They say that practice makes perfect and I’m starting to sense some improvement – either that or I was just having a good day on my latest macro adventure.
Perhaps the bugs I found weren’t the most interesting this time around, but the consistency of my results was a nice surprise. Lets have a look at my favourite shot of the day, the
rare common and majestic unimpressive fly. I know, I shoot a bit too many flies, but they’re easy to find and I like their eyes (I’m a sucker for eyes, even though the rest of their face does leave something to wish for). There are two reasons why I like this shot: first, the background is nice. Sometimes a black background can be a really nice effect but generally I prefer some ambient light to give the background some colour. I also like the bush he’s standing on, it provides some extra interest. Second: focus is spot on. The angle means not much of the fly will be in focus but the eyes are nice and sharp. Click through to my flickr and look at the larger version to better appreciate the details.
This brings us to the area where I felt I did better than usual: the focusing. Don’t get me wrong, focusing is still the biggest issue standing in the way of getting a good shot, it’s just that this time I got a higher ratio of usable shots than I usually do. I wear glasses and I have a camera with a relatively small view finder, so it can be difficult for me to actually see if something is in focus. What I’ve also noticed is that even if I think something is in focus and everything looks perfect through the viewfinder, it can still be completely off when I check the shot on the display. I don’t know if it’s because of the camera, the lens or my eyes, probably the latter, but it can definitely be frustrating. So what I’ve started doing is to refocus between every shot, starting with something that, to me, looks like front focus, then go for the focus that looks right and then back focus. I think the front focus approach is giving me the best results but I have to try it more to be sure. It felt good when I checked the shots on the computer and there were actually several good, in focus, ones to choose from. The fly at the top gave me enough time for five shots and two of them had perfect focus, that’s definitely a good payoff. I still throw away a lot more shots than I use though, it goes with the territory.
As you can see from the first two shots, I’ve tried to avoid shooting just the standard profile view all the time. The fly was in a good position, making it easy to get different angles, even coming in slightly from below. The other bug was in a trickier position but he was very patient with me. I annoyed him for quite some time, walking around trying to find interesting angles. I like the shot I’ve included here, where he looks like he’s trying to stare you down (and doing quite a god job of it too). Like I said before, I didn’t really find many interesting bugs this time, so I took the time to try something different instead. I wouldn’t normally be interested in the ant you see here, but I liked the colour of the stone and I was almost finished for the day. A couple of quick snaps and some post processing later, we have this result, which I think is pretty nice. Maybe it would have been even better if I had thought of removing the grass in the foreground.
That’s it for today, I hope I can keep the good results coming next time. Until then, happy hunting.