Saturday morning my wife and I returned to Inniswood Metro Gardens to photograph the rose garden. We missed it on Memorial Day weekend when we were there last.
Shooting flower gardens in macro mode gets you up-close and personal with your subject. You could come home with fantastic images or fail miserably. Macro photography will have you pulling your hair out if you are not ready for the task.
Macro Photography Challenges
I have done a lot of macro photography. In fact, I’ve shot “way beyond macro” for many years. In order to succeed, you must have the right kind of gear and lots of patience.
With a digital SLR camera (a DSLR) you will need a macro lens and a sturdy tripod. Shooting in macro mode means high magnification and getting close to your subject. Even the slightest camera motion will blur your shot and make it useless. You might be perfectly still, but, a tiny breeze will ruin your shot.
Having a wind-break of some sort can be beneficial. Some people carry something to block the wind in order to get a better shot. Others carry clothes pins or tiny clips to hold their target in place when they shoot. In many places, that might get you in trouble, so, ask before you actually touch a plant.
A small foam panel makes a decent windbreak if you have someone along to hold it in place while you take your picture. A piece of thin plywood will work, too. Another option is to use an old towel pinned to a couple of wooden stakes that you can put in the ground to shelter your target from the wind.
Shoot early in the day –the earlier, the better.
The first two hours of daylight will give you the best light. It will also be the calmest wind conditions of the day (most of the time). As the sun rises, things heat up and the wind starts to blow. Macro shooting is always best in the early morning. Harsh sunlight can cause a lot of glare on light-colored blossoms.
Shooting early could also result in capturing beautiful dew-kissed roses and other flowers. You’ll see that in the images I post with this article.
Shooting Beyond Macro
Shooting beyond macro requires the use of extension tubes, close-up filters, and lens-reversing adapters. I am not a fan of the latter. The former two methods are more to my liking.
Close-up filters screw onto your camera lens, just like any other filter. They will increase magnification when shooting from a few inches away– very few. You have to be almost sitting on your subject for them to work. Your depth of field is very tiny. for example, the eyes of a house-fly might be in focus, but, its head is blurry just a couple millimeters away.
Wait for the Wind to Stop
Now that you are ready to take on the challenge of macro photography, hurry up and wait.
Wait for the wind to stop after you have achieved focus. Just keep your finger on the shutter button and be ready to finally click when the plant you want to photograph stops moving. This takes a lot of patience, so, wait and be ready. You’ll be glad you did.
Here are some of the pictures I took Saturday morning: