Nature Photography – Use of Texture and Aperture for sense of place…

Lady slipper w/water drops by Bob Grytten
Lady slipper w/water drops by Bob Grytten

Sometimes, when we get our images into the computer and on the screen – it ain’t always quite what we thought.

Using Shadow, and Separation can imply Depth-of-field and the eye senses pick up on that. But, it’s up to us to do it when we capture the image. That’s why certain lenses and apertures are used.

A long lens can give us an edge on recreating what we see in the field. In this example I used my 300mm lens. If you think that might be beyond you budget, read further. This Nikon 300mmEDIF f/4.5 is an older prime lens that originally cost $800. Today I found one on KEH, for $288, rated excellent in condition.

KEH has a great reputation and a liberal return policy.

The aperture is the next consideration. In this example, we set the aperture at f/4.5. When shooting Aperture Priority, the shutter automatically adjusts to 1/40 sec, the fastest possible shutter speed for available light. We can’t hold the lens steady enough by hand, a tripod is necessary. At largest aperture, the viewfinder shows us to see exactly what the depth of field looks like, Mor DOF is achieved by simply dialing down a little at a time. On This image has varying degrees of sharpness, all the way to the soft background.

Dried Leaf by Bob Grytten
Dried Leaf by Bob Grytten

Our next example incorporates the long lens and small aperture to soften the background, or “Bokeh.” This image was photographed in the field because of the curl in the dried leaf.

To make the curl obvious in the field introduce a little light, to accentuate the shadow. In this case the natural light was sufficient. One could reflect a  little more light with a white piece of paper, or a small flash.

Raya makes a nice 5 in 1 collapsible reflector, a bargain at only $19.95 . It includes White, Silver, Gold, and Black Surfaces. A diffusion panel is also included, nice for cutting back harsh light. Sold at B&H Photo.

If using the small light on the camera think about placing a small piece of cloth or hankie over the flash to soften that light.

Leaf with texture
Leaf with texture

Our next example is a bit different but using harsher light to emphasize the texture.

One last thing. Many lenses have minimum focal distances which don’t allow close focus. Think about an extension tube for getting closer. All these examples used an extension tube to get closer.

Go to Digital Photo Mentor for a complete explanation on Extension Tubes.

The next Field Photography Program begins May 5, 2015 in Waynesville, NC.

Bob says, Thanks!
Bob says, Thanks!

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