But the big question was, "where would I shoot some cool macro shots nearby?" I recently did a blog post about shooting macro shots in my own yard, so I wanted something different for myself and to share with you all. Then I remembered shopping for flowers with my wife 3 weeks ago, and thinking that the nursery would be a fun place for macro photography. So I grabbed the Canon 1DX, got in the car and off I went.
I started shooting photos in the shaded area of the nursery, looking for great colors. For this photo, I set the focus on the flower just left of center and framed the shot to include surrounding flowers and leaves. I like the way that the pink flowers are accented by the green leaves in the background.
One of the great things about a macro lens, is the amazingly shallow depth of field that you get. You may notice that only a small slice of this photo is in focus, and I did not shoot this at f2.8. I changed the camera setting to f5 to have a little more of the flower in focus. I will talk about this a little more later in the blog (with some visual examples).
Mother nature really is amazing. There are so many different colors and textures in these flowers. For this shot, I focused on the anther (the pollen making portion of the flower surrounding the pistil in the center) but made sure that the patterns of the pedals were front and center.
Another shot focusing in on the details of the flower. When most of us look at flowers, we look at them as a whole. Either as a bunch or a single flower, but usually in this detail. This is what I love most about macro photography, that it gives us a completely different view of the world around us. (This was also shot at f/5)
Since we are talking about this subject, let me show you the difference between using a wide depth of field and a narrow depth of field. In the above image, I set the camera to shoot this image at f3.2 and I focused on the stem. I was interested in the little "hairs" coming off of the stem and wanted to highlight those. Shooting this at f3.2 does numerous things.
* It makes it so that only the "hairs" are in focus and draws your attention there
* It creates a lot of separation between the stem and the background
* The flower, although visible, becomes out of focus
Now, let's look at the same flower photographed at f16. This is a totally different view of the same flower.
Shooting this photo at f16 also does numerous things to the photo:
* We can now see more details of the surrounding plants and the nursery.
* There is much less separation between the flower and the rest of the foliage
* The flower and the stem and both perfectly in focus
Another thing to keep in mind when shooting flowers, is to shoot from different perspectives. In this photo, I went directly above the flower and shot down in to the middle.
I did the same thing here (shooting this at f6.3)
For this shot, I got down low and photographed the flower with the sky in the frame. I also moved left and right to make sure that my "main subject" was in between the two other out of focus flowers.
I photographed this at a 45 degree angle to highlight the beautiful flower, but also show the stem softly in the frame.
This last photo was another of my favorites. I really love the curves of the filaments coming out of the blossoming flower. For this shot, I got down low and shot straight on to the flower. I experimented with different apertures on this shot, because I wanted separation from the background, but I also wanted most of the flower and it's parts in focus. I preferred this photo the best, which was taken at f9. With most lenses, f9 would have most everything in focus, but remember that macro lenses exaggerate the depth of field.
Stay tuned for the next blog post, with more images from this one hour trip to the nursery, and more explanations of how I took the photos.
Oh, and for those of you in the US, happy 4th of July!