Saturday, October 18, 2014

27 Frames

Feeding Bumblebee on a Sunflower III
Sometimes I think that when I post an image deconstruction I'm projecting the impression that it's really easy -as if images just jump right into the camera. But it's not and you can't just go out, buy the same hardware, and take the same photos -not without getting a lot of practice first. I've lost count of the number of emails that I've received from people who are struggling with macro photography, people who thought that the key to taking macro photos was simply having enough disposable income to afford the gear. So with this image I want to talk about what I was trying to do and how difficult it was.

I was asked if I focus stacked this image, but like all of my insect macro photography it is a single frame taken hand held (no tripod, I don't even own one). Although it would have been easier to get the shot that I wanted if I could focus stack a scene like that one, it would have been pretty tough since the critter was in constant motion. What really made this one difficult is that antenna -it needs to be in focus since it's crossing the bee's eye, and that appendage was always moving. To add insult to injury I'd no sooner frame and compose the image and the bee would move as I was pressing the shutter release. So I'd have to recompose, check the framing with my peripheral vision, look at the area that I wanted to be in focus and make sure that I could clearly see texture detail where I needed to see it, and hope that the position and focus on the antenna didn't ruin the shot.

It took 27 frames...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Extreme Macro

Recently the domain became available and I took the winning bid. Although the url for this blog will have to stay as (someone is using I've changed the title of the blog and I set up a DNS redirect so that if you surf to you'll get this blog.

Nice to have a name that's really more in line with what this blog is about, and that lines up with the title of my book. Speaking of which one of the projects that I have on my to do list for this winter is to come out with a second edition :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Out with the Old Style and in with the New

Solitary Bee Portrait
I was chimping through the images on my camera, looking at the photo to the right, and thinking "meh". Technically there's nothing wrong with that shot but I've taken it already, or at least images like it, and I'm getting tired of shooting the same frames -and you're probably getting tired of looking at them. For me really good images come from being inspired, and passionate, about what I'm photographing and how I'm photographing it and that scene just wasn't "singing to me". To add insult to injury it wasn't the shot that I wanted. I had a composition stuck in my head for a few years, one of a solitary bee actively feeding and shooting it low enough to get the proboscis in focus as well as the head. So as I was sitting there at my patio table, looking at the carnage that once was a sunflower (petals everywhere) with a solitary bee that was getting more and more active, when it hit me: Why not put some honey on a sunflower petal, get the critter to climb onto it, and with the sunflower petal in my hand I could get the angle that I wanted...

Feeding Solitary Bee Series 1-1

Feeding Solitary Bee Series 1-4

Feeding Solitary Bee Series 1-3

One more composition out of my head and into the camera, and it's a scene that I feel good about. I'm not saying that I won't take any more "static" images like the first one, but you can expect to see a lot more "action" shots from me in the future. Out with the old style, and in with the new :)