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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.