Bad poets always return to “the sea,” and this struggling photographer always returns to the back yard. Grumpy as I’ve been over my recent images, I took advantage of some unstructured time on Thanksgiving morning to roam the yard with my 105 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor. I got a couple of good images, and a reminder that macro photography has some basic but mostly inviolable rules, which we ignore at our images’ peril.
The best macro photographers know that super-close focusing distances require small apertures, but as a portrait photographer, I tend to use very big apertures. I thought that stopping down to f/5.6 would give me adequate depth of field, but as my friend Les Dublin reminded me this morning, f/16 is a much more sensible opening, and even then one will be dealing with very narrow depth of field. Serious macro shooters also tend to work with diffusers and/or flash to manage contrast ratios for more even subject lighting. So my shots from Thursday morning are more like sketches I can learn from.
The good news is that November is proving to be a bright and colorful month here in Ojai, so I’ll get to try again on Sunday. You can bet I’ll be shooting at f/16 and carrying a screen to diffuse the bright sunlight.