Shooting Alpines

Outside the front of our house we have some tubs of alpines; the pleasant weather of the last few days has brought a number of them out in flower, so I set about attempting some photographs of them.

This turned out to be rather more tricky than I had expected!


I made a number of attempts at photographing the pink heads of Thrift, but none of these came out at all well.  One of the problems with taking macro shots of small flowers out of doors is obviously breeze.  With larger flowers you can see the flowers vibrating and you can quite easily wait until the wind stops the movement (or else give up!).  With smaller flowers, one might assume that this is less of a problem since there is less flower to catch the wind.  However, in the case of the Thrift flowers, they are so light and delicate, as well as globular, that it seems that they must imperceptibly vibrate pretty much all the time!  Anyway, that’s my excuse, having taken 3 or 4 individual shots and 2 attempts at focus stacking, with no single result that wasn’t slightly blurred or out of focus.  I don’t think I’ll blame poor technique since I was using the same old Gitzo/Manfrotto/Novoflex support combination that doesn’t usually cause such problems.


In the end, I gave up and moved on, to the next flower along, a smaller but equally attractive red Saxifrage clone.  I stacked this for depth of field into the centre of the flower from the outer petals.  The only issues I faced here were exposing the reds correctly.  Even with care taken over the white balance, as well as using a polarizer, it remained very difficult to produce accurate colour rendition; I also had to desaturate slightly in order to avoid a Gamut warning on the reds.


Anyway, here is the result.  For this one, since the flower is less than 10mm across at the top, I decided to stack very carefully, going for 0.5mm intervals through careful use of the Novoflex focusing rack.  I’m reasonably happy with the result!


Saxifraga cortusifolia ‘Rubra’




Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl


Stack of 10 frames at 0.5mm intervals

ISO 100 ¼ f/13



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: