Ladybug (Known as “Ladybirds” in Britain, according to wikipedia – you crazy Brits!) are actually a beetle of the Coccinellidae family for all you bug science nerds. I only know this because I just looked it up on the internet just now – thank you Al Gore. Anyhow, my wife has a very personal connection going on with this particular vine growing on a fence here, and also has a very personal connection lately with ladybugs. It would make sense if I explained but that’s for her to reveal, not my place. Suffice it to say, when ladybugs appeared all over THE vine on Saturday morning it was a big deal. I was instructed to “get a photo”.
I’m not an insect photographer, or even a macro photographer, but I did the best I could. I discovered two things….lady bugs are small…..and working with incredibly shallow depth of fields is a challenge. I was going handheld, next time I should use a tripod. I came away with a couple hundred frames, of which about ten or so were keepers. We liked this one because it shows a ladybug and the vine in context together. I salute all you insect specialists, it isn’t the easiest photography is it? Ladybugs are probably about the easiest to shoot, they don’t move around very much, for which I am thankful. I used my Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 zoom with my Canon magnifier lens thing threaded onto the front for this exercise.
Bringing a little color back to the blog. So there’s a post Valentine’s day vase full of roses sitting around here…what’s a guy to do? Bring out the tripod and penlight for a little flower light painting of course. This was taken at 200mm using my Canon screw-on magnifying close up lens attachment, on my Sigma zoom, on my Nikon camera. I try not to get bogged down by brand loyalty. This was about a three second exposure at ISO 200 with a weak penlight. The light must be weak for you to have any time to manipulate it. Next time I might try dropping the ISO on the camera to one of the special lower settings.
This Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale for the scientifically inclined) is ready to unleash it’s progeny. The parachute seeds will colonize the area where the wind deposits them. While this weed is the scourge of lawn care, it’s beautiful seed heads are fascinating. Complexity and symmetry all rolled up into one nearly perfect sphere. I shot this with my Canon screw-on close up lens, the depth of field is very shallow so the outer part of the sphere went soft.
Scientifically speaking, as most of you probably know, Spring has officially arrived here in the northern hemisphere. In honor of this, I found an image from a few years ago, some tiny blossoms on one of my trees. I am by no means a macro or flower expert, but I thought this one looked pretty good. As I recall, I was fooling around with my Canon screw-on magnifying lens on my 70-200mm zoom. I’m fairly certain a true macro lens would make things easier, however the Canon magnifier does work quite well for the occasional use. Happy Spring.
I did a little experimenting with light painting again last night. A flower closeup, courtesy of my Canon close up lens on my Sigma 70-200mm lens. Shot at ISO 400 at f/11 for 7.1 seconds. During that time I was painting the flower with a little weak penlight, including some light from behind. I thought it turned out fairly interesting, especially the yellow “nucleus”. For anybody wanting to try something similar, I find that you really do need a weak penlight, one of those more modern LED blazing models is too bright, the exposure will be too short to do anything creative, even at a low ISO. Of course, your mileage may differ.