Today I’m off from work so I decided to go out and shoot myself some bugs this morning. It seems that summer isn’t quite here yet so it was another day without sun but plenty of wind. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just couldn’t get any results that I was happy with today. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by my earlier success or maybe it was bad luck. For one thing I couldn’t find any interesting bugs. I did find a place that seems good for bumblebees but they were impossible to shoot. I do mean impossible; they were moving constantly, landing maybe half a second in a flower before moving on to the next one. There was no chance at all for me to get focus on them. I also found a spider that I stalked for a while but he wouldn’t stop and pose for me and eventually escaped. The guy to the left is probably the best one I got during almost two hours. It’s not bad but it’s not great either, certainly not on par with the best ones I’ve taken.
I’m trying to remind myself that I’m new to this and that there is so much to learn. One thing I’ve noticed on the last two outings is that there is a lot of room for improvement of the light. The best light I’ve achieved so far was the one time that the sun was actually out while I was shooting. Even if the flash is still the main source (used to freeze movement), the ambient helps soften it and bring out the background nicely. I’m using a Sto-fen diffuser for my flash but I’m considering if it wouldn’t be worth the time and effort to build my own diffuser, maybe in the form of a small softbox or something.
Another thing I really struggled with today was focus. Perhaps I was just having a bad day but I just couldn’t seem to get it right. This guy was one of few where the focus is where it’s supposed to be: on the eye. The composition is boring though and you can also see what I mean about the light, it’s quite harsh. I think part of the focusing issue comes down to available light, it’s just really hard to see if things are in focus when the viewfinder is dark. I’m definitely looking forward to some more sunny days since it will bring more bugs and more light.
I’m starting to realize how much there is to learn about macro photography and I really hope I can improve more and take the kind of shots I want to take. So far I think I’ve spent around five hours in total, shooting bugs, including the time spent looking for them, but I plan on doubling that number really quick so expect to see more post (hopefully once a week) during the summer. My other photography might take a back seat for a while so I apologize to those who would rather see cute pictures of my daughter than closeups of bugs. There will probably be some time for portraits and other shots as well though, fear not.
If I feel up for it I might hunt some more bugs later today, otherwise it will be one Saturday, wish me luck.