tracey medcalfe photography | Capture This - Azalea Blossom

Capture This - Azalea Blossom

March 31, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
Capture This - Azalea Blossom
Good morning everyone,

I just love photographing flowers up close and the combination of the colors and water droplets make for irresistible subjects for me!  All these images are taken using a normal lens but with extension tubes attached so that the lens acts like a macro lens.  More details below if you are interested in technicalities of the macro extension tubes.  I also used a tripod; as you will see some of the shutter speeds are too slow for a hand held camera.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the images.

The first set of images below were all taken with my 50mm prime lens, it is such a versatile lens and can really be used for any subject.  It is tack sharp and if you don't have one....I highly recommend it!!! :-)  One of the interesting things about getting in very close on these flowers, is that trying to get everything in focus, is very like landscape photography - you will see from the settings that I was using a pretty small aperture to get as much in focus as possible and still there are elements of the subject out of focus.  Looking down on the flower is more tricky than looking at 90 degrees as the depth of what you I needed to be in focus was greater when I was looking down.
Exposure - 1/50 at f/10
Focal Length - 50mm
ISO - 250
Exposure - 1/50 at f/14
Focal Length - 50mm
ISO - 250
The image below is the same image as the first one on the blog just landscape format - I prefer it portrait as it emphasises the length of the flower.  I also like the way that the veins draw you into the centre of the flower which is stronger in the portrait format.
Exposure - 1/50 at f/10
Focal Length - 50mm
ISO - 250
For the images below, I switched to my other favourite lens - the 70-200 2.8 zoom.  It is an amazing portrait lens, but I wasn't sure how it was going to work with close up and with the extension tubes...what do you think?

One significant aspect of the 70-200mm lens is that it compresses the subject, so things that have a great distance between them even when the subject is small are compressed and they look closer together - see if you can see this in the difference between the two lenses...which do you prefer?
Exposure - 1/25 sec at f/10
Focal Length - 200mm
ISO 250
Exposure - 1/15 sec at f/13
Focal Length - 170mm
ISO 250
Exposure - 1/13 sec at f/13
Focal Length - 155mm
ISO 250
Exposure - 1/13 sec at f/13
Focal Length - 160mm
ISO 250
Extension Tubes

Extension tubes are very simply rings that attach between your lens and camera to move the lens further away from the focal point.  They contain no glass and are not optical devices, but some of them come with the ability to continue communications between the camera and lens so that settings can be adjusted by the camera and not manually.  The result of these is that your minimum focusing distance (the closest you can get to your subject) gets smaller and so you can capture subjects that are very small and attempt to shoot them to fill the frame.  I have a set of 3 - 12mm, 20mm and 36mm and can use them individually or any combination including all three if I really want to go for a very small subject.

Extension tubes are a very affordable option to get into macro photography and when used with good quality lenses can produce excellent results! 
Next Time

Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Next month will continue with flowers...focusing on the California Poppy! This year because of the increased rainfall, the wild flowers in California are producing a spectacular display!  Don't miss it!!

As always…I would love to hear your comments and images as well if you are also out there shooting blossom in March!!

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