Post by Lisa Bettany
I rented my first macro lens this weekend, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro. But, I really dropped the ball and ended up swamped with work and not having any time to shoot anything. Plus, I was having some “bad creative days”. I sometimes have days where I have ideas, but I can’t completely visualize the end product, so I somehow talk myself out of even trying to figure it out. This endless circle of doubt just smacks my creativity in the face and wastes so much time, like my entire weekend. So 45 mins before I had to return the lens to Beau Photo, I kicked myself in the rear and out the door with the goal of grabbing at least one decent shot. I poked outside my apartment building for something interesting to shoot and ran into this friendly spider. At first, the shot didn’t look great. The sky was blah grey, there was no light, the spider’s web didn’t have any raindrops, it was all very bland. But, determined as I was, I crouched in a big mud puddle and angled the frame, so the spider was sitting in colourful background, instead of the grey sky. And bam! Something decent. The focus on the spider was a bit soft in the final image, so I sharpened it in Aperture. I also amped the saturation of the yellow. The rest of the colours were just that vibrant. It’s not a shot I would ever dream of taking, but there it is.
The point is, even on your worst photo days, you can catch a great shot. Keep shooting, keep exploring, and stay positive about your photography. Just start shooting anything, inspiration will strike sooner than you think. Macro Tips:
- Use Manual focus. Use Auto focus to help grabbing your focus if you are having trouble, then switch over to Manual.
- Get low. Often the best angle is the one where you have to kneel in a pile of muddy guck. If you have sore knees, buy one of those gardening foam pads to kneel on.
- Explore Depth of Field (DOF). A small DOF (<f/2.8) will emphasize the subject, and make it stand out more from the background. This method called selective focus, is great to use if you your background is really distracting, like the fall leaves in my spider picture above. Conversely, if you want all of your subject in focus you will need a larger DOF f/8 or higher.
- Shoot in RAW. Always. You will be able to pull so much more detail put of your image, it will amaze you. You can thank me for your amazement later. 😀