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Posts Tagged ‘macro’

This spooky spider image that I took late Friday afternoon while hiking along part the Potomac Heritage Trail is probably more suitable for later in the month, but I just couldn’t wait until Halloween to share it.

Normally when I use fill flash I try to be subtle, attempting to add a little pop without making it obvious that I used flash. In this case, you can’t help but notice my use of the popup flash. Normally I would take a shot of a spider like this with my macro lens, but I was travelling light with just my superzoom Canon SX50. The 50x zoom of this camera has helped to bring distant subjects closer, but I had never tried to use the camera’s macro mode. I quickly learned that you have to be really close to your subject, literally only a few inches away. I was pretty happy when I was able to get the second shot below, but wanted to add to the drama of the shot.

I dropped the exposure compensation in the camera down to a minus three stops and got my favorite shot. The darkened sky and the way that the flash illuminates the spider give the image a kind of creepy look that feels appropriate for a spider that was just about at eye level.

spooky spider

spooky spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The world changed for me when I put my macro lens back on my camera, simultaneous becoming smaller and bigger. Instead of looking in the distance for birds, I switched my focus to the world immediately in from of me, searching for tiny objects that I can photograph.

In vain I long for colorful butterflies and dragonflies, but it is too early in the spring for them to appear. As soon as a fly buzzed by me, I was seized with an irresistible urge to capture its image. It’s only a fly (a Green Bottle Fly, I think), but it is symbolic of the joys to come, the time when I will spend endless hours chasing after insects, trying to capture the detailed beauty of their colors and patterns.

fly_march_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This ladybug was not in a very good position for me to get a shot, but I usually try to photograph every ladybug that I see, so I took the shot, totally oblivious to the fact that she was not the only bug in the frame.

Occasionally, when I am photographing a flower or an insect, there is an additional insect in the photo that I notice only when reviewing the  images, what my friend Cindy Dyer calls a “bonus bug.” How did I miss almost a dozen bugs in my viewfinder?

Can anyone identify the little bugs?

bugs_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I really enjoy the challenge of trying to photograph insects and this ladybug was a relatively cooperative subject. She sat still for quite a while, which allowed me to experiment a little with techniques. The first show was taken after she started to move a little.

The light was fading a little, so I decided to see what would happen if I used my pop-up flash. It’s obvious to me that I risk having a hot spot, which is most visible in the second shot, but it seems that the additional light helped to bring out some additional details. I have seen the fancy setups advertised that use dual external flashes, but don’t think that I am ready to make that kind of financial commitment. Perhaps I will experiment with a cheaper, LED light or possibly a ring light and see how well they work.

ladybug2_blogladybug1_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Here is a shot of the beautiful Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera) that covered one whole area of the rock garden at one of the local gardens that I like to visit.

phlox_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am out of town at the moment and took along my Canon PowerShot A620, a somewhat glorified point-and-shoot camera. I had used this before for travel photos, but had never tried out the macro features of the camera. The manual claims that in macro mode you can get as close as 1 cm (.4 inches).

I decided to play around with macro on this camera by taking some shots of bees, one of my favorite subjects. The first photo is one of a bee taken straight on and I am surprised that I got the detail that I did. The other shots are pretty good as well. I would note that I had to get really close to the bees to get these shots. I also am feeling a little hamstrung, because I am producing these images on a netbook computer with somewhat limited capabilities and I am using Paint.Net to manipulate the images rather than PhotoShop or PhotoShop Elements.

Eye-to-eye with a bee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Who knew that the spots on a ladybug’s shell were water-soluble? That seems to be the case with this ladybug, who has only one remaining spot and a few drops of water, perhaps where other spots used to be.

Spotless ladybug–well almost spotless

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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