Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lisianthus Bud

And now for something completely different...
.
I've been frustrated lately with an inability to make the types of macro shots I want, the ones I can see in my mind's eye, without a proper macro lens so when a photographer friend offered me two magnifying filters to play around with until I can get my hands on a poor man's macro lens set of extension tubes from the States (I'd REALLY love to get the lens but I just can't justify it right now) I jumped at the chance to take them for a spin, even buying cut flowers especially for the occasion.
.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperative. My under normal circumstances almost bright enough kitchen was dark and dreary, and the work surface closest to the window was completely covered with fresh pasta waiting to be cut. (Photography is my passion, all things dough is my husband's. Yes, it's a tough life.) The vase of flowers ended up stuck in a dark corner between the sink and the refrigerator. Being an impatient sort I decided not to let this stop me and grabbed the camera and the filters "just to see what they can do". Ninety-seven very grainy ISO 1600 images later I finally conceded defeat and decided to try again tomorrow morning.
.
Determined to salvage something from the photo shoot I decided to try for moody and brooding instead.
.
It's not at all what I was going for originally but I like the way it turned out. It's fun when that happens. I quite enjoy the creative process in and of itself, and all the better when I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone to create something new (to me) and different.
.
Click to enlarge
.
More monochrome images from around the world can be seen at (the apparently newly renamed) Monochrome Weekend.
.

30 comments:

Thom said...

I love that photo. It's just awesome :)

Serendipity said...

Lovely. Really delicate.

Melissa said...

Stunning! It shows life at it's most fragile, I think.

Mimi said...

Love it, Robin, like a natural protective cage around the petals.
I think I'd prefer it, though, turned 90 degrees clockwise, but that's probably just me being unartistic.

quilly said...

Beautiful, yet somehow sinister of perhaps foreboding. I could see that image on the cover of a murder mystery.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

That's really interesting. Reminds me of pictures from science textbooks.

awarewriter said...

Grainy is OK sometimes. I kind of like grain myself. Like what you say about the creative process. Stuff finds you much of the time instead of the other way around.

Your photo reminds me of a tentacled sea creature swimming away with a meal that's too big for it.

You might try a two element, high quality close-up attachment lens. I do all of my macro work with either my Nikon 3T or 4T attachment lenses. Great optics and I like them better than extension tubes.

kden said...

Simply and purely elegant.

Yaelian said...

I like your photo Robin! I can't wait to see what else you can catch with those magnifying filters..

kaye said...

it looks like what you did worked--the picture turned out lovely.

Robin said...

Mimi - I tried it rotated 90 degrees but I didn't like it.

Aware - thanks for the tip. I'm going to check but I think I might already be using a set like you mention - it screws onto the lens the same way and the optics on these are excellent. They're old but very high quality. I received them because they photog hasn't used them in years and they were just gathering dust in his closet. He's a print ad and catalog photographer and is my technology/how-to guru. He wouldn't know art if it jumped up and bit him, but he knows the mathematical and technical side of photography inside and out.

bermudabluez said...

I still think it is wonderful! Much better than I cold ever do!

Bengbeng said...

it turned out quite well too. i wish i could produce something like that occasionally

Carver said...

I like the way this turned out too. Great shot!

Anon said...

In utero we called our first baby "Baby Bud". Your beautiful picture depicts 'Bud'.
(your) Anon

Jientje said...

... 79 images later ...
I can SO relate to that!
But I agree, it's not so bad, it has a certain something!

Mojo said...

I think we can all relate to the frustration. But you overcame it. You certainly got what you were trying for -- moody.

I have a set of macro filters myself, and I understand the frustration. They're tricky to work with. As for lighting, yes natural light would be preferred, but I have a way of improvising that usually gets me by. I use two clip-on "gooseneck" desk lamps with 40W (the maximum wattage they're rated for) bulbs. the inside of the shades is white enamel and I use those GE "Reveal" bulbs so I get the most neutral light possible from an incandescent bulb. They actually work pretty well for macro work, but I still will normally use a tripod. Because when you're working that close with that much magnification any microscopic movement becomes an earthquake.

Someday I too will have a dedicated macro lens. *sigh*

RuneE said...

A bit grainy perhaps, but what is a kitchen without grains? :-)

Dina ... UK said...

I am learning, nothing has to be perfect to make an attractive image.
Infact it is the experimental ones that give a more pleasing image.
Very nice Robin....

Kilauea Poetry said...

Thanks..I appreciate your post. I get so frustrated myself. I seriously march outside and head to the same fern..trying to get a macro in the most difficult type of lighting! I'm trying to understand and just have to work with what I have. I don't think I can even use a filter on the one I have (sony cybershot). Anyway, I like your image..half of it is like what this fellow mentioned in his post- http://awarewriter.wordpress.com/2009/12/12/monochrome-photography-hydrangea/
Anyway, hope you have a great day..I look forward to coming here!

Irene said...

Interesting photo!

Rhonda said...

Hi! So happy to have found you through another blog. Would SOOOOO love to come to Israel one day!!! It's on the top of my list of "To Do's"......Love your blog!!

Spiderdama said...

I think this is very nice!;-)
Have a good sunday!
Spiderpics

awarewriter said...

I dug out the instruction sheet for my 3T and 4T Close-up attachment lenses. Nikon has a few useful tips:

Stop down to at least f/5.6 (you probably stop down further in any case).

Focus on the surrounding matte area in the focusing screen instead of the split image rangefinder. (I use an E screen in my F3 for macro). Avoids small focusing errors.

When using two attachment lenses together, always place the more powerful lens closest to the prime lens.

And of course, always use a good tripod and cable release. (Sometimes I'll flip the mirror up to reduce vibration from mirror slap).

The 3T and 4T are designed to be used with telephoto lenses primarily (85mm to 200mm). I use a 75-150 Nikon series E Zoom lens for all my macro work. It's a great lens and the zoom gives me a lot of flexibility so I don't have to fool with precise positioning of my tripod.

I almost always use the 3T. The 4T is too strong for what I do most of the time.

I am planning some B&W macro experiments, but I generally use Fuji slide film. I really like Astia. The colors are more natural and it works well with skin tones too. It's also supposed to be archival quality.

Robin said...

Thank you Aware, this is really helpful! Some, like the stepping down, I was already doing, but I didn't know to put the more powerful lens closer in and some of the other hints are new to me as well. I was also using the smaller zoom instead of my big(gish) one so I probably wasn't getting the full benefit.

I really need to pick up a remote shutter release too. Using the gorilla pod (no ball head) is tricky enough, having to manually push the shutter really complicates my efforts.

Shannon said...

Very cool photo. You are getting so good!

Kristin said...

Gosh, I wish I was that creative. Out of your frustration came something beautiful!

Commenter Abbi said...

There is something almost abstract about it, as the bud seems to be coming out of the mist.

Nice use of the flower name. ;)

michael bird said...

Love it, Robin. And your write-up, and the comments, help a bunch - besides being interesting and fun...

Ellie said...

This one is really fascinating! Artful!