Unfortunately I did not have much time for shooting and even less time for posting this week. Due to a variety of things, I was only able to have a minute or two here and there. I did have some time one night and tried to do the last "lesson" at the end of Volume One, but the creative juices just weren't flowing and I didn't like what I was creating. I decided to turn that into some learning as I added extension tubes to my 105 mm macro lens to see how much closer I could get. Most of the shots below were not working on anything specific. I was just practicing. I also discovered that lightroom was causing me to lose the in camera changes I was making to the pictures since I was shooting in RAW and JPG. I'm not really doing any processing of the photos right now since I don't have any time and since I'm still trying to learn the subtle and less subtle nuances to macro shooting. So I turned off the RAW shots for now and just shot these as JPGs.
I'm doing an experiment. When I post a link to this on facebook, it shows my first shot. I'd like my last shot in the set to be the image that is chosen. So I'm adding it here in hopes this is the images that shows. You'll need to read on get the details on this shot.
I shot this at ISO 500 and kept my shutter speed at a minimum of 1/200 sec as I was in the shade and was trying to get most of the dead bud in focus using f/14. Excluding composition issues (as is pretty much the case in all my shots; I obviously need to work on that), this was a promising shot. Unfortunately I missed the focus a bit. There are some issues as well that I think some extra light would have resolved. I hope to start spending more time paying attention to light so I can start working on these issues.
I quickly moved over to a live flower and took a shot of the thorny stem to identify the texture. The lighting was similar so I stayed at ISO 500, 1/200s and f/14. I got what I was aiming to get, but the more I took at this shot, the less I like it.
This is another one that isn't very exciting. I like where I was headed, but missed the focus a bit and the depth of field was a bit too shallow. 1/400s - f/10 - ISO 500
Here is one of my shots I tried to create using the tabletop studio and shooting board games. I couldn't really get anything to work as my mind was not working from lack of sleep. I needed a deeper depth of field to deliver the message I was going for and the white balance was off. I was a bit limited since I still wasn't using the flash. I had to shoot this at 1/200s - f/13 and ISO 800.
I decided to move to something a bit more technical and less creative. I started adding some of my Kenko extension tubes to my 105mm macro lens to see how much closer I could get. I shot a dollar bill using my tabletop studio.
This first shot which was a good demonstration of planing was done with my 105mm lens at its closest focusing distance.
I then tacked on the 36mm extension tube and moved a bit more towards parallel to get a bit more in focus. This definitely got me closer.
I then added the 20mm tube to my lens and 36mm stack. I had to slightly bump the ISO to 250 to keep the exposure up.
And finally I added the 12mm tube to the stack. So this was the 105mm lens plus 68mm of extension tubes. Nice and close. I may need to try some of this outside to really get in close to some of my shots.
Later in the week I took this shot of rose just starting to bloom. I liked the thorning texture of the outer skin here. I think the shallower depth of field really worked here. I like this shot. 1/250s - f/6.3 - ISO 400
My goal here was to focus on the middle and let the rest blur away. The wind was a blowing a bit so I had a bit of a difficult time getting the composition where I was aiming although it's pretty closer. I would have like a bit more light inside to really show the details in the middle. 1/200s - f/16 - ISO 200
I then moved over to a flower that was more in the sun. It turns out, this isn't a very exciting shot. I should have done a different composition. 1/320s - f/10 - ISO 200
Now for the exciting shot. I moved back to my favorite indoor plant. These buds from last week are starting to bloom. I made a very similar shot a couple years ago using photoshop and stitching a bunch shots together to get the depth of field I was going for. I know slightly more now then I did back then and decided to try add a flash to see what I could make. The details in this shot are sharper than the stack I had last time and I didn't use a tripod this time either. I guess it really goes to show that technique and knowledge can take you a long way. The exciting things is that I'm just starting to learn. Anyway, I had the flash off the camera sitting on a shelf over my right shoulder. My goal here was to highlight the droplets on the side while bring out the details of what is on the inside. I closed my aperture all the way down to f/32 to bring in a lot of details and to darken the background. I bumped up the sharpening, contrast and the saturation in the camera as well.
1/200s - f/32 - ISO 200
Since I am only starting on flash (I hope to get a lot more of the basics this weekend in our 3rd class) I decided to move it a bit in order to see what that would get me. I moved the flash slightly higher and pointed it down. Obviously this is a very similar shot, but the shadows are slightly different.
Even though I didn't have much time this week and didn't get in nearly as much practice as I would have liked, I still got a couple good shots and spent a bit more time playing with the in camera settings. I still need a lot more practice and experience.