This is a short post on a favorite winter-time photo subject of mine: frost. I used my Canon 100 mm. macro lens for these shots, but a regular lens with close-focusing would work too. I also sometimes use my Canon 500D close-up lens, which screws on like a filter. Combined with a wide-angle lens it gives you the best of both worlds: close focusing and wide angle. Your depth of field is limited though, just like with macro lenses.
The weather recently gave us cold fog that collected in the valleys overnight. It does not often drop below freezing in Portland, Oregon, but when it does, the area’s heavy plant cover offers abundant opportunity for photos of frost-decorated plants. I took these pictures in the gardens of my neighborhood, including my own, while walking my dog. That is as simple as photo shoots come.
As with most macro shots, the right depth of field and the right background are your main concerns. I shot these hand-held, an unnecessary challenge given the fact that there are these things called tripods. What can I say, I like challenges. Actually, there is a technique to this that will help when you are hand-holding shots of people and still life. Set your lens on manual focus and frame your subject. Set your focus manually, then move the camera (and your body if necessary) back and forth until you have your subject in perfect focus. I like to use the focus confirmation light in my viewfinder to see when I have focus and can press the shutter.
If you want, you can try to use burst mode to increase the likelihood of a perfectly focused shot. Burst mode seems a bit like cheating to me, and I only use it in special circumstances (such as action). I see a lot of photographers shooting with burst on all their subjects. That seems rather strange to me. It’s as if they do not trust their ability to decide when to take the picture. I think it’s a bad practice. I will shoot a burst when a breeze is moving my macro subject, so I’m not anti-burst. I just think you use burst with forethought, not in “spray and pray” mode with all your pictures.
Get out and shoot some winter macro!