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 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.

Dining Room Macro Session

So, I spent some time this afternoon trying to make a video of how I do these macro shots on my dining room table.  The video's looked pretty good, but had no sound.  So, since I know nothing about video...I guess it was a lost cause.


Anyway, I did come away with a few shots that I can use here as an example of how I can create different images by adjusting the lighting.  

I am using a small, LED, video light to light most of my macro images.  Sometimes I hold the light in place and snap the photo and other times I place the camera in manual mode with a shutter speed of a few seconds and paint the light where I want it to be.  Moving the light and altering the angle of the light greatly effects the final image.

Let's take the below images as examples.

In the above image, I am simply holding the light in my hand, off to the left of camera.  You can actually see the reflection of the light in my "water drop", which is actually Karo Syrup.  

Now, in this image I have set a longer shutter speed and tried to backlight the front petals while quickly hitting the front side of the flower with the light to show a little detail there, too.  Essentially, painting with the light...like I mentioned before.

Both of these images are the exact same composition.  They were both shot at F/16 and ISO 100 with the later having a longer shutter speed allowing me to paint the light on,

You can see what a dramatic difference moving the lighting has created.  

While I really like the backlit image above, I really think this backlighting works out fantastic for images you plan to create as black & white.  In the image below I have used Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 and converted it to black & white.  

Again, same composition and settings, this one was just converted to black & white.  Maybe I will have time to try this video thing again in the near future for you to see the process.  I may have to consult with a professional, though.

OnOne Perfect Effects 4

Over the Independence Day Week, OnOne ran a sale on their Perfect Photo Suite 7.5 Collection.   Since it was half price, I decided to buy it and give it a go.  Being a fan of Nik's suite and the Topaz Bundle, OnOne has pretty big shoes to fill.

Well, as it turns out, OnOne has some very nice presets in their programs.  The only program I really tried out was the Perfect Effects 4.  The nice thing Lightroom Users will like, is the interface is very, very similar to Lightroom in design.  Another thing you may like, is the software works with Lightroom, independent of Photoshop.   For those of you not wanting to adopt the new "creative cloud", this could be a very effective option for you.  

This shot was a macro shot of a rose taken with my Canon 5D Mk II and Tamron 90mm F/2.8 Di 1:1 Lens.  The settings were ISO 100, F/32 and 1.6 seconds.  I used a handheld led light for the lighting, which I often use for macro work.  It's this one.

Other than typical Lightroom settings (i.e. contrast, sharpening), all I did to this was apply the "grunge" preset in the Perfect Effects 4 program.  It turned out pretty cool.  I think I'm going to like this OnOne Suite pretty well...but I'm still keeping my Nik and Topaz ;).