Learning to shoot macros

Yesterday I went to my local patch. The sun was warm and the breeze light. Generally good conditions for photography. The contrasts were not too strong and I was hoping for anything really, birds, bugs or flowers.

Birds were thin on the ground. A lady told me she had seen Verditer flycatcher and a group of men were photographing Scarlet-backed flowerpecker. I managed one very poor shot of Pallas’ Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus and some decent shots of the resident Long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach. There were some butterflies active including a nice perched Blue admiral, Kaniska canace.

Kaniska canace

I am disappointed that I missed full DoF on the wing tip, showing just how razor thin this must be even at F5.6. I had plenty of light but thought the ‘parallel shot’ would be fine at this aperture.

Most of my time however was taken up trying to get decent shots of lichens and mosses in the shaded areas. Here I failed miserably. Even using Live View I was not satisfied with the sharpness and I suspect the long shutter speeds meant the slap of the mirror caused enough vibration to lose that edge. I tried mirror lock-up but then you can’t see the image and I find this slightly error prone.

Here are some of the better efforts:

Orange lichen on bark

Grey-green lichen

Beware the white spot, Cap'n

And then a couple that did work in my opinion, already posted on Flickr:

Blow and make a wish

Three wheels on my wagon and I'm still rollin' along

And to close, the shrike……

Long-tailed shrike.

I am slowly learning the tricks and skills of macro / low light photography but a long way to go. A solid tripod is probably the most important requirement.

Feedback always appreciated either on the specific post or the blog content generally.