Monday, April 4, 2011

IFLC Day Two

Today I get started on practicing some of the basics of macro shooting. Unfortunately, I am severely limited by time. For me, family comes first. So this hobby will always come after them. My goal is to spend at least a little amount of time dedicated to this every day. That means I don't usually get a chance to shoot until later in the evening and for the most part limits me to inside shots. For the most part, I am pretty new to photography. I have done a bit here and there, but it's usually quickly getting shot of my daughter and definitely not designing nor composing anything. I have done very little with manually setting everything on the camera. As you will see later, I have much to learn.

I decided I will use my 105mm macro lens for most of my shooting during these lessons. The first thing to practice is planing. I set my focus to the minimal focus distance and took this shot of a piece of paper. The depth of field is so shallow, I'm unable to get the entire line in focus. My lights is so poor, I had to set my camera down in order to shoot at 1/15 of second with no flash.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 1

Here's another example shooting 1 line and being unable to get the entire work in focus. Apparently I zoomed out a bit because this was at f/4.8 while the first shot was f/5.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 2

In an effort to get the entire sentence in focus, I closed down to f/13. Still in the same light this was shot at 1/2 a second.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 3

I didn't have much time, but felt like I wanted to shoot something for the next lesson as well to give an idea of what I was shooting. I moved my plane and tried to shoot parallel to my subject to get the entire area in focus even though I was shooting at f/5. A lot more was in focus, but I missed being completely parallel since part of this is out of focus. Since there was no chance of hand holding this at a shutter speed of 1/2 a second and tripods are not high on the recommendation list at IFLC, I decided to add a flash. Even though I'm not very experienced with it, it did help. I was leaning over and unsupported, so I bumped the shutter speed all the way up to 1/320 to try keep the blur away.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 4

That was going to be it, but I noticed a plant starting to bloom (I think). I took some shots of this plant last year using a tripod and ended up stacking a load of photos using Photoshop to get the entire thing in focus. I tried to use some of my new knowledge to hand hold the shot and use the same attached flash from the last shot. Unfortunately, I did not succeed. This was shot at f/22 in a pretty dark room. I knew it was dark, but it didn't look nearly this dark in the camera preview.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 5

I recomposed and missed again.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 6

As I said, these didn't look nearly so dark in the camera, but I thought the focus was still to shallow at f/22. So I jumped down to f/57. Oddly enough, my lens says the max I can shoot is f/32. So I'm not sure why I was able to close all the way down to 57 for this shot. It's unfortunate this is so dark because I really like this shot. Also I would've like this to be composed slightly different, but for me, this would have been a good one.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 7

I know the goal is to use unedited photos, but I wanted to see how this shot could've looked with a bit more light. So using Lightroom I bumped up my exposure and added some clarity and some slight noise reduction to reduce some of the newly added noise. Too had I had missed this shot.
Week 1 - Day 2: Shot 7 - 2

Lesson learned here is that I really need to work on my flash work since most of my opportunities for photographing are in low light. Low light and macro are not the best combination. I'm trying to pace myself, but with the things you can make and shoot while doing macro are exciting. The goal is to learn and grow while taking this class. So I will stick to the plan and practice, practice, practice.

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