Archive for October 2015

Happy Halloween!   9 comments

I almost forgot about this holiday!  This is the only recent image that fits the bill.  I captured it on a foggy morning in Colorado National Monument last week.  The trees are Utah juniper.  They’re actually alive, though they’re mostly bare.  They look pretty spooky in low light, especially sandstone monoliths of Monument Canyon looming in the fog beyond.  Hope you’re having (or had) a fun halloween night, with only treats no tricks!

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Myths of Photography: Use a Wide Angle Lens for Landscapes   11 comments

Book Cliffs, Colorado.  A landscape image at 310 mm.

Book Cliffs, Colorado. A landscape image shot just this morning at an unconventional focal length of 310 mm.

I’m starting an occasional series on common photography myths and misconceptions.  This one is pretty widespread.  It goes something like this:  “If you want to shoot landscapes, you need to do it with a wide angle lens.”  That’s often extended to “and the wider the better”.  It’s mostly assumed and not stated outright.  But it’s yet another case where good advice is stretched well beyond the original scope and meaning.

When I posted the series Learning Photography, in the part about lenses I recommended that if you’re serious about landscape photography, you really need to get a wide-angle lens.  Does that mean all good landscape photos are done with a wide-angle?  Certainly not!

I know (very good) photographers who shoot almost nothing but wide-angle landscapes, some loving the ultra-wide.  This is what they like, so I’m not knocking them at all!  But even though many of these pictures are amazing, there’s a risk of getting stuck in a rut, with images that begin to all look the same.  Little or no variety means eventual boredom, on the part of the photographer if not their viewers and fans.

Columbia River Basalt, Washington scablands.  Wide but not too wide at  28 mm.

Columbia River Basalt, Washington scablands. Wide but not too wide at 28 mm.

The fact is that landscape photos are simply images of the land (I’m including seascapes).  That’s it.  The only other limitations are what you put there.  And if you accept limits as an artist you’re shortchanging yourself.  I shoot landscapes at every focal length I have.  I’ve even done landscapes with my 600 mm. wildlife lens.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t feel good going out to shoot landscapes without a wide-angle lens, one shorter than 35 mm. in focal length.  A sharp zoom lens that covers about 16 mm. to at least 24 mm. is just about perfect for many landscapes.  I love that close, detailed foreground and the sense of depth you can achieve.

Panther Creek Falls, Washington.  Going wide because I was so close to the falls.

Panther Creek Falls, Washington. Going wide at 16 mm. because I was so close to the falls.

Note I am talking about 35 mm. equivalent focal lengths.  If you have a full-frame DSLR, 24 mm. is 24 mm.  If you have a crop-frame with a 1.6 factor, multiply your focal length by 1.6 to get the full-frame equivalent.  In that case a wide-angle zoom of about 11 mm. to 16 mm. would be good for wide landscape shooting.

But if you capture pretty much every landscape with a wide-angle lens, too many photos will include a lot of uninteresting stuff around the periphery of the most interesting part of the composition.  It’s a case of seeing that good photo within the larger average photo.

Many times I’ll start out with a wide-angle but then, bored with the foreground, I’ll switch to a longer lens in order to focus in on an interesting part of the scene.  Tip:  If you’re shooting wide, keep an eye on the light and be ready to quickly switch lenses or zoom in to catch smaller areas when the light falls just right.

For so-called intimate landscapes like the last two images in this post, everything is fairly close to you and elements tend to be evenly weighted in the frame.  Because of this you have to be even more careful about going too wide.  Depending on how close you are, a medium focal length (35-50 mm.) is often best in these cases.

Fall colors in rural Oregon, captured at 200 mm.

Fall colors in rural Oregon, captured at 200 mm.

The fall colors above were captured at a long focal length (200 mm.) mostly because I didn’t want to trespass.  But if I’d bothered to get permission, I would have gotten close and gone wide, to add some depth.  But I like how it turned out.  The river image below was shot at 24 mm.  But I cropped it on the computer, just a little.  I would have used 35 mm. if I had that available at the time.

So there you go!  I hope the accompanying images have convinced you how misguided it is to go out shooting landscapes with the mindset that there’s a ‘proper’ lens and focal length to use.  Happy weekend and happy shooting!

A mossy spring on the Hood River, Oregon.  24 mm., 0.8 sec. @ f/11, ISO 50.

A mossy spring on the Hood River, Oregon. 24 mm., 0.8 sec. @ f/11, ISO 50.

Mountain Monday: Telescope Peak & Death Valley   12 comments

Telescope Peak and the Panamint Range from southern Death Valley's Saratoga Springs.

Telescope Peak and the Panamint Range from southern Death Valley’s Saratoga Springs.

Occasionally I like to highlight a mountain I like for Mountain Monday.  Today it’s Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park, California.  This has long been one of my favorite national parks.  I started visiting when it was still a national monument.  My first visit was a college seminar and field trip.  My second time was freelancing with friends, and we climbed Telescope Peak.

The top is just over 11,000 feet high, and since it was early spring, we waded through hip-deep snow drifts to get there.  After the all-day climb, we drove back down into the valley, took our sleeping bags, and tumbled out into the sand dunes to sleep under the stars.  What a contrast!  An icy morning at 8000 feet, a snowy climb, then sleeping out in balmy weather at sea level.

Snow-capped Telescope Peak has been lifted by the range-front fault over 11,000 feet above the floor of Death Valley.

Snowy Telescope Peak has been lifted by faulting along the range-front over 11,000 feet above the hot desert floor of Death Valley.

GEOLOGIC INTERLUDE

Telescope is the highest point in the park and crowns the Panamint Range.  The Panamints are an upraised block of the earth’s crust, lifted along the west side of a fault zone that at the same time dropped Death Valley down.  And down a lot!  The floor of the valley is a few hundred feet below sea level.

But the valley is filled with thousands of feet of sediments that were eroded from the Panamints and other ranges as they rose.  The top of the the bedrock that was dropped down by the fault lies some 11,000 feet beneath the valley floor.  This enormous wedge of valley fill is made of gravels, sands and clays.  But overall it’s quite salty.  There are thick sections of salts of various kinds, including good old NaCl, table salt.

These salt flats at Badwater in Death Valley are just the top of thousands of feet of salt and sediments filling the valley.

Geologists call these types of deposits evaporites because they are formed when large bodies of water evaporate away in a drying climate.  In Death Valley’s case it was a large lake called Lake Manly.  From about 2 million to 10,000 years ago, mega ice sheets lay to the north.  Because of this, the climate was quite wet in the now ultra-dry Death Valley region.  Early hunter-gatherers, recently migrated in from Siberia, were able to spread south because of this climate, which supported a diversity of life much greater than today’s desert does.

But when the ice sheets retreated during inter-glacial periods, the climate grew more arid, and Lake Manly shrank.  Because of how fault-block mountains border almost all sides of Death Valley, often there was little or no chance for the lake to drain in the normal way, via rivers.

The old Death Valley Borax Works, with a heavy-duty wagon.  This wheel is six feet high.

The six-foot high wheel of a heavy duty borax wagon.

Evaporation was (and is) the main way that water left the valley.  Salts that were dissolved in the water grew more concentrated as the lake grew smaller.  A brine was the result, and as the lake grew and shrank many times, often down to nothing, the salts were precipitated out.  They built up layers and layers of evaporite deposits.  The famous 20 mule-team wagon trains transported tons of borax from the borates (a type of salt) mined from the valley (image above).

A close-up of Death Valley’s evaporites (salt deposits).

BADWATER SALT FLATS

The current desert climate of Death Valley is one in which standing water from paltry winter rains evaporates rapidly, leaving behind fresh salt.  The salt can take very interesting forms (image above).  The mix of fine muds and salt, combined with repeated wet/dry cycles, can form fantastic polygonal patterns, as the bottom image shows.  Salt is also eroded away occasionally by the Amargosa River when infrequent storms allow it to flow south out of the valley.

The water in the image at the top of the post is really not part of this equation.  It’s fresh not salty, and comes from the amazingly strong Saratoga Springs in southern Death Valley.  I camped nearby one time and captured this view early the next morning.  Saratoga is well off the beaten track and most visitors to the park miss it.  There’s a very cool dune field nearby.

The salt flats in Death Valley form interesting polygonal patterns.

The salt flats in Death Valley form interesting polygonal patterns.  Telescope Peak is just left off the photo.

Single-image Sunday: Colorado National Monument   6 comments

This is the first time I’ve visited this part of Colorado.  I’ve passed through before but never drove up the amazingly twisted and steep road into the national monument named I think more for the plateau and river than for the state.  The Colorado River flows through the Grand Valley, which is fog-covered in this shot.  The monument is a beautiful collection of canyons and rock formations spilling off a mesa that is part of the much larger Colorado Plateau.

Fog-filled Monument Canyon, Colorado N.M., Colorado.

Fog-filled Monument Canyon, Colorado N.M., Colorado.

It’s very near the Utah border, and here you are in terrain that is much less about the Rocky Mountains and more like the red-rock canyon country of the desert southwest.  There are plenty of great canyon hikes, and the mountain biking in adjacent lands is world class (google Fruita Colorado mountain biking).  Driving west through the Grand Valley and into the town of Grand Junction you are leaving the Rockies and entering the Colorado Plateau.  The river goes from more of a swift river of mountains to one that cuts through spectacular sandstone canyons.

Waking the first morning to fog in the canyon bottoms and lowlands, the sun didn’t show its face until the middle of the morning.  But I still had a grand time shooting the rock formations, wreathed in fog, for which this National Monument is known.  The spire front and center in the photo is called the ‘kissing couple’.  The view is southward down Monument Canyon and into the east-west running Grand Valley.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend.  Friday Foto Talk, by the way, is on a bit of a hiatus.  It’ll be back, promise.

Single-image Sunday: Fog and Fall Color   4 comments

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Cottonwoods dressed for autumn peek out of a fog bank along the upper Colorado River in northern Colorado.

Photographing fall color is never quite as easy as it seems.  It’s so easy to get excited about the vibrant trees, especially when they first turn.   I often find myself pointing the camera wherever the trees are, forgetting about finding interesting compositions and light.  And I know I’m not alone in that.  But after a bit of the enthusiasm wears off, it’s easier to settle down and shoot properly.

This morning in north-central Colorado was pretty dull.  The light at sunrise was not cutting it, and then the sun rose bright and harsh.  Although elevations are high in this area south of Steamboat Springs, there are no sharp rugged peaks.  But the area is spectacular in its own way.  The Colorado River, still fairly modest in size this close to the headwaters, winds through farmland and then plunges into Gore Canyon.

Gore Canyon was one of the major obstacles to a trans-continental railroad.  An early Denver railroad magnate named David Moffat dreamed of building tracks through and over the Rocky Mountains to tap the mining and cattle trade.  But it took a crew of death-defying men, called Argo’s Squirrels (J.J. Argo was crew leader) to complete it.

To survey the route through Gore Canyon, considered unnavigable at the time, the Squirrels came up with a plan.  Some of the crew floated logs down the river while others lowered themselves by rope down the vertical granite walls to river level.  Once there, they drove steel pegs into the rock, then caught and attached the logs to the pegs by rope, forming a precarious scaffolding.

This way the crew had a walkway, just above the raging whitewater, from which to survey the route.  Old pictures show the Squirrels seemingly at ease on the spindly logs a few feet from certain death by drowning.  They wore no life jackets, but amazingly no lives were lost.  It’s also interesting that most of the men were immigrants.

Nowadays Gore Canyon is famous among rafters and kayakers for being one of the roughest sections of whitewater in the country.  Gore Rapid is a solid Class V.  You can do a commercially-guided raft trip through the canyon, but you better be ready.  It’s considered by many to be the wildest whitewater accessible by guided trip in the U.S.  A much calmer way to see the roadless and remote canyon is to take the California Zephyr, a scenic train trip over the Rockies and on to the west coast.

Back to the picture:  I had stopped to make coffee, at a place that overlooks the river valley just upstream from Gore Canyon.  The sun was busy burning off a bank of ground fog that had collected overnight along the river.  Cold fall mornings that give way to warm sunny afternoons are perfect for this kind of fog.  I could see cottonwoods along the river, in full color, just peeking out of the fog bank.  I was some distance from the river, so I got my long lens out and zoomed in on groups of the golden trees as they emerged from the fog.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of a remote but interesting corner of Colorado.  Have a great week!

Two for Tuesday: A Close Call   31 comments

Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado.

Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado.

Normally my Two for Tuesday series is about someone (or something) other than myself.  This time I’ll share a personal story, something scary that happened to me recently.

I’ve been traveling in Colorado, and made a swing through the Aspen area for the quaking aspen in fall color.  I wasn’t really planning to go to the ever-popular Maroon Bells, but found myself  driving up there as sunset approached.  I knew there was no way I would be shooting the “Bells” from Maroon Lake.  There are already about a million too-many shots of this on the internet and on walls everywhere.

Instead, I hiked past the throngs milling around the lake and on up-valley.  The lake is only a few minutes’ walk from the parking lot, and is admittedly quite scenic.  If you visit this area for the first time, go ahead and shoot from there.  I did on my first visit.  I’m really not trying to be smug.  But if you’re a serious photographer, I think you’ll want to get your own take on the place and avoid the tired composition that has been shot to death.

I climbed up an avalanche chute, bushwacking through the colorful but infuriating undergrowth.  I was sure I’d miss sunset, or rather the colorful skies as the sun set behind the mountains.  The trees and brush were in my way and it was getting steeper.  But I found a rock outcrop and, breathing hard, scrambled up.  I crept out to the edge and got a great view with aspens in the foreground (image at top).  I switched lenses from my Zeiss 21 mm. to the 50 mm. lens.  This was a crucial decision.

Next day I drove to another part of Colorado.  A couple evenings later I was shooting sunset and noticed an empty spot in my camera pack.  My Zeiss 21 mm. lens was gone!  This is a fairly new lens, currently the most expensive one I own.  So I was devastated.

On the computer I reviewed the metadata for all my recent images.  Although I had stopped and shot at a bunch of different spots to shoot, the last time I had used the Zeiss was shooting at the Maroon Bells.  Hooray for metadata!  Next morning I started the journey back across central Colorado, checking every place I had stopped, just in case the lens had somehow dropped out.  In the back of my mind I suspected it was at either at that rock outcrop or it was gone for good.

By late afternoon I was back hiking past all the photographers at Maroon Lake.  I had trouble finding the spot again.  It was just a random spot on the mountainside, away from any trail.  But toward sunset I recognized a tree and then the rock outcrop.  I was nervous; this was my last chance.  But I finally allowed myself to look down at where I’d been shooting.  And there it was!  It sat happily in the aspen leaves a foot or so from the edge of the cliff.

My shouts of joy echoed off the Maroon Bells.  I thanked the gods that I wasn’t the type of person who shoots from all the usual spots.  Needless to say, had I been at the lake that night, the lens would be long gone.  But nobody would likely ever shoot from that rock outcrop.  So except for the odd bear finding it and using it as a chew toy, I knew if I’d left it, it would still be there.  The sun was setting.  So to celebrate, I turned around and shot back toward the lake, where you can’t see but 50 or so tripods were lined up along the shore.

Maroon Lake sits in its aspen-lined valley, Colorado.

Maroon Lake sits in its aspen-lined valley, Colorado.

It’s a special kind of happy to find a lost $1600 lens on a mountain.  But I was also dismayed at my forgetful nature, which I’ve lived with since I was a kid.  Oh well, at this point in life you either accept all your failings or you drive yourself nuts.

Thanks for checking out the story and photos.  Have a wonderful week!

Friday Foto Talk: Macro Photography and Rails   Leave a comment

Let’s start off with a non-macro image: morning sun on the Colorado Rockies.

As promised, here’s a follow-up to my macro series.   Rails (or sliders) are devices that allow small movements of your camera without having to move the tripod.  The heart of a rail is its gear/screw mechanism, and the quality of the rail is in how finely this part is made.

This post also aims to give a step by step on setting up a macro shot, whether or not you’re using a rail.  Of course I don’t always follow this exact procedure.  In photography like a lot of things there’s always “more than one way to skin the cat”.  Sorry cat lovers!

 

BUYING A RAIL:  As always with photo accessories, you have to be careful buying cheap.  Check out rails in the shop if at all possible, using your camera and macro lens to see how they work under load.  Or if you can’t do that just go a bit more expensive for something with good reviews online.  I bought a medium-quality one.  It’s fine but would not be okay if I used it a lot; I use it very infrequently.  I spent about $50 on it.

Here are the things to look for in a rail.  If when it is mounted with the camera on top the rail wiggles around, even a small amount, it’s obviously no good for macro.  And if movement along the screw & gear is not slow and steady enough, that rail is probably not worth buying.

A SMALL CAVEAT:  I chose a very simple shot for an example.  In other words, it’s not the most spectacular subject, just a little flower in the weeds.  Also, the close-ups of my camera make it look like I’ve beaten it to hell.  It’s not actually that bad, honest.  The crack you see isn’t the LCD screen itself, it’s the protective cover.  Okay, I admit it, I’m hard on my gear.

By the way, I made sure to pick a good day for this (photo below).  Notice the boring white cloud cover, mid-morning, really perfect for what I call “illustrative” macro.  That means no real shadows or directional light.

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Each rail works a little differently, but what follows is how mine works.  It’s pretty typical.

A typical rail/slider.

A typical rail/slider.

  • There is an Arca-Swiss plate screwed to the bottom of the rail assembly, so the whole rail mounts right on top of the ball-head (see pictures below).  This isn’t the place to discuss tripod heads, but make sure you always get plates that match your head’s clamp.  Arca-Swiss is sorta the standard, and is pretty simple to use.
Rail clamped down on ball-head.

Rail clamped down on ball-head.

 

  • Make sure the rail is set somewhere in the middle of its range (rotate the knob to slide it).  If it’s at one end of its range you won’t have flexibility to adjust it in one direction.  The picture above shows mine a bit too far forward, so I had to slide it to the middle part of its range.

 

  • Once the rail is mounted securely go ahead and screw your camera right down onto the top plate as shown below.  This setup allows the whole rail/camera assembly to rotate around with the ball-head.
Screw the camera down onto the top plate of the rail.

Screw the camera down onto the top plate of the rail.

  • Now you need to get your tripod in about the right position next to your subject.  Decide about how close you want to get to your subject.  Your rail will get you a few inches closer or further, so you don’t need to be perfect here.  But definitely decide how low your point of view will be and adjust the height of your tripod legs.  The rail can’t help you with up and down movements.  Just make sure the tripod is very stable (tip: spread the legs wider when the tripod is lower)
Camera on the rail. But I'm a little too high, so...

Camera on the rail. But I’m a little too high, so…

My tripod allows me to go lower by rotating the center column to horizontal.

My tripod allows me to go lower by rotating the center column to horizontal.

  • Now it’s time to set up the camera.  Go to manual focus and pre-focus so your subject is in approximate focus (see pictures below).  Use either the viewfinder or LiveView for this step, whichever is easiest for you.  Again, don’t worry if it’s not perfect.  If you want to get as close as possible and fill the frame as much as possible, as I’m doing here, pre-set the focus ring to the smallest focal length.  But if you do this, re-check your tripod position and make sure it’s positioned so your lens is no closer to the subject than this smallest focal length (about a foot with my macro lens (see pic below).
Use manual focus.

Use manual focus.

Pre-setting focus at the shortest focal length.

Pre-setting focus at the shortest focal length.

  • Now you can slide the camera closer or further along the screws on the rail, turning the knob as shown.  Your focus is pre-set.  Moving the knob on the rail is the way you are focusing now.  I recommend using LiveView and magnifying as necessary to focus on the exact part of the subject you want in perfect focus.
Rotate the knob slowly while at the same time...

Rotate the knob slowly while at the same time you…

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…watch LiveView for the part of the subject you want to come into perfect focus.

I'm magnified on the yellow center of the flower while playing with the knob on the rail to focus precisely.

Still in LiveView, I magnified on the flower’s yellow center and adjusted the knob on the rail to focus precisely.

  • You can also use the rail at this point to fill the frame more or back off and show a little more surroundings.  In other words, change the composition.  So if while you’re sliding the camera along the rail you get a composition you like but you’re not in focus, go ahead and rotate the camera’s focus ring to get perfect focus.  See the Bonus below for more on focus and depth of field.

 

  • While you’re at it and have LiveView up, you should check exposure before taking the picture.  On my camera I press the “info” button to pull up the histogram (see below).  In this case, with a white flower, I pay attention to the right end.  I want to avoid the peak on the right climbing up the right side, causing over-exposure.  But I don’t want that peak to move too far toward the center.  That would underexpose and make the white petals look gray.  When using LiveView to check exposure, make sure your camera’s LiveView setting is on “Exposure Simulation” (check your owner’s manual).
LiveView with histogram. Also make sure your camera's LiveView setting is on "Exposure Simulation".

LiveView with histogram.  The histogram reads what is inside the white box, and I’m over-exposing the yellow just 1/3 stop.  When I moved the box over to the petals, the histogram’s right peak slid over to the right, but not quite all the way to the right edge (which would have meant over-exposure).

  • Some rails only have one screw/gear setup to move forward and back.  Mine also has a screw and gear at right angles to allow small movements right and left.  This can be handy to get slightly different compositions, with your subject off to one side.  I can remove that part to go lighter (see images below).  With my rail I also get a more stable camera mount (no wiggle) when I get rid of that extra part.
Using the side-to-side adjustment knob to move the flower off-center.

Using the side-to-side adjustment knob to move the flower off-center.

I slid the rail/camera slightly to the left, which put the flower just off to the right.  This still needs a little tweaking in the computer, but this isn’t a bad final image.

Rail with side-to-side part removed, leaving only the forward-back adjustment.

Rail with side-to-side part removed, leaving only the forward-back adjustment.  My hands are starting to look like my mom’s!

 

BONUS: FOCUS & DEPTH OF FIELD

DEPTH OF FIELD & MACRO:  Macro lenses have very little depth of field in front of the focal plane, with much more (but still limited) in back.  In other words, you will normally focus on the closest important part of the subject, not trusting anything closer than that to be in focus.  Then you’ll play with aperture, experimenting to get the right amount of depth of field.

Remember also that the closer you get to your subject, the narrower your depth of field will be, and the reverse is also true.  Get more depth of field by moving back away from your subject.

DEPTH OF FIELD PREVIEW BUTTON:  You can either shoot and review to experiment, or use LiveView in combination with the depth of field (DOF) preview button.  Not all cameras have a DOF preview button.  If yours does, there are times when it comes in very handy.  Pressing the DOF preview button closes down the aperture to the one you select (see pic below).  Otherwise anything you see through the lens, either using the viewfinder or on LiveView, reflects the lens’s widest aperture (shallowest depth of field).

LiveView without the DOF preview button depressed. Even though my aperture is set to f/11 here, the LiveView shows what it would look like at f/2.8, the largest aperture for this lens.

LiveView without the DOF preview button depressed. Even though my aperture is set to f/11 here, the LiveView shows what it would look like at f/2.8, the largest aperture for this lens.

Here I'm pressing my DOF preview button to see what f/11 actually looks like. The petals in rear are in better focus than the LiveView image above shows.

Here I’m pressing the DOF preview button to see what f/11 actually looks like. The petals in rear are in better focus than in the LiveView image above.

APERTURE:  Realize as you close down aperture for more depth of field you are doing two important things to the picture.  First, you are slowing down shutter speed.  So if your subject is moving, for example in a breeze as mine is doing here, you may end up blurring your subject.  Raise ISO to keep your shutter speeds fast enough to freeze that movement and avoid subject blur.

The only way to see how much you need to raise ISO and check for blurring is to shoot and review.  It also pays to watch closely for the subject’s least amount of movement and shoot then.  If your shutter speed is fast enough (about 1/100 sec. or faster for this lens), you can just press the shutter gently.  If speeds are much slower, you need to keep your hands off the camera, using either a remote switch or shutter delay.

At f/11 and ISO 100, shutter speed is 1/25 sec., which will result in a sharp picture if I wait for the breeze to pause and the flower to be mostly still.

At f/11 and ISO 100, shutter speed is 1/25 sec., which will result in a sharp picture if I wait for the breeze to pause and the flower to be mostly still.

But I wanted more depth of field so I went to f/22. I had to raise ISO to keep shutter speed up. If I had more wind I would need to raise ISO even more.

But I wanted more depth of field so I went to f/22. I had to raise ISO to keep shutter speed up. If I had more wind (or less patience) I’d need to raise ISO even more.

The second thing you’re doing when adjusting aperture for more depth of field is of course bringing the background into better focus.  Use the DOF preview button or shoot/review to get just the right balance between focus in your subject and the amount of detail in the background.

I slid the rail/camera slightly to the left, which put the flower just off to the right.  This needs a little tweaking on color and contrast, but it's not a bad final image.

I slid the rail/camera slightly to the left, which put the flower just off to the right. This needs a little tweaking on color and contrast, but it’s not a bad final image.

Phew!  That’s enough for now.  If all this sounds too complicated to bother with, please don’t despair.  It’s actually much simpler than it appears.  Try re-reading this.  But really, you just have to play around with the rail and see how it works.  It also helps to get some practice shooting macro before adding a rail into the mix.  As mentioned in the last post, rails come into their own mostly when you are shooting very close with high magnifications.  I’d recommend skipping them when you’re doing “less-close” close-up photography.

Blooming lupine is decorated in dewdrops at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Blooming lupine is decorated in dewdrops at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Wordless Wednesday: Fall is Here!   6 comments

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