1818 Farms

Every now and then Huntsville surprises you with something pretty cool.  Such was this case this past Saturday.  While my wife and I were driving home from the hardware store with items purchased to knock things off of my to do list, she showed me her phone and said "Have you these 1818 Farms people?".  To which I replied, "What is that?".

What it is is something really cool.  1818 Farms has a traveling cut flower shop ran out of the bed of a very cool, restored, 1965 F100 Ford Pickup Truck, effectively known as The Flower Truck.  This past Saturday, they were having the flower truck in downtown Huntsville.  We had to rush home, drop off our hardware store goods and rush downtown to see them before they left for the day.  I'm glad we did!

It's no secret that I tend to buy flowers from my local grocery store for macro photography.  Sometimes you have to end up buying an entire bouquet for one really good looking flower.  What I love about 1818 Farm's flower truck is they sell you one stem of any particular flower.  Oh, and every one of them looked amazing!  I ended up buying 5 or so different varieties. 

One of the flowers I bought that I thought was super cool was the Thistle.  I have never looked at Thistle like this before.  I always just thought of it as a nuisance weed.  The Thistle they had on the flower truck looked so good!  There was no way I wasn't getting one.  

So after I completed the items on my to do list.  I set in on doing some macro work.  I placed the Thistle in my Wimberly Clamp on my dining room table, setup my camera on my tripod and used a small handheld LED light to light my subject.  This is my typical setup for what I call "Dining Room Macro".

Aperture-priority, 0.4 sec, f/16, ISO 200, Compensation: +2/3, 90mm Macro

Here's one of the images I was able to capture.  I used my Nikon D850 with Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  I had my camera supported by my Sirui W-2204 Tripod.  

Macro Monday

I've been keeping an eye out on my "birding" area in the backyard.  While I haven't seen many birds at all this summer, it has turned into a bit of a butterfly hot spot.  

Probably three months ago I planted several butterfly "attracting" plants.  I started with a Butterfly Bush, added some Brown and Green Fennel, some Parsley and finally some Milkweed.  The butterflies are attracted to the Butterfly Bush, Parsley and Milkweed because they enjoy eating it.  The Fennel they use to lay eggs in.  Eggs turn into caterpillars and another photo op. ;)

I was out taking care of some things in the area this past weekend and noticed a new batch of Black Swallowtail Caterpillars had hatched, then noticed all kinds of butterflies everywhere.  The light was also cloudy and soft, so I grabbed my camera with Macro lens and went back out to spend some time with them.

I did something I rarely ever do when I am shooting macro...I shot handheld.  These guys were OK with me getting very close to them, but they moved frequently and trying to chase them with a tripod was not going to work out well.  I just kept an eye on my shutter speed and made sure I turned on the VC on my Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens.  Those two things in conjunction worked really well and allowed me to hand hold for these shots.

Aperture Priority, 1/100th second, F/8, ISO 200, Exposure Compensation +1/3

I believe this is a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly feeding on Milkweed.  

There are a lot of "butterfly on flower" photographs, and some of them are really, really good, but I  really wanted to see how close I could get to these guys with my macro lens.  Not only did the Tamron lens allow that, but the VC helped my create this image, too....oh yeah, and the thing is sharp!

Image made with Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 90mm Macro.

 

New Tamron Macro

It's been a while since I've even been near a computer, much less got to do a blog post.  We put new flooring down at home and I had to move everything out of the house for a few days, then work up the nerve to move it back in.  I'm still tired...

I did get my hands on the newest Tamron 90mm Macro lens.  I got a quick second to try it out yesterday evening.

This thing is sharp!  Every macro lens I've gotten from Tamron has been incredibly sharp.  This one is no exception.  

I shot this coneflower image with my Sony A7R II and Metabones Adapter.  The Metabones doesn't allow me to control the electronic aperture of this Canon mount lens, which pretty much means I have to shoot wide open, at F/2.8.  I was ok with that for this image, because I wanted the background to disappear anyways.

I mentioned I took this really quickly yesterday evening.  Maybe next time I'll have time to wait on the bumble bee or ladybug to show up. :)

Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Tamron 90mm Macro, Sirui W-2004 and K-20 Ballhead

Aperture Priority, F/2.8, 1/80th second, ISO 100

 

Showy Orchis

While in The Great Smoky Mountains last month, we were on the lookout for various wildflowers in the area.  One of my favorites is The Showy Orchis.  According to the US Forrest Service website, the showy orchis only gets between 4-8 inches tall.  The showy orchis also has to maintain a relationship with a certain type of fungi in order to grow.  They also prefer moist soil, like somewhere near streams...The Great Smoky Mountains is a prime spot for them.

Here's an image a I made using my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  I shot this in Aperture Priority at F/4.  I wanted a very shallow depth of field so the background would fall off quickly.  Macro photography is much easier with a tripod.  I used my Sirui W-2204 and K-20 Ballhead for this image.

Here's all the EXIF info:  Aperture Priority, F/4, ISO 100, 1/50th second, 90mm, Exposure Compensation 0. 

You Shot That With A What?

One of the days we were in the smokies my teaching partner, David Akoubian, was going to be using his NIkon system for the day, so I decided to borrow his Canon 5D III for the day.

That's right using a Canon.  If you have followed me for any amount of time you know I used to shoot Canon before I switched to the Sony MIrrorless system.  So, I'm no stranger to the system.  I decided to give it a whirl on some of the macro images of the pink lady slippers.

The conditions were great for shooting macro shots of these flowers on this day.  It had rained the evening before and everything was still wet causing the colors to look more saturated.  It was also still very overcast, so there was no harsh light falling on any areas, which made for great light.

This is another one of those macro instances where I wanted to totally isolate the subject from the background so I shot wide open at F/2.8.

I shot this using the Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 90mm Maccro Lens.  I always use a tripod when shooting macro and this time was no exception.  I had my Sirui W-2004 and G-20 Ballhead combo and it worked great, like always.

Aperture Priority Mode, F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/50th second, 0 Exposure Compensation

Pink Lady Slippers

I returned home yesterday from our Spring workshop in The Great Smoky Mountains.  We had such an incredible group!  From the images I saw when working with some of them on processing, they got incredible shots, too!  I'm already looking forward to next year's workshop!

One area of focus when we visit the smokies in the spring is always the wildflowers.  There are so many lovely wildflowers there, but the "holy grail" of those is always The Pink Lady Slippers.  We've been fortunate enough to find a fairly large group of them the last few years and everyone has gotten great images of them.  This year was no exception.

Here's an image I took with the Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  We counted over a hundred of these flowers in this area.  They usually grow in bunches, or groups of 4 or 5 in one spot, but I like singling one out when making images of them.  When photographing with a macro lens your depth of field is very shallow.  This usually results in you having to stop down your aperture in order to get everything you want in focus...and sometimes that isn't even enough!  However, this time I went with an aperture of F/2.8 because I wanted to make sure the background was a total blur.

Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter, Tamron 90mm Macro Lens, SIrui W-2004 Tripod and G-20 Ballhead.

 

Macro Monday

I spent a little time over the weekend making a few macro images.  I picked up a few of these Gerbera Daisies at the local supermarket and brought to the dining room table. 

ISO 100, 90mm, F/16 @ 1.6 seconds

I made this image, like I mentioned before, on my dining room table.  I use what little available window light I have, then I add light myself with a little on-camera LED video light that I just hold in my hand and places exactly where I want the light.

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Lens Adapter and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  All this gear was resting atop my Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Another Daisy Macro

Here's another macro shot of the same daisy as yesterday.  This time without a "dew drop" and in color.

ISO 400, 90mm, F/16 @ 0.8 seonds

Nothing real fancy here.  I did add an extension tube to my setup this time, however.  I sometimes add an extension tube to my macro lens just to give me a ratio that is greater than 1:1, or bigger than life size.  Extension tubes merely let your camera focus closer to your subject by moving the lens further away from the sensor.  Some people add extension tubes to regular lenses to give them a "poor man's" macro lens.  I use mine on a dedicated macro lens just to be able to get closer to my subject and allow it to look bigger.  

This image was made with my Sony A7R II, Metabones Adapter, Canon EF25 II Extension Tube and Tamron 90mm Macro Lens.  All held up by the Sirui W-2204 Tripod and K-20 Ballhead.

Mirrorless Lensbaby

I recently acquired a Lensbaby Composer Pro for my Sony FE Mount mirrorless system.  I was pretty excited to get it on the camera and give it a whirl.

I've had the Canon EOS mount Lensbaby Composer that I've used for a while, but I was super stoked to get the FE mount Composer Pro, as I could use it without an adapter.  For new Lensbaby Composer users, I believe there is a bit of a learning curve.  That curve is cut down quite a bit on the Sony mirrorless systems due to something called Focus Peaking.  Focus Peaking basically highlights whatever is in focus on the screen in whatever color you select in the camera's menu system.  And it works!  And works good...really good!  It really helps us blind ones. ;)

Here's an image I made with some of our newly bloomed wildflowers, the Sony A7R and the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Single Glass Optic.

ISO 100, 50mm, F/4.0 @ 1/640th second

I processed this image in Adobe Lightroom and finished things off in On1's Perfect Effects 9.  I used a couple of my favorite presets in the On1 suite.  First I applied a preset called "Vecchio".  It applies a warming effect on the photo.  Then I finished it off with the "Big Softy" vignette preset.  

If you are interested in Lensbaby Optics, feel free to click the banner on the right to visit their page.

Macro Monday

Ok, if you follow me at all you know I just returned from leading a workshop in The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks.  Everyone had an absolute blast!  

I know you are probably expecting some grand landscape images...and they are coming, but today I wanted to share a macro image I made while in the Tetons.  

ISO 100, 90mm, F/5.6 @ 1/320th second

This is a wildflower called Lupine.  Lupine is a gorgeous wildflower that looks great in bunches, especially when placed in front of the Teton Range. ;)

I knew we would come across several good plants so I wanted to capture a macro image of it that I would be proud of.  I think this one was my favorite.  I liked the composition of this image as well as the blurred background I was able to get using the F/5.6 aperture.  The morning dew still on the flowers just added to the number of reasons I liked this one.

Image captured with my Sony A7R, Metabones Adapter and Tamron SP 90mm Di 1:1 Macro Lens.  I had this rig mounted atop my Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Tripod with BBH-200 Ballhead.