renoir and Van Gogh. I almost feel as though photography, especially macro images, can’t help but have a touch of impressionism in it. I see God’s magnificent design in all the details and meditating on the intricacies touches my soul in a deep and meaningful way.

Now when I go out to shoot landscapes, I’m going to keep my eyes open for some unique and beautiful macro shots to focus in on the beautiful details.

You can see more photos of flowers and landscapes out in God’s creation in my first myPhotoWalk full color devotional photography book, myPhotoWalk — Quiet Time Moments, daily devotions and devotional photography everyday, just released in multiple print and ebook formats. The cover image, Paradise, was chosen from the myPhotoWalk San Francisco Gallery at our myPhotoWalk—Smugmug Portfolio. The clarity of God’s patterns literally leap from the iPad screen in the Apple® iBooks version. Get it on iBooks — myPhotoWalk — Quiet Time Moments — Apple® iBooks.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!

Catherine

myPhotoWalk Devotional

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23 NLT

myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Delicate Beauty
  • Description: A beautiful wildflower in Palm Desert, CA, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 03/16/16
  • Camera: Nikon D810, Micro–Nikkor 200mm, FL 200mm, ISO 3200, f/16, 1/50sec.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk PhotoShoot in Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, RadLab Software, OnOne Software.
  • Copyright ©2017 Catherine Martin – myPhotoWalk™ – Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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