Ok, it is now 2021 and time to get my photography skills enhanced. This blog is not a how to or technical photography blog. My goal has been and continues to be the sharing of my photographic journey with other amateur photographers. Since I began this hobby a couple of years ago, I have learned more about the technical side of photography than the artistic side. Initially this was not my plan, but as it turns out, I do enjoy learning the technical skills. Post-Processing can be simple or you can make it complex with all of the digital photo processing software. The combination of camera, lens, aperture, shutter, ISO and more gadgets than you can imagine gives plenty of opportunity for technical adventures.
Having mumbled about all of this technical babble in the last year, I have made my goal for 2021 to attempt to create more beautiful or artistic photos. This will be a challenge because I don’t view my abilities to lie in the artistic plane. But if you don’t try, you can’t succeed, so here we go! My first photo of 2021 is of roses. The technical skill I tried to utilize was focus stacking to create a sharp image. You be the judge and hopefully we will all become better photographers this year! Happy New Year!
My latest photography journey has taken me down the road to explore close-up photography. It has been interesting to try and capture images of different things from a very close perspective. Now I don’t think that photographing insects will be something that will keep me reaching for my camera. It appears that photographing various common objects will be more fun for me. One of the things I enjoy is staging the objects to build a composition. It is also enjoyable experimenting with different angles and lighting on small subjects. I have tried flash, flashlights, sunlight and lamps all with different results.
Most of my close-ups have been taken with a Canon 24-70mm L Lens with a minimum focusing distance of about 12 inches. This has been okay for some photos, but it has been limiting. Recently I purchased some extension tubes and they have made a big difference and cost a lot less than buying a new macro lens! Below are some photos taken with and without the extension tubes along with my elaborate studio setup. I think that you can clearly see how much sharper the photos with the extension tubes are, along with the fountain pen being more prominent in the photo.
No Extension Tube
12mm Extension Tube
20mm Extension Tube
Another aspect of close-up photography that has been a learning experience is getting sharp focus. As you may know, the closer the lens gets to the subject, the narrower the depth of field. This blog is not a how-to blog but a narrative on my photographic journey. Therefore, I don’t stray into giving input on how to do anything, but I do want to record my experiences. I have been viewing YouTube videos on the technique known as Focus Stacking. This has also helped me in my progress in learning Adobe Photoshop. The above two photos taken with the 12 and 20mm extension tubes were composites of about 10 layers each utilizing focus stacking. My goal was to have the foreground sharp and let the background go soft to try and create the illusion of the fountain pen pointing out from the flat surface of the composition book. You can be the judge of the results.
Since this blog is my attempt at documenting my progress as an amateur photographer, I think I can now add some new skills to my repertoire. Hopefully, with more practice my technique with close-up photography and focus stacking will continue to improve. Please come back to visit this blog to follow my photographic journey!