Thursday, May 28, 2015

wchs: a few macro lens tips

i visited the ridge at my high school again this week.  it's amazing how the wildflower scene changes from week to week.  there really is always something new to see.  this week i'm having a love affair with queen anne's lace and i'm fairly certain it will last all summer long.

stunning, yes?

on my last macro post, several people mentioned being interested in this lens and/or having trouble using it.  this is only my third time out with it, and i know i have a lot to learn.  i'm happy with the photos i've gotten with it so far though.  it shares many of the quirks of my regular 50mm, so that has helped me quite a bit in figuring it out.  anyhoo, here are some things that have helped me:

macro lens tips from one novice to another:
1. take a lot of photos - this is the cardinal rule of digital photography in general
2. lock your focus - digital cameras are very sensitive and will focus on whatever is closest to the lens.  this is probably not where you want the focus to be.  i keep my focus permanently locked on the center.  i then focus on what i choose to focus on and can move my camera, holding the button down to keep that focus, while recomposing my shot.
3. choose your focal point - you will have a very shallow depth of field.  not everything is going to be in focus  you have to choose the most important feature to be in focus to create a pleasing composition.
4. the closer you are, the shallower your depth of field will be - if you want more things in focus, zoom out a little.  the closer you get to your subject, the less of it will be in focus.  additionally, you can even get so close that nothing will be in focus and your camera will probably refuse to take the shot.
5. movement causes blur more easily with this lens - have a steady hand and wind is not your friend in this instance.  sometimes holding a flower stem steady on a windy day will help.
6. sometimes the camera will not take the picture even when the shot looks like it is perfectly focused- i don't know if this is just a quirk of my camera or why it happen, but it drives me nuts.  i have found a way around it though.  i allow the camera to focus (sorry, i always use autofocus), then flip the switch to manual and look through the lens physical moving it closer to or farther away from my subject till it is perfectly in focus again and then take the picture.  i guess i am overriding my camera's stubbornness this way.  i don't know, really, but it works.

that's all i can think of at the moment.  hope something in there is helpful to you!

anyone else fascinated by the tiny black/maroon flower in the center of queen anne's lace?

so neat to finally see it up close and personal.

i am wondering if the ants have a symbiotic relationship with this flower.

click the "wchs" label below to see more wildflowers photographed at this site this year.

joining with annie and "how does your garden grow?"


  1. Oh! What are those pink flowers at the end please? My neighbours has some in his garden and I don't know what they are. (He's away, so I can't ask.) I love Cows Parsley, but I'm not sure that ours will last very long. I love what you can notice when you get your Macro on! Lovely shots.

  2. Queen anne's lace always makes me think of Spring. We have lots of it all along the lanes around here. Thanks for sharing the macro tips - I want to get a lens like this so these will be a bit help if I do :)

  3. Very interesting tips and lovely photos. A macro is on my wish list and this has fanned that flame again.

  4. thanks for the tips, i'm pleased to hear that the camera can be stubborn as mine refuses to take photos on occasions, depute being in perfect focus

  5. Beautiful shots - and I too am curious about the pink flowers #hdygg