Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hocking Hills wildflowers

I thought I took tons and tons of wildflower pictures during Shoot the Hills, but in reality I took very few. Or maybe I should say: very few that were different from each other. I often stayed with the same flower for a long time, trying different angles and different exposure compensation. Unfortunately, I was not too thrilled with the composition on most of them, so that's something for me to work on in the future!

Some of you may be thinking, "Don't be so hard on yourself!" I don't see it as being hard on myself, but more as going through a learning process and knowing that I can get more from my images than I sometimes end up with. It's frustrating when you have an idea of what you want to capture, but you don't quite get it. What to do about it? Keep trying!

Anyway, enough babbling about what goes on in my head when I'm taking pictures. Here are some of the results!

Trout Lily

(All of these Trout Lily photos are shown as they were taken - no manipulations were made)

Round-lobed Hepatica (made monochrome in Picasa)

Round-lobed Hepatica (saturation and sharpness boosted in Picasa)

dew-drenched Dutchman's Breeches leaves (made monochrome in Picasa)

Dutchman's Breeches

Squirrel Corn
(I'm not making these names up folks, they are really the flowers' names)

A few technical notes on how I got such close shots of the flowers. While I dream of someday owning a true macro lens (as well as 300 or 400mm zoom lens, a fisheye lens... the list could go on and on!), I can tell you they are not cheap. Macro can be done slightly cheaper by getting diopter lenses, but even here there is an expensive option and a cheap option. (Here's a link to a helpful article spelling out the differences between the cheap and not as cheap.) Since the cheap option was SO cheap (less than $30 for a set of 3 close-up filters of 3 different strengths that can be used singly or stacked together), I figured "Hey, it can't hurt to try." And so I did. For the most part, I am happy with these little filters, but I am still getting used to what they can and can't do.

All of these close-up flower shots were taken with my 18-55mm lens with the +2 and +4 filters attached. Here's another little lens tidbit. I only just learned (like within the last month) that my 18-55mm lens (which is the widest angle lens I own) actually has a closer focusing distance to objects than my "telephoto" zoom lens (55-200mm). I've had this camera for 3 years, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I just learned this information. Before I learned this info, the telephoto lens was my favorite lens, but I was always frustrated by how far back I had to get from an object (over 12", I believe) before the camera/lens would get in focus. Not a plus for flower photography. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to taking closer shots of flowers with my "shorter" lens and with the close-up filters attached.

My next post will be my 150th post - a bit of a milestone, I think. I want to share my waterfall shots from the Hocking Hills, which will wrap up my "report" on Shoot the Hills, but I'm also dying to tell you all about the deluge of migrating birds that have showed up on or near our property this weekend....! (My yard list for the month of April is over in the sidebar if you want to get an idea of what I'm talking about.) I think I need to toss a coin to decide!


Shellmo said...

Beautiful series - I love these macro shots! I'm not so good at them!

Kelly said...

Ack!! You have a Cerulean Warbler in your yard!!! You lucky duck. Protect it well. I read a while back that they nest in Hocking Hills and Shawnee. Keep us posted on your Cerulean sightings.

Your wildflower photos are beautiful and thanks for the info. I want a macro lens also, but maybe I should try your filters. I especially love the black and white version of the Round-lobed Hepatica. Also...congrats on your upcoming 150!! That's awesome...

Julia said...

I have problems getting focused like this. Good job!

*I Donated to Cornell Ornithology!*

Heather said...

Shelley - Thank you! I'm a macro freak - one of my favorite ways to shoot!

Kelly - Yes, a Cerulean in our woods. It's amazing, and I feel so fortunate to have it here. They also nest at Lake Hope (or so I have been told by the naturalist there!) I will do everything in my power to protect them and the land they chose to use!

Julia - Hello, and thank you for stopping by. I actually used auto focus on all of these shots, so the camera did all the work there!