I have to admit, every time Mary says “let’s go to a garden,” I hesitate. I gravitate toward the large one-shot grand landscape and find small subjects and flowers uninspiring. Yet, each time we do this type of photography, I end up loving it. Here’s why:
Mary and I are fortunate to live near two very good and large gardens – the Huntington in San Marino, CA and the Descanso in La Canada Flintridge. They are both just a few minutes from our house. We love going to these two sites to make close-up photographs of flowers.
I am using a Fujinon 60 mm f/2.4 on my Fujifilm X-T2 camera. Macro lenses can shoot objects close-up and can achieve a 1:1 ratio (or greater) of the size of the object to the image. Most of these photographs, I am inches away from the subject. Even with a telephoto lens, you can not get this close to the subject and have the lens focus this close.
I have made good photos of a “whole” flower with a telephoto, but you can not capture the small and delicate features of a flower without a macro lens. They also are capable of great detail and good bokeh.
Depth of field is always an issue with these types of photographs. I choose what I want to be most in focus and then I try multiple apertures and see what looks best. Also, any camera movement can throw off the composition and focus, so I always use a tripod for this type of photography.
I do not think just any subject looks good for macro photography. I am usually looking for good texture and good color. I find that flowers that are too tight or too open are not good subjects. Roses are a favorite. Bright sunny days are no good and, obviously, windy days are a no-go. The best days are cloudy, cool, and windless. We like to go first thing in the morning and get water drops and dew on the flowers, too.
Processing is fairly straight forward. I do unusually vignette the photo to darken the background. I also add structure and clarity to bring out the details in the flowers.
If you like how close-up photos look, get a macro lens and find a garden. You will have hours of fun.
To see more of (and buy) our photographs, please go to www.pamphotography.com.