Going Macro!

Its tough to walk around Yosemite National Park and not want to just shoot the “BIG” stuff. The grandeur of Bridalveil Falls, the massive granite of El Capitan or the instantly recognizable shape of Half Dome.

But there is another side to the beauty of the area. The smaller side. The side that you walk past, step on, and forget exists. Its the leaves, the rocks, and moss that you walk on. And within that smaller realm is a story to be told.

When we hit the Bridalveil Falls area I took the “postcard” snapshot of the falls so I would have it. Once that was out of my system, I focused on a project I typically don’t consider when shooting… the smaller world around me. The macro world.

Using a 70-200mm f2.8 lens and my Canon 500D Macro lens I set up “shop” around a big oak tree. The ground around its base was littered with pieces of rock and granite, some covered in green moss, others covered in the ice of winter. When shooting Macro, I have found it best to switch to manual focus and use your eyes to compose the scene. The 500D simply screws onto the front threads of the 70-200mm lens. When it’s in place, you have an incredibly powerful macro tool in your hands.

The toughest part is composing an image with your eyes. You need to have a sense of what will look “good” close up… try it, its much, much harder than it seems because your eyes often betray you… what looks good with both eyes, turns out to skunk you when you focus down on it through the lens. Spent a good hour or more on my butt, looking for interesting compositions. More misses than hits I must say, but a few turned out to be keepers. This was one of them…

A simple shot of a piece of granite with a patch of ice on it. Love the frozen bubbles… the contour of the ice-shape across the rock’s surface, and the rich texture of the speckled rock underneath. Seems to scream ‘WINTER” to me. Also makes a neat abstract image that takes a moment to figure out what’s going on. Thats a component of a photogrpah I always strive to achieve, but seldom capture… the ability to make a viewer’s mind consider what its looking at, and come to an “ah-ha” moment. One last thing to consider when shooting macro is the depth of field of an object, even at f22 you have to make sure your focus is tack sharp and you are shooting your object as close to parallel to the sensor plane as possible, this will keep the subject sharp edge to edge… and deviation will result in a bit of fall off (which you, as the photographer may actually want, depends on your vision, and what you want the final image to look like…)

Enjoy!

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  1. Photo Blog Entries February 3, 2011 | CafeBeyond - February 3, 2011

    […] Going Macro! Its tough to walk around Yosemite National Park and not want to just shoot the “BIG” stuff. The grandeur of Bridalveil Falls, the massive granite of El Capitan or the instantly recognizable shape of Half Dome. But there is another side to the beauty of the area. The smaller side. The side that you walk […] […]

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