Macro weekend – trip 1

Two outings so far this weekend, both for macro shots.


First, a trip to Bernwood Forest, partly to check on the conditions and progress with late summer – inc. to see about any fungi yet emerging.

Second, a trip to the local butterfly meadow.


First, here are some shots from Bernwood Forest.




Common Cow-wheat

Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 100 2.5” f/16

Camera on novoflex rack/tripod at ground level with geared head at 90º tilted left and lens collar rotated 90º – this is the lowest I can get without putting the camera on the ground or on a beanbag (which I don’t normally carry with me on walks).


I don’t shoot this way very often since it puts strain on the bolts holding the clamp on the rack and the clamp onto the Manfrotto head plate (though the Manfrotto 410 is a great head in terms of its functionality, there are two basic things that show that it’s a mid-range rather than top-end product : 1) the quality of the gears, meaning that at times the tilts can jump or give a little; 2) the oversize and poorly designed Manfrotto plate system – I have a Wimberley C12 bolted to the top, but the bolt just adds an unnecessary weakness in the system, when it should have Arca-compatible. If e.g. Induro can do it, why can’t Manfrotto (or even Gitzo, whose heads have the same faults!)


This very small flower was growing low-down in some of the murky leaf-litter under the trees; once I got my eye in for it, it was easy to spot. Interestingly it is also the larval host plant of Heath Fritillary, one of the UK’s rarest butterflies – sadly there are none of these in Oxfordshire, though!


Fortunately the weather conditions were very still; overhead was full sun, but heavily diffused by the trees.


Another shot of the same subject, side on:




Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

Same exposure as before (note: slow!) – this one was taken at almost 1:1, i.e. almost minimum focusing distance; the flowers are no more than 20mm long.

Note also the advantage of shooting in fully manual with macro – no change to the exposure despite the totally different view on the subject.



Grass Whirl


On my way to another part of the forest with beech woodland – a favourite hotspot for fungi later in the year (very few around yet – and conditions still very dry –though some puffballs just beginning to emerge), I happened upon this strange-looking subject: a spider’s web (perhaps a Nursery Web Spider – Pisaura mirabilis?) had curled around the end of some grass stalks into this attractive natural circle.


The lighting in this open area was quite harsh, and the wind was blowing a little, but I’m glad I got some decent exposures. Though the colour shots aren’t anything particularly to write home about, I rather like the black & white conversion I did. Both images below are from the same original file.




Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 250 1/250 f/6.3 (on tripod)


Oak Galls and Moss

: something else to be on the look-out for




Nikon D800E/200f4micro/cpl

ISO 100 0.8″ f/16






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