I hadn’t tried macro photography until last year — and I got hooked. I didn’t become obsessed with it enough to look into a macro lens, but every time I saw flowers I had this urge to take my 50mm lens, reverse it and get super up close and personal. I’ve gotten a few favorites with my second try after some flowers had dried out (these photos might be hanging in my bathroom now), but I just keep trying new things as I see them.
I had five different plants to test drive for this week’s challenge. A couple of weeds growing next to our house and some of the greenery that is planted in our front flowerbed. I had expectations… but those were thrown out the window early on because I am clearly out of practice. But I went with the flow, tried different ways to photograph the same plants I’d brought inside. And I ended up with one that surprised me.
Settings: f/–, 1/320 sec, 50mm, ISO 1600
Camera and Lens: Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF50mm f/1.2L USM
This is a leaf from one of the nandinas (sacred bamboo) in my front yard. It stays green all year round and some leaves turn red, either a bright glowing red or deep maroon. The color is what made me want to photograph it.
Like I said, I don’t have a macro lens, so I fake it by removing my 50mm lens, turning it around and then hold it up to the camera body. It’s a tricky technique because the ISO controls the light and auto-focus doesn’t work; there’s a lot of slight movements and holding of breath. My arms got tired after just a couple minutes of it.
This image is pretty soft focused, but you can tell just how small the depth of field is with this macro photography technique; only a small area, just to the left of the centered brown spot near the tip is in focus. But sharp or not, I still like the photo. I like how I was able to frame the leaf, with the tip being centered on the right side. The vein carries your eye across the leaf and a bright red and yellow leak into the otherwise green surface. It’s so cool to see something I would consider so small and insignificant this up close, because that change in perspective makes me crave more of it.
Week 18: Imperfect
“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” –Alice Walker
No living thing is perfect. No circumstance is perfect. And as much as we strive for it, sometimes it’s better to accept that nothing will ever be perfect. But because we’re surrounded by people, places, things, and situations that are imperfect doesn’t mean that they are ugly or insignificant.
Another prompt that can be defined in many different ways, so I encourage you to write down your ideas and try to photograph the ones that intrigue you the most. When you approach your subject, consider the story you’re wanting to tell and photograph it at different points of views and with different apertures. Look beyond the surface of whatever it is and allow yourself to explore.
If you post your images on Instagram or any other social media, use the hashtag #2017project52 so that we can find your work and give it some love!
Have questions about 2017 Project 52? You can find more about it here or in the Flickr group description. Please join us!