My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

It’s a small world after all

I love macro photography, I should purchase a true macro lens for my Nikon so I can do even more than what I can with the Canon camera that I have. Actually, I did purchase a true macro lens that fits my Nikon, but I no longer have access to it. One of life’s many lessons, never purchase something for a girlfriend that you yourself would like to have. ūüėČ

It may surprise you that few of the insect or flower photos in some of my last¬†few posts were taken in the macro mode available on my Canon camera. Instead, I used the super zoom mode to achieve the close-ups that you can see. When photographing insects, there is an advantage to using the super zoom over the¬†macro setting, you’re a lot less likely to frighten the subject away if you can stay back away from it and zoom in. With flowers, I find that when trying to photograph small flowers in the macro setting that the auto-focus “sees through” the gaps between small flowers and focuses on the background instead of my intended subject, leaving the subject out of focus. Another thing about using the macro setting for flowers is that I find the camera shades the flower I want to take a photograph of when I get the camera close enough to the flower for the macro setting to work. So normally, I shoot a series of pictures in each mode, and use the ones that came out the best.

On larger flowers that mostly fill the frame, and insects that aren’t frightened away by having you close to them, the macro setting yields some fantastic results, like this beetle on a thistle flower.

Beetle with thistle seed

The beetle had plucked one of the seeds from the thistle flower, I assume to make a meal of it. You can see the beetle holding the individual petal with the black seed on the end in its jaws, especially if you click on the picture to see it larger. I didn’t see what the beetle was doing when I snapped this shot, there are many lessons to be learned here.

I took this shot as a more or less throw away shot as something to do while I was standing near the edge of a creek waiting to see if any more goldfinches would show up to drink or bathe from the creek when I took the earlier pictures you can see here. I was standing there waiting, and there were thistle flowers all around me. I love thistles, I think they’re a pretty flower even though they’re considered weeds. I have many pictures of them, and don’t really need any more, but then I noticed the orange beetle on one of the blooms, and thought “What the heck, I’ll shoot a few pics of the beetle while I’m standing around waiting”. I switched over to the macro mode and snapped off several quick pictures without really paying much attention to what I was doing, I was really looking for goldfinches. I was quite surprised when I saw this picture after I downloaded it to the computer, I didn’t know I had captured what I had. If I had seen what was happening, I would have shot more to see what the beetle did with the seed, and gotten a better angle than the one you see here. Someday I’ll learn, there are no throw away shots until after I have reviewed them, and I should¬†always pay attention to what I am photographing at the time I am taking the pictures.

Like most people, I have a one track mind, and I miss many good opportunities for good photographs because of that. Usually it is because I scare something off while stalking a different subject, and not paying any attention to my surroundings as I am doing the stalking.

Anyway, back to macro photography. One of the things I like to do with macro photography is “create” miniature landscapes in things I see when I am hiking. That’s kind of hard to explain, so I’ll show you what I mean.

Tree moss as a miniature landscape.

This is tree moss growing on the bark of a tree, but it almost looks like a mountainous area, or maybe I am deluding myself because I want to return to the mountains. The same with this one of a rock.

A rock that looks like a sandstone cliff

I know, they’re not great, but they keep me amused. Maybe you’ll like this one better.

Mossy rock

Another of my favorite subjects for macro photography is fungi. I have a couple from this week that aren’t really spellbinding the way that some are, but I found them interesting. The first is of some toadstools that something had been eating.

Partially eaten toadstool

 Then there are these tiny little toadstools, less than half an inch in diameter.

Tiny toadstools

OK, so maybe toadstools don’t do anything for you, I can understand that. Fungi take on many forms though, and some are quite striking.

White fungus

Enough of those, I have many more though, in many different colors. Never forget to look down while you’re hiking, you may be surprised at the beauty you find there.

One of my favorite subjects for macro photography is water drops, the water drops could be from rain, like on this pine bough.

Raindrops on a pine bough

Or these water droplets from a heavy mist on a spruce bough.

Mist on a blue spruce

Here’s one of dew drops on a male leaf.

Dew on a fallen maple leaf

You can see that each drop of water acts like a lens and magnifies the parts of the leaf that they are resting on. Here’s one of dew drops on a spider web in the grass.

Dew on a spider web

It almost looks like the water drops are suspended in mid-air.

That’s it for now. I know I rushed through this post and probably didn’t dig through all my photos for the best examples of macro photography that I have, but you’ll have to excuse me, I am in a hurry today. I am headed off to catch the Audubon exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, it is the last weekend for it, and I am going kayaking tomorrow. I should have posted a link to this earlier, but I don’t know how many readers are from this area. I will do a post on the exhibit, you can count on that, art and nature, does it get any better?

I hope that I have whetted your curiosity about macro photography, there’s an entire small world out there waiting to be explored.

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2 responses

  1. Great photography! That rock DOES look like a sandstone cliff!

    August 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    • Thank you

      August 19, 2011 at 3:16 am