Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The wide wilderness

It's getting a little cold for barefoot hiking this time of year... I admit I'm not a rugged as I might like, but I still like to get out and experience nature. Took some time to do that around noon hour today.

As it turns out, I forgot the CX7330 at home today, but I happened to have the Rebel XT in the trunk. Much better choice for this assignment anyway. That camera cost a lot of money, and I admit, with some of the shots I've taken lately with the Kodak point and shoot, I started wondering if I'd spent more than my own abilities justified...

Now let's make mention of that cheap little 0.42x wide angle attachment I picked up recently. The reviews I read about it after I ordered it didn't fill me with great expectations, but I thought, well, it's $70. So what if the shots aren't great; it'll be fun. How great do they have to be? I'm only an amateur — though I flatter myself a reasonably dedicated one — not a professional. So I was prepared for quirky, if technically flawed, shots...

Some of the shots I took today amazed me, though I say it myself. That 0.42x attachment lets me photgraph things literally at the end of the lens assembly. Maybe that's where the focal length of the original lens is anyway, but still... the realization I've bumped a leaf I'm focusing on was a shocker. So let me share a handful of what I consider the better of the 160-some shots I took over about half an hour today at Bruce's Mill Conservation Area...


Down in the valley... (a.k.a. nature's cathedral)


...and back up again...


Now look up... look WAA-AA-AA-AAY up...


Leaves, undershot


Out of nowhere, a leaf laden with dew, or holding the rain...


...and its nearby twin.


The field at the edge of Bruce's Mill Conservation Area

I'll take a moment to comment on this one. This is actually a composite of two photographs. But only two. I photographed this field in panorama in late spring with my DC4800. As I recall, it took me about six or seven shots to accomplish this, and the results were nowhere near as consistent or satisfying.



Tight focus...


Same view, focus slightly relaxed...

Shots like this pair are what I bought the Rebel XT for. I always wanted this kind of control. This sort of thing verges on 3D. I'm quietly proud of this pair of shots; I took them from only three or four inches away from the branches, and they came out just great.


Looking up on the way back out of the valley


Ladybug in repose #1


Ladybug in repose #2

I particularly like how the razor-thin shadowed edge of the leaf is defined in this shot. The focal control I managed here just about takes my breath away. Most of the shots of this calibre I've attempted till now have not come out, but these ones really worked. I'm especially pleased because these were all manual focus (as were most of the close-up shots you see in this posting), and not automatic.


Ladybug in repose #3


Ladybug in repose #4

This one is actually a detail of another shot, but it's not enlarged (in fact, in posting it here, it's significantly reduced). This might be the best macro shot I've ever taken, and it — as with everything else in this post — was achieved using that cheap 0.42x wide angle attachment. I imagine better shots are possible with more expensive versions, but only to the trained eye. I think these ones are just fantastic. I mean, yes, I had the vision to capture them, but I've had that before and blown it. So I credit the tools... they really made this possible, rather than simply desirable, as it's always been till now.


Backlit pine needles


Evergreen.

2 comments:

katherine said...

Nice work! I'm partial to the pair of frames you mentioned ... IMG_2924 & IMG_2925. Love those kind of images. Anyway, glad to see you were back out in nature today. : )

Lone Primate said...

I love doing this kind of thing. I kept going "Oh wow, oh wow...". That said, a lot of this stuff might seem pretty boring to most people, but for me, it was poetry. I think my favourites are the shots of the ladybug. I honestly did not expect them to come out anywhere near as clearly as they did (two or three didn't, in fact). Seems like the tiniest motion can move the subject out of focus at these distances.

I was glad to be back in nature too, but sorry to be "out of touch" with it. :)