I’ve always had a certain fondness for microscopes. An inexpensive microscope was one of my favorite toys when I was ten or eleven. I told Leslie that if I were as rich as Bill Gates, I would have a houseful of electron microscopes.

Since I’m not Bill, I had to settle for a rather expensive Canon close-up lens for my D20 which has the ability to magnify from 1 to 5 times. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with my new toy when I took it out to play last week. What I didn’t realize was just how close you had to get to the subject in order to magnify it. Nor did I fully realize just how shallow the depth of field was.

I suspect that if I’d realized the limitations before I bought the lens, I wouldn’t have bought it. Now that I have it, I’ll just have to spend a considerable amount of time learning to use it for I’m far too cheap to let it sit around collecting dust.

I took a virtual roll of film on a very windy day last week and was quite disappointed with the results, ending up with a single image I felt at all satisfied with, the stamen of a flower taken at 2X magnification:

What I did learn, to even a greater extent than I did when birding, was the need to stand still and wait. You don’t chase insects, you wait for them to move in front of your camera, and then you move very slowly so as not to chase them away. In other words, you need to make them think that you’re part of the scenery if you’re going to get close enough to get a good picture.

2 thoughts on “Stamen”

  1. This advice for “camerizing” nature applies for doing plenty of other stuff, too. Chasing sth ends up too often chasing it away. I consider that photos are better presented when they don’t remind viewers of sb standing behind the lens but of sth constantly coming into the photo. Maybe that’s just because the taker mixes himself into the scenery when taking it with the camera…

  2. I’m hardly the one to argue that the photographer should just let a picture happen since I often manipulate pictures in Photoshop to make them appear closer to what “I saw” when I took it.

    But I do agree that there is something to be learned from letting things happen rather than trying to aggessively change them. I suspect that one can only be a good nature photographer when one learns to discover where one is likely to get a picture and then waits for that pictue to happen.

    I wrote an earlier entry called the Zen of Canon that suggested that there’s no need to go out seeking pictures because they are always right in front of us, waiting to be taken.

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