Rain Day Brings Out the Macro Lens


It’s been a rainy three days in Tucson, which means in the morning, before the sun burns off the water, it’ll be a good time to get out the macro lens and try your hand at capturing those rain drops parked on the leaves.

Carefully place yourself as close as your lens will allow, being mindful to not let your equipment or camera strap hit any part of the plant, which might knock off the water drops.

Tripods are a generally a good idea for macro photography, but when dealing with tenuously perched rain drops, you might opt to hand-hold so you don’t accidentally bump the plant trying to get the tripod positioned. Just make sure you click off several frames and have your lens set to manual focus, as the slightest variation in lens-to-subject distance will affect the focus point.

As you can see in the image above, which I captured in 2011 on a trip to Lake Tahoe, the depth-of-field is shallow, so focus is critical. I made this one with a fairly wide open aperture (f/3.5), which creates shallow depth of field, but even with the lens stopped down (f/16, for example), subject to camera distance is so small there will still be a fairly shallow depth of field, despite aperture choice. As such, precise focus is essential.

Your camera’s auto focus will not know which fraction of an inch you want in focus, so manually focus the image and fire off several to get one that works.

Don’t trust your eye reviewing the images on the camera’s LCD or you will be disappointed when you get them in the computer and realize what you thought was in focus is just slightly off. Make the most of your efforts and capture multiple frames. Macro photography takes practice, so don’t be discouraged!

Happy macro-ing!

Image registered with US Library of Congress. Any use requires licensing from Martha Lochert.


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