Jumping back to the photography related posts for this entry. If you spend any time on my little off ramp here, you have probably noticed that a large portion of my time behind the glass is spent shooting wildlife – particularly my feathered friends and the larger mammals when the opportunity arises. In truth, I actually take a lot of pictures of different subjects but generally keep those to myself unless there is something unique (leopard moths) or creepy about them (think arachnids). Every once in awhile I’ll go crazy and take a picture of a perfectly still mountain or lonely tree. These choice shots I tend to leave for my wife because that is her domain and I wouldn’t want to intrude on that or we might get into competition on who has better focus principles, who has better mastery of composition or grasps the concepts of light. Everybody knows I’m not really one for competition especially when it comes between a husband and wife. Unfortunately, a certain someone has started creeping out of “her” ummm let’s go with “their” comfort zone…. maybe taking big game shots and pitting them against other wildlife shots. I’m fine with that, of course, just saying…
So today, I decided to branch out a little myself just to mix it up a little bit around here. Linda and I were out at Jubilee Park, once again checking out what the park had to offer for photo ops. The birds have been a little scarce the last few times we were there forcing me to look a little closer to ground for interesting subjects. This led me to a clump of purple wildflowers filled with activity.
As the norm these days, the D7000 was supporting both the Beast and 1.4 Tele (I need to give this one a cool name too). What better time than to get a little practice in on using big glass on smalls. For those who have not tried this, to characterize it as a difficult is a huge understatement. It is hard enough trying to get a bird tack sharp while hand holding glass this heavy, but to accomplish this on a subject that is smaller than the central focus can drive you crazy. Looking at it from a different perspective, the better you get at this level, the better you will get a pictures that matter… I mean pictures of birds – yes birds. There is definitely one major advantage of larger glass in this arena – at open aperture it throws the background into silky smooth bliss. A nice benefit over having to fight the extremely tight depth of field. You can get a feel for just how tight that is in the next shot.
Taking into account the size of the bee, you can extrapolate that to the size of the flower. Notice how the back half of the flower is fading out of focus – probably looking at a couple of inches of play at best. Now comes the tradeoff in the field. Do you continue the fight to keep the center focus exactly where you need it and compensate for the likely drift of the focus and any inherent movement of the subjects or do you buy yourself some contingency by stepping the Aperture down (higher f# but in truth it is inverted). There are tradeoffs whatever decision you make, but in truth all of us amateurs have a great debt of gratitude to the inventors of digital media – I would hate to even think about the bill for developing the number of shots we actually took that day. In my mind, the right decision is to do both – experiment, learn and hit that magical delete key on the less than perfect.
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