More Macros!


The bank holiday weekend at my parents’ house got me back in the swing of proper macro photograph.  It’s interesting how it takes a while to properly fall back into a particular shooting style, especially one that requires quite a lot of technical adjustments such as macro.  Below I’ll post a few of the shots from the visit, to walk through some of the shots I took and the decisions I made (or didn’t make) that make these shots from average to (for me) very good.


All the following shots, with the exception of the Ceropegia (60f2.8 micro) were taken with the trusty 200f4 micro with polarizer on D800E.


Success or failure here can be boiled down to a small number of variables, I think:


Lighting/exposure/white balance; composition (though flexibility of cropping with D800E helps a lot); subject; background; choice of technique (i.e. lens choice; depth of field and whether to stack or not, and how much)


My first subjects were the flowers of Mamillaria longiflora subsp. stampferi


My previous experiences have told me that smaller pink/magenta cactus flowers like these are much more tricky to photograph well than one might initially think, for two reasons: white balance and composition.  For small pot-plants, getting the right angle for a clean shot is quite difficult; getting the white-balance right to accurately render the colour of the flowers and not blow the red and blue channels is also very tricky; I’m clear that I still haven’t quite mastered this.  My own tendency is to underexpose for fear of blowing the colours, and I still spend some time playing around with the white balance despite remembering to take a neutral grey reading.


Here are a couple of my takes on the same subject: both stacked, but rather differently.




ISO 100 1/6 f/11

Stack of 5 frames





ISO 100 1/5 f/11

Stack of 10 frames


Another subject I chose were Echeveria flowers.  The subtle colours and interesting waxiness always tends to produce interesting photographs.  In the shots that follow you can see that I experimented with different reflectors as well as water droplets (teaspoon pouring water overhead into cup beneath).


All are the same subject, Echeveria purpusorum




Silver reflector

ISO 100 1/13 f/7.1





Gold reflector

ISO 100 1/5 f/11





Gold reflector

ISO 100 1/4 f/13


There were also some nice Ceropegia haygarthii flowers in bud; these are again quite tricky and require stacking for good detail throughout.  Here the background could have been better, but I’m quite pleased with the subject.





ISO 100 1/13 f/7.1

Stack of 24 frames


Finally, my best shot of the weekend – one where subject, background, lighting and technique all lined up in tandem


Graptopetalum pentandrum superbum Flower




ISO 100 1/6 f/11

Stack of 5 frames


Thanks for looking!!





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