Macro-glorious (almost).

Before I sign off on my grasshoppers and dragonflies for the week here are two final images. You have seen both species before. Firstly, the dragonfly Trithemis aurora (female).

I post this to show just how good the Canon 180mm F3.5 lens is and how hard it is to get the shot you really want.

I think the detail in this image is excellent. That is nothing to do with my photography. I simply think the lens is exceptionally sharp and “all” I have to do is get the focus and exposure correct.  I achieved those here. The histogram is pretty much spot on.

The focus looks good at 100%. But what I don’t like is the white petals of the Bidens alba below. I tried to patch them out but it looked messy. I could not get the cleanliness I wanted. I could easily clone out or spot heal the white on the left but for me the damage is done. So this fails but I still like it…… almost. Its hard not to like the beauty of the dragonfly.

You can not always choose the angle from which you wish to shoot. As usual I have a fence between me and the insect and I tried all sorts of angles but I could not get the shot I wanted of the dragonfly without the petals in the frame. The best I could do was work out the minimum DoF that would have the dragonfly sharp and the plant blurred. If I had been totally confident that the dragonfly would sit still I could have opened up wider and taken a series of images to stack. The challenge is you don’t know how long it will sit absolutely still. I only had two frames of this one.

Number two is perhaps a naughty one. Don’t worry, there are no Las Vegas billiard hall scenes here.

This the third of three shots I took of this individual grasshopper yesterday. You saw one of the others in the last post.

I liked it because it was an unusual position and it was if the grasshopper was hiding from me. And then I twigged that that is probably exactly what it was doing. So I didn’t take any more. Rule number one is that the welfare of the animal always comes first and I don’t know what disturbed this grasshopper. I had been happily photographing others at close range and using a soft fill flash with a diffuser. None had been bothered as far as I could tell. But each creature has a circle of fear, which you can not cross without spooking it. Birders know this all to well. I suspect this one didn’t like the fill flash. This too has a sub-optimal background even though I shot at F5, which is wide open on the 180mm lens once you add the 1.4x TC. So frustrating.

Macro or close-up photography is fun and there are some wonderful exponents around, whose work I envy greatly. It is rare for everything to come together. Most are ‘almost but not quite’. That doesn’t stop me trying or persevering.

Have a good weekend.


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