Photographers often say that the best photographs are taken close to home and I have to agree with this.
I would really like to describe how I trekked miles in to a remote ancient woodland and fought off three bears for this image but it would be far from the truth as the location was in the garden. The garden is very wildlife friendly and a section of it in the spring is covered by a yellow carpet of Lesser Celandine. The celandine is from the Ranunculus family which holds around 600 species including the buttercups. I particularly liked this image with the composition and depth of field.
Canon 5D Mk3 and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens with angle finder.
Handheld. 1/250s, f/4 at ISO400.
Checking the exif data for the Bee Orchids I photographed last year said I’d taken them between 10th and 27th June. Well I searched and searched and couldn’t find any. It was only when I checked the other night that I found a single really small orchid. I’m not sure whether its been a bad year for this species or not, but I can definately say they are very late flowering around this area compared to last year. Anyway, the next task was to photograph it. I tend to use my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens for most of the macro subjects I find, but after purchasing the Canon 1D mk4 I am finding the depth of field with this lens to be tricky. Due to the sensor being a lot bigger than my old 40D, the subject appears smaller in the viewfinder, which means you have to move closer to the subject which in turn, makes the depth of field smaller. Is everyone still following…? Good! (cus I’m confused and I’m writing it!! lol!) Anyhow, hmm.. because the depth of field is smaller due to being closer, to get more of the subject in focus, you have to increase the aperture. This will have two effects on the image/settings. 1. It will cause the shutter speed to go down (unless you increase the ISO) and 2. It will bring the background more into focus and you will lose the nice clear background that you want in an image. Not good… so… in my bag I also carry a Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. I also have an 25mm extension tube and a 1.4x converter. It doesnt happen very often but I had a brain wave. I mounted the 70-200mm on the tripod and attached the extension tube aswell. An extension tube reduces the minimum focussing distance of a lens, (25% in this case with a 25mm) so you can get closer to a subject (and therefore have it bigger in the frame). This would also get round the fact that I would be further away than with the 100mm macro (because of the magnification of the lens) which should therefore give a more diffuse background. It worked a treat and the photo below is what I achieved of a plant that was no taller than 15cm. Settings for the top shot were Canon 1D mk4 with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens at 170mm with a Canon 25mm extension tube. ISO200, 100th sec @ f/8.0. The lower image is with the 100mm macro lens at ISO 400, 1/80sec @ f/8.0. Compare the two backgrounds and settings. I know which one I prefer.
Knowing that there are plenty of butterflies to photograph in this area, I had a slow walk back to the car and found two Marbled Whites butterflies mating on top of one of the orchid spikes. The female is the browner looking one on top. I couldn’t resist getting a few pics and heres one that I particularly liked.
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