Sunday, April 10, 2011

IFLC Macro Photography Week 2 - Day 1

Today the IFLC macro group met at Balboa Park again for our 2nd class on macro photography. We explored shooting with a deeper depth of field and different camera settings that allow us to bring out more detail and color in our shots. I have a feeling I'm losing some of that when I bring them into Lightroom. I think in shot I export to flickr is losing something from the shot coming out of the camera. I need to do some testing and I may need to remove lightroom from my workflow for a little while. Since we were allowed to shooting with a deeper focus, we can now start getting some of our shots more into focus and get more exciting shots. Out in the bright daylight today it was easier to stop way down for the deeper focus, but I will be struggling this throughout the week with my limited light. Next week we will introduce flash into our shots. I think that will make a huge difference. I'll be able to stop as much as I need and really get some close up and in focus shots. Enough with the intro. Here are some of my shots for today.

I got there a bit early and took a few fun shots. There were some ants and bees on some flowers and I worked to get them in focus. At f/8, my depth of field was still to narrow to get everything in focus, but this one with showed and ant and the top of the bee. Pretty cool.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 1

I backed out a bit on this shot and didn't do a 1:1 shot. I this it down to f/10 and was really able to pull out the details in the middle of the flower.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 2

Here I moved back in for the 1:1 shot and really focused in the middle. Again, I could've definitely gone more. Maybe f/16 or f/20 would have nailed the shot.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 3

We started class today and we were to explore different apertures to see how they affected the shots. To keep proper exposure and with keeping the shutter speed in the safe zone we needed to start bumping our ISO. I actually picked up a key item here that I think was 1 of a few reasons I had been missing my focus. I had been trying to keep my 105mm lens no slower the 1/100 second, but we were told to at least double the focal length. So today was aiming to keep it at least at 1/200 second. That was helpful and I think this will help me moving forward. Anyway, the goal here was to start at the widest aperture and in increments go down to the narrowest aperture that supported the maximum ISO available for the camera. This shot was f/5 and ISO 200. I was lucky enough to have this bug show in all the shot for this sequence. Wide open, some items are in focus, but not much.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 4

I then moved to f/8 and needed to bump the ISO up to 500. I got a wider depth of field and got more in focus.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 5

Next was f/16 and ISO was all the way up to 2000. I'm surprised here that the noise was not bad at all. I expected garage with the ISO this high. Instead, I got a very nice looking shot. The bug is nearly completely in focus and most the details inside the flower are in focus. Cool!
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 6

Then I went all the was to 3200 ISO which the max my camera can handl. I was able to get down to f/20. Definitely have some noise coming into play, but this is promising for options throughout the week when I'll need to bump up the ISO to get more depth of field.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 7

I decided to try the practice again with just a flower and no bug. This flower was a bit more in the sun ultimately giving the option for a smaller aperture. The first shot here is f/5 again and ISO was 200.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 8

Again I move to f/8, but was able to keep the ISO at 200. I missed my focus a bit here. You can see the petals in the front of the shot are getting more in focus. I was aiming to get more of the middle of the flower in focus.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 9

Now I close down to f/16 and only had to nudge the ISO up to 320. There is a similar problem that the last shot had where the focus moved slightly forward instead of back.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 10

At the max 3200 ISO, I was able to get down to f/51 and got most of the flower in focus. You can see some pretty amazing detail without tons of adding grain at the really high ISO.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 11

Here we started playing with the clarity settings in the camera. Here is where I need to practice and test at home to see if lightroom is changing my shots. I though this shot was the minimal clarity setting, but it might have been the middle setting.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 12

And here I moved to the max clarity setting. Definitely a difference, but not huge.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 13

I believe this was the max saturation setting, but I'm doubtful as it's not too different from the other shots.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 14

Same thoughts as the last shot except with the min saturation settings.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 15

This was just a very cool flower. I shot it at f/16 and ISO 500. Before seeing these on the computer, I was worried with my ISO settings and tried to only get by with the minimum. Maybe f/20 or f/24 would have gotten the focus all the from the tips of the center to the back outer edges. I missed the extremes. Kind of a cool shot though.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 16

We moved over to these flower to work on texture, color and curves. I wanted to focus on the texture in the middle of this flower. f/18 worked well here to focus in on the center and slightly blur the front and back of the shot.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 17

Same flower but closed down to f/20. You can a glimps here of the details in the stem. Awesome flowers. I like the contrast of the dark green background.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 18

Here's a good glimpse of the amazing details on these guys.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 19

In the botanical garden, I see this "thing" on a tree I think. Unfortunately, I only shot it at f/8. I had my ISO all the way up at 1250 for this shot. So a flash really would have come in handy. I would have liked to get more of this in focus and a slight increase in the clarity could have brought out more details too. With that said, the details that are in focus along with the buttery background are pretty cool.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 20

There was a sliver of light coming in illuminating these guys. Exposing for the bright light help really dissolve the background. Again, I should have closed down the aperture more here to get more detail in the shot. At ISO 200 I had the opportunity this time.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 21

On the way out I stopped by the same flowers again and got another bee shot.
Week 2 - Day 1: Shot 22

This was a fun day. I can really start to see some exciting shots show themselves. It will be fun this week to play with some deeper depth of field to see what I can get. Depending on the light, I may add some extension tubes to my macro lens to take some super macro shots. It was also a good lesson today to see that the higher ISOs on my camera aren't as bad as I thought. I guess that means there are other problems with my indoor portrait shots of the family. Hopefully next week's flash discussion will have positive results on those shots as well.

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