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Thread: First Time for Everything

  1. #1
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    First Time for Everything

    Recently I decided I might like exploring the World of the Miniature!

    After receipt of a dedicated lens, and a little (obviously not enough) study, I made the usual foray out into the yard to see what I could come up with.

    This is one from the first batch. Looks like I have a ways to go but I can see a lot of potential for learning more about several different aspects.

    So in light of that, I would like to respectfully submit this for comment.

    It is greatly appreciated.

    Purple Clematis
    First Time for Everything

    Shutter: 1/125
    f/25
    ISO: 100
    On camera speedlight with overhead bounce reflector fired.

  2. #2
    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    Hey Terry, I'm no expert in macro photography but this looks pretty damn good to me! It's very sharp and the colours are beautifully vibrant.

    I'm just wondering whether it may have looked better if you'd had a pure black background without that fade to brown towards the bottom. Maybe something to consider for next time?

    Considerign it's from the 'first batch' I think you should be very pleased with yourself

  3. #3

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    Re: First Time for Everything

    I would be VERY pleased to start off in this way.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    Looks like I have a ways to go but I can see a lot of potential for learning more about several different aspects.
    Terry

    What's your own crit of this? You say you have a way to go, but that there's potential. So what is about this one that, in your view, you can learn from?

  5. #5
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    Tommy, Bobo, thank you both very much.

    A very good question Donald, and one I am glad you asked. And since you did (and hope you don't regret it!) it gives me a chance to better explain.

    I find it quite different trying to get a composition I like, getting to a 1:1 focusing distance (I was setting the lens 1:1 and moving the camera), judging focus, DOF, lighting and hand-holding for macro shooting. Working this close isnít something I am used to.

    I found that for this type of photography, a lot of times I had to be part contortionist just to get a good angle! Much less try to grab a decent shot in that position! I have read an abundance of material that states that any serious macro shooter uses a tripod. I quickly found that for me, the luxury of a tripod wasnít going to necessarily work in the field. A technique I was working with was to find my shot and where I wanted the lens, get the lighting the way I wanted (I hoped!), take up the slack in the trigger, move in as slowly and steadily as I could until it came together, and fire off the shot. Most times using Live View due to the impossible positions I sometimes had to be in and working with a mostly out-of-focus view until the moment of shutter release. A heartbeat will throw everything off! Don't even think about breathing! I have to learn how to stop my heart! But whatever it takes to get the shot! All of this together I have never done before, so something to work with and learn more about.

    I was always aware of the razor-thin DOF with this, but was shocked at how this came home when I finally started doing it. Even with shooting with the aperture stopped way down. So learning how to take better advantage of that is another thing I am going to enjoy looking at.

    I decided to approach this macro thing with an eye toward lighting. And by that I mean the non-ambient light that I am going to provide. In fact, I quickly found that as unsteady as I am in some of the positions I found myself in, it was going to be necessary to help stop the motion. As we have all heard, control the light, control the shot. And if I can get it right, it is going to help provide the type of background that I think I may want as well. I am going to experiment with some lighting that I already have available. That pretty much will consist of a speedlight, a couple of reflectors, a Fong diffuser, a self-standing softbox (off-camera w/cables) for the speedlight if needed. The latter I am considering likely too cumbersome for the field, but I also have a spare tripod to clamp the speedlight, which would be easier to carry and set up in a hurry. I am not presently planning on a macro ring until I learn more about what I have. And maybe not at all. So there is that I am looking forward to.

    Just working with a 1:1 shot in post was a lesson in itself! Sure did bring out the dust bunnies! I found that it is a lot of fun and presents its own challenges. I found that sharpening was going to be an issue, and selective sharpening was going to be more important. I liked the lighting on this one, but I did add an inverted digital GND on this one as another example. Something I have only done a handful of times. I used a B&W luminosity layer, which I have started playing with recently (thank you, Willie!), and I am going to start cropping for print if I can. So there is that aspect, too.

    Tommy, I did clone the background a bit on the upper right hand side to make the upper background consistent, but the gradual brown gradient was not something I did on purpose. I think the use of a flash helped provide that dark background. So that is something more I am looking forward to exploring. Truth be told, I was probably just too durn lazy to blacken the brown! But the more I look at your suggestion, the more I am leaning toward it.

    So before I go on any longer, Donald, I am pretty happy with the beginnerís luck I have enjoyed with this. But I think, more importantly, this type of photography will be beneficial on a lot of levels. I see what is meant when it is said that this is like entering a whole new world!

    Not to mention itís a lot of fun!

    Oh, and thank you for asking, Donald!

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    That's a brilliant piece of analysis, Terry. And, quite honestly, it's the sort of thing we need to do in relation to our efforts and intentions if we really want to learn.
    Last edited by Donald; 15th September 2011 at 09:34 PM.

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    Hi Terry,

    Great start and self critique. Well worth the view and the read.

  8. #8
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    Re: First Time for Everything

    Terry, it looks like a Chihuly . I am impressed with the result of your foray into the world of macro. Its something I would like to get into eventually.I really enjoyed and learned much from your self critique. I cant wait to see more of your macro shots in the near future. Thanks for sharing these with us. Joe

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