I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Focus Pocus

I have a new lens for my camera. It's a Nikon 105mm macro lens that is big, beautiful and heavy. It doesn't help that I'm also learning to use manual settings on my camera, a Nikon D5100, at the same time. I'm also learning to use a fixed 35mm lens. So when I tried to take some manual photos of the blossoms on the Catalpa tree behind the house this afternoon, with a tripod, I decided that there was more to this learning curve than meets the eye.
I would like to say that, at this point, I have more camera lenses than common sense and that the learning curve for all of this is just about ready to push me over the edge... and I'm a pretty calm person.

This is what happens when you use manual settings on these new lenses...
 and you don't know what your doing.
This is on automatic, with a tripod, and the focus is still not truly sharp. But, in my defense, the wind was blowing.
This is my effort to use manual priority.
This is automatic.
Holy $&*! manual is hard. Automatic is so easy. I know it's not the "professional" way to learn but I fall back to "auto" because I get such good results.
The online photography forum "pros" tell me that using manual is the only way to go... that I need to learn to use the manual settings on my camera to be a "photographer" and not just a weekend picture taker. So I persist.
This is manual...
I took over 29 pictures of this bee and this is the only one that was in focus and not too dark... and then the bee had the audacity to turn his rear end to the camera.
I finally got the flowers in focus and the bee flew away.
Later on I asked Cutter for some help.
This is Cutter.
He's giving me the evil eye but he did hold still. I got his nose in focus but not his eyes. Both of these new lenses have a very tiny depth of field ( Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp.)
In this one the eyes are fine but the nose is out of focus.
There's a small adjustment on the lens that helps with focus. I was laying on the floor for all of these dog shots, so they are not really sharp. It's hard to look a dog squarely in the eye without laughing anyway. That's my excuse. Which one do you like?
This one is a perfect corgi butt shot.
But the head is really blurred.That can be Ok but, I was a little too close to my subject.
Here we had a clear and focused  head
but the rear end, front and center, is blurred. Not good!
Depth of field is extremely small when focusing on close objects so finding the focus can be difficult.
This one wasn't bad. The hare stood very still for me and both the hare and the vase are in good focus... kind of.
This one, below, is the best one yet.
It's a little dark but it's focused, by God. Maybe there's hope for me yet. I will need a special flash attachment for "macro" work and a "soft box" to defuse the light. Oh, yes, this can be an expensive hobby.

I love seeing the world thorough a camera lens and seeing something that is so small that the eye might overlook it. This "macro" photography is more exciting than chocolate candy and that's one of the most exciting things I know... especially if it's See's.
All of the above photos were all "close up" shots, not true macro, which is extreme close up photography, usually of very small subjects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size.This last one is pretty close to being "macro" but I cropped it, so it really wasn't life size.  I'm getting nearer to the subjects every day.
I will keep practicing and one of these days this will all fall into place... or focus, for me.
Then I will look back and laugh. I hope...