10 November 2014
Let me know which you prefer and why.
Macro photography is naturally arduous at best. And it becomes an even greater task with a Smartphone. Frequently, it can take more than one photo shoot to retrieve a few images that pass my scrutiny for a decent shot to exhibit on my blog.
On the occasion of a macro shoot, I am reminded that close-up photography lends itself to a number of specific tips. In the past I’ve mentioned the importance of ignoring the zoom feature, and moving as near to your subject without the image becoming out of focus. Another major consideration is lighting, especially natural light. The least obvious one to mention is knowing your subject.
Macro photography reveals hidden details; often it renders the usual extraordinary. Mostly, the photograph is a response to the relationship between subject and the photographer’s interpretation of it. The final image should demonstrate that combination.
Today is another macro challenge, and I struggled to get images that satisfy. Photography can never be coerced. It takes an enormous amount of patience and perseverance. To translate nature (or any subject) into a frozen frame is a constant source of hard work. Still I return to the same thought: I must stay on task, calm my spirit, focus and refocus.
Macro photography requires latitude and precision. Unless one aims for a more nuanced image–a little blur, a little clarity, a little detail, a little surprise, the photo shoot needs a steady hand or tripod. What is selected often is a tiny fragment of the subject.
This past week I remained restless. My goal was to present the milkweed (Asclepias spp) pod, its seeds and silky threads in a new way. Fortunately, my garden was salt-and-peppered with the remains of the summer crop. Seeds are flying in strong autumn winds, searching for a winter resting place.
Eventually, I hoped to rescue my dream, and unfold images through a silent tribute to the monarch butterfly: the renewal of the milkweed plant via seeds and their airborne dispersal is a remarkable story of hope and survival. Milkweed is a critical and essential element that sustains the monarch’s life cycle.
The monarch’s narrative of depleting populations has been prevalent in our country. The response has been to create a number of organizations to alert the public. Monarch Joint Venture is one such organization. Their mission is: “Recognizing that North American monarch (Danaus plexippus) conservation is a responsibility of Mexico, Canada and the United States, as identified in the North American Monarch Conservation Plan, this Joint Venture will work throughout the U.S. to conserve and protect monarch populations and their migratory phenomena by implementing science-based habitat conservation and restoration measures in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. This goal will be achieved through a combination of habitat conservation, enhancement and restoration, education, and research and monitoring.” Read about them here.
I urge you to plant native annual and perennial milkweed. In my small center of the universe, I saw two monarchs this past summer. It breaks my heart, and I am encouraged by others who sighted many. I’m happy to do my part.
In the Lens section are two images that show the milkweed’s end-of-the-season unusual attributes. They are presented to honor this plant’s role in the life cycle of one of nature’s most fascinating creatures.
Tip of the Week:
Recently, I discovered the macro feature on Camera+. I’m becoming more and more familiar with this app’s offerings. Its stabilization feature and macro mode encourage me to use it.
I must dig deeply inside each app to discover its sweet spots. When I find one that works, I tend to use it more and more. When I learn another aspect of an app’s features, I find myself deferring to it on each photo shoot.
You can read more about Camera+ at the App Store. It’s 99 cents and worth the investment. It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Click here to read about it.
From the App Store about Camera+: “The Clarity filter is iPhone photography’s secret sauce—it adds pro-camera crispness to almost any shot.”
View other entries for this week’s challenge:
If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.