Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How NOT to…

… do Macro Photography. This could have been another “Spot the…” post but instead let me document (actually I guess there’s only one follower here who’s interested in this topic so “Hello SD!”) something about how (not) to take photos of flowers & insects during springtime.

First of all, if it’s cold outside, wait for another day or dress properly. Don’t go out in shorts and sleeveless shirt and get frozen like I did.

Second of all, be patient. The flowers will always be there (for that half an hour you’re there) but due to winds, they’ll sway so turn on that in-camera (or in-lens but only one) Image Stabilization, tie yourself securely to the ground, focus on the equilibrium point of their oscillations and start clicking in continuous shutter mode. (Wish I’d done that.) You should be able to get at least one well-focused image.

Third of all, have a sense of humour. The insects will scurry about without even giving a moment’s thought that someone is trying to snap their photos. Thus, we need to pounce on them metaphorically: follow their flying patters, predict their trajectory, pre-focus on the flower they are going to land, hit the shutter button as it comes in the camera’s live view and curse have a laugh for getting an ‘unsatisfactory’ shot.

Fourth of all, blog about all those failed techniques / shots:


Wait for it to appear in full view... Here the flower has obstructed the view.


Bad Focus & Insufficient Zoom… At least you can notice its proboscis.


It is way in the background and so focus is on the wrong objects.


You know what’s the problem here even without me spelling it out but appreciate the pattern on it’s back.


Again focus on wrong objects but with better zoom, notice its proboscis again.


Ridiculously and Completely off-focus both above and below.


For the last two photos: I pre-focused on the flower while the bee was roaming around on other flowers and when it landed on that flower, I hit the shutter button congratulating myself on the timing and what not. But now that you see the results (& when I did it way before you!), you realize that since it’s macro, the depth of focus is really shallow and the body of the bee was large enough to be out of that depth and be ‘out of focus’. So learn to use manual focus. But my camera doesn’t allow manual focus in macro mode… aaahhhhhh!

Fifth of all, Hit & Trial is the best way to go (for amateurs like me to gain ‘experience’) and I managed to get a few decent shots. To prove that I did get some interesting shots and that half an hour was not a total failure, here’s an interesting perspective of a pretty flower (to start with):

Green Stamens


  1. I now have this image in my head of you running around the South P Bus stop (or wherever) chasing bugs landing on flowers. And then randomly laughing :)

    Nice post, though. I remember when I used to try macro shots with my point-and-shoot, I had waaay too much trouble with focus.

    Always enjoy the photography posts. (the rest are good but often out-of-syllabus for me :D )

  2. That's more or less right but I was just outside my house to capture freshly-blossomed plants.

    Thanks. Focus is a real obstacle for such shots. I've been getting used to manual focus and enjoying the experience.

    Glad that you've not deserted this blog! :)