Sunday, October 31, 2010

Macro photography

For the last few weeks I’ve been borrowing two macro lenses from a friend, and I’m having a blast photographing plants and flowers around the garden. Here are some of my favorites.

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Perennial Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
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Perennial Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)
101031_salvia_puberola_flowerhead
Rose leaf sage (Salvia puberula)
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Bog sage (Salvia uliginosa)
101031_lions_ear_flowers
Lion’s tail (Leonotis leonurus)
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Lion’s tail (Leonotis leonurus)
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Spider web hens and chicks (Sempervivum arachnoideum)
101031_tower_of_jewels_rosette
Tower of jewels (Echium wildpretii)
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Quadricolor agave (Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor')
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Variegated elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta ‘Elepaio’)
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Giant farfugium (Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’)
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Golden lotus banana leaf (Musella lasiocarpa)
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White Queen caladium (Caladium bicolor 'White Queen')
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Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum')
101031_mouse_in_spiderweb
Happy Halloween!

6 comments:

  1. What type of camera do you use, and what were the specs on the macro lenses? I've been considering a macro lens for a while now, as I'm tired of the lower quality photos produced by my point-and-shoot (which I currently use for macro shots).

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  2. Alan, I currently use a Canon Rebel T2i. The macro lenses I'm borrowing are the 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_100mm_f_2_8_macro_usm) and the 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_180mm_f_3_5l_macro_usm). Both focus to 1:1 magnification without requiring extension tubes. The 100mm f/2.8 is still "relatively" affordable at $500 or so, but the 180mm is $1500. The image quality is superb on both of them. Depth of field (or lack thereof) can be a real issue with the 180mm but I love the beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds its focal length produces. I'm telling myself NOT to get addicted to these lenses because I need to give them back in a month :-).

    Using a point-and-shoot for macro works a lot of the time, as you know, but I often find the background to be very distracting because it's only a little out of focus, not completely.

    I just wish there were a cheaper way to get superb macro quality for less!

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  3. That's the thing about lenses: you (usually) get what you pay for. The good ones are more expensive than the camera and get hard to justify. If you've got a good "regular" lens, what's wrong with extension tubes or reverse mount adapters, or even bellows setups? (I haven't played with any of that yet, but will eventually.)

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  4. Alan, I haven't used extension tubes in many years but you're right, definitely something to try out. I already have a great 70-200mm lens and if I could get it to focus closer, I'd be happy, especially since it's image-stabilized and these two macro lenses aren't.

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  5. By the way, how did you get the lion's tail flower photos? When I grew these a couple of years ago they were at least 8' tall!

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  6. Our lion's tail is no more than 5 ft. tall. We planted it about 3 years ago from a 4-inch pot. I've heard of it growing to 8 ft. but ours is taking its sweet time to get there. Or maybe it's a shorter variety?

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