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Cameras and Photography: Wind and closeup photos of flowers, monopod?

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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2008
1:04 PM

Post #5000322

I have a Canon Rebel with a Sigma 18-200 zoom that will do decent close shots. Recently I bought a set of extension tubes for it. They are 12, 20, and 36mm.

I am having fun trying it out. First time for me to be able to get this close with a camera. Not used to the very narrow depth of field though!

My flower beds are pretty cramped, and I really don't want to try a tripod in there. Has anyone used a monopod with any success? I have a pretty steady hand, but trying to focus on flowers blowing in the wind and hold the camera steady has been a challenge. Seeing the flowers blowing in the lens sort of makes me seasick!

I've been trying to take shots of flowers, but am finding the wind very frustrating! I finally get focus and framing and then the slightest bit of wind and the shot is out of focus as the flower moved. And, since I try to have the lens opened up for a bit more depth of field, it lowers the shutter speed, which makes movement worse.

Can anyone give me any tips or tricks for this? Or, do I have to wait for a day when there is no wind?

Here is an example of the issue I am having. This is a flower on a Red Buckeye - I was focused on the yellow part of the flower, trying to capture the interesting ridges there. Flower was centered in frame. But, it ended up out of focus, and out of center due to wind. It was just windy enough to keep me from getting a good shot.

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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2008
1:06 PM

Post #5000329

Here is another of an annual.

Very frustrating to someone who normally does not shoot out of focus!

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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 25, 2008
1:07 PM

Post #5000334

This one I waited and waited for the wind to stop... and it turned out ok.

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hcmcdole
Powder Springs, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 25, 2008
2:56 PM

Post #5000702

A monopod may help but a tripod would be your best bet for macro. Have you thought about cutting the flower and bringing it indoors to prevent any wind movement? Other than that you can try blocking the wind (a very tricky situation) or wait until the wind dies down.
wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

May 26, 2008
12:15 AM

Post #5002711

There are ways around this problem, I take pics of flowers in strong winds and they come out well most of the time, that is if they don't get blown completely out of the picture!

My camera is different, Nikon D40X, but the lens has image stabilsing (VR vibration reduction) which helps for a start.

Trick 2, using a fast shutter speed will help to freeze it, I increase the EV as I increase the shutter speed which helps with lighting.

Trick 3, if you have a programme such as 'sports' (which I have but have never used!) it can help to follow movement. I prefer the fast shutter speed as I can then select to use the central area for auto focus and light metering. The centre AF area on mine will follow movement. I use a shutter speed of usually 1/640 to 1/800, and +0.7 EV even with some sun.

Trick 4, if you can select the 'single' shoot mode this usually will freeze the pic when the shutter button is pressed half way to focus. I have changed mine to 'continuous' so I can take several shots if I want, but haven't found it to be a disadvantage for holding the focus. I have taken pics of birds in flight using continuous shooting and they are frozen, although the speed at which it repeats isn't great in dull conditions.

If it is very dull you can lower the speed slightly and up the EV to increase light, this works well for me. I was taking some pics tonight at near nightfall with dull clouds with a speed of 1/400 and a full +5EV with quite good results. ISO I have set at 400.

I took a pic today of a group of Abutilon vitifolium flowers, they were being whipped in strong winds sideways by several inches. Of course when they did that some were cut out the picture, but on a moment of relative stillness I managed to get pics.

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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 29, 2008
12:05 AM

Post #5017480

Thanks for your advice!

Wallaby1, I am not 100% sure I understand what EV means... is that a form of exposure compensation?

Looks like I was thinking backwards. I was thinking I had to use a low ISO - as I usually use 100 for flowers - and I was thinking I had to slow the shutter/open up the lens to have better depth of field.

I never thought of the sports setting!

And, perhaps I need to be more patient waiting for the wind to calm down! LOL

I was hoping I would be able to try these ideas out, but have been to busy to go out with camera.

How can you use a tripod for flowers low to the ground, and in crowded beds? I'd hate to try to fit a tripod in my shade bed - it's wall to wall plants. That's why I was thinking monopod. Perhaps they are not enough help to justify it's use.

It's going to be fun learning about this!

Beautiful Abutilon flowers. I don't think I have ever seen one of those.


hcmcdole
Powder Springs, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 29, 2008
11:26 AM

Post #5019501

I thought you were after extreme close ups which would require a larger f-stop for greater depth of field. It is true you can set a higher ISO and shutter speed to stop action thereby negating any wind effects and burst or continuous mode shooting will perhaps get a good shot.

Tripods come in different sizes and qualities. Mine goes from 3 inches off the ground to over 78 inches high (Gitzo) but it depends on the shutter speed I would be using whether I would use it or not. For macro shots I usually use it.

According to Scott Kelby (editor in chief of Photoshop magazine and author of several photo books) to get the sharpest shot you should use gear and techniques that all the pros use - which means a quality tripod, quality camera, mirror lock up, turn off VR or IS (vibration reduction or image stabilization), and use a cable release or self timer. That does seem extreme for each and every shot but you have to decide on when and where to use this type of equipment.

Here is a macro shot of a mechanical pencil using indoor lighting - 1 sec, f18.

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wallaby1
Lincoln
United Kingdom
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2008
11:54 AM

Post #5019632

Yes, EV is exposure compensation, on my camera it can be increased or reduced by +/-5 in stops, with digital it goes from 0.3, 0.7, 1.0 etc.

I grew the Abutilon from seed, still have a couple in pots poor things, need to find a space for them but that can be difficult! They can be short lived but can be grown from cuttings, I got seed last year off the two I had in the ground, one blue and one white but the white looked dead this year until I dug it up and saw a new growth near the bottom! It wouldn't survive in your zone, z8 is about it's limit.
haighr
Laurel, DE
(Zone 7a)

May 29, 2008
12:02 PM

Post #5019657

Am soaking up this information as I have had similar problems taking a super macro with my Olympus 560. I have a couple good tripods and a mono and will break them out and am sure that will help.
hcmcdole
Powder Springs, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 29, 2008
1:01 PM

Post #5019900

There are lots of information about EV (exposure value) on the web. Here is a good site to start with:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/ev.htm

trois
Santa Fe, TX
(Zone 9b)

June 8, 2008
2:51 AM

Post #5070217

When I travel, not being able to wait for the wind to stop, I set a white lamp shade over the plant, if it is not too tall. I can hold this down with one foot and the plant will be calm. Automatic white balance is a must for this. I remove the center of the shade, then usually use a tripod and cable shutter release.
dividedsky
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

June 18, 2008
4:53 PM

Post #5122928

Which Rebel do you have? On the XTi and XSi, the feature that tracks an object as it moves and refocuses accordingly is called AI Servo. Check your camera manual for that and see what type of information it gives you.
daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 25, 2008
10:30 AM

Post #5156487

Indy, my Rebel is just an XT.

I have been trying different things suggested here.

Here is an example...


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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 25, 2008
10:31 AM

Post #5156488

and another

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dividedsky
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

June 25, 2008
1:08 PM

Post #5156954

Not bad. Gorgeous flower, too! Now try choosing a higher f-stop number, stopping down, to increase depth of field. It's a fairly "deep" subject for a macro, so closing the aperture will help to get more of it into focus.

There's lots of good information in this thread - thanks, everyone - and I'm going to work on some of that myself.
daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 25, 2008
7:04 PM

Post #5158463

duh!! Didn't mean to post the same photo!
I don't think I have some that before! LOL!

I am accessing the forum from my phone,
so will try to remember to post the right
one when I get home tonight.
trois
Santa Fe, TX
(Zone 9b)

June 25, 2008
9:42 PM

Post #5159106

And I was so busy searching for the difference! LOL

I have done that myself.
daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 26, 2008
5:18 AM

Post #5161037

lavender - the photo I tried to post... LOL

short depth of field, but at least it's not blurry.

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daylily_ohio
Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

June 26, 2008
5:24 AM

Post #5161049

Darn it! It looked rotated in Adobe Bridge! I rotated and resaved with Photoshop.. hope it's right now. Can you tell I only had 2 hours sleep last night? LOL

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dividedsky
Indianapolis, IN
(Zone 5b)

June 26, 2008
4:10 PM

Post #5162784

At least your lavender is blooming! Mine is cringing in the dirt, thinking about dying.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 26, 2008
4:50 PM

Post #5163030

Play with all kinds of settings. Actually I like the work you are doing. You have lots of ideas to play with and here is one more...Take your subject inside and add flash bounced from many angles to see many more views. Try bouncing flash to support available light. The mind has no end just figuring out ways to get different effects. Digital has made all this affordable.
haighr
Laurel, DE
(Zone 7a)

June 26, 2008
5:06 PM

Post #5163127

Good idea docgipe, how are things in Montoursville? I grew up in Lewisburg. I just lurk around this thread, not really advanced enough to try everything you folks discuss but have gotten some good tips.
Candee
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 26, 2008
5:18 PM

Post #5163196

I grew up in Greencastle. We boys thought all the best looking girls lived in Hagerstown. That was the gospel of girls in the fiftys.
haighr
Laurel, DE
(Zone 7a)

June 26, 2008
5:40 PM

Post #5163278

What a coincidence you grew up here and I grew up there. I actually lived across the river in East Lewisburg, the road that turned before the old Alhambra on the way to Montandon.
Early_Bloomer
Springboro, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 29, 2008
1:57 AM

Post #5175459

daylilly...here's a little trick I use when photographing flowers on breezy days. It can make a huge difference in sharpness.



early_bloomer

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Early_Bloomer
Springboro, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 29, 2008
2:01 AM

Post #5175482

Here's the view from the top. I use two clothespins glued end to end. Sorry about the quality of these photos. Dusk was falling when I remembered I needed them.


early_bloomer

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