Garden Spider

Critters, Macro, Photography Tips 3 Comments »

I believe this big spider is referred to as a Yellow Garden Spider.  Found on a Holly bush on my front porch.

Photography Tip: I shoot most of my macros with a Tamron 90mm f/2.8.  However, if you are interested in shooting close-ups, but would like to try a less expensive route, then you might want to get a reversing ring for your 50mm lens.

The above shot was done with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens and a BR-2A reversing ring.  The lens attaches to the ring (where a filter normally goes) and then the ring mounts on the camera, making the lens backwards.  This gives you about 1:1.1 magnification for approximately $150 total (lens plus the ring).  There are some downsides though…

You must manually adjust your aperture, and there is also a fixed focal point.  So in order to focus you must physically move the camera closer or farther from the subject, making focusing difficult with an obvious very narrow depth of field.  Finally, you must also get very close to your subject.  In the above photo, I was just a couple inches from the spider…  the image has not been cropped.

Dogwood Abstract

Abstract, Photography Tips 13 Comments »

I thought I’d try something abstract, but I’m not sure if I like the result or not.  I get a little dizzy if I look at it too long.  :-)  Regardless, I felt it was interesting and fun to shoot, so I posted it.

Here’s how I took the shot:

I was standing directly underneath a Dogwood tree.  It was a sunny day, and I knew I had to get a slower shutter speed to achieve the results, so I put a neutral density filter on my lens to reduce some light.  I then closed the aperture down to f/29.0 to cut off even more light.  I shot in manual mode, and when I metered I was able to get a correct exposure at 1/15 second shutter speed.  I would have liked something even slower, but I went with this setting.  I pointed the camera looking directly up into the tree, released the shutter, and then gave the camera a quick twist in my hands.

I think I’ll try this effect again this fall when there are more colors in the trees to shoot, and I believe a cloudy day might also give a better result.

Photo details: Nikon D80, Nikon 18-200mmVR lens @ 34mm, f/29.0, 1/15 sec. shutter, 100 ISO.  Shot with a neutral density filter.

Merry Christmas!

Abstract, Objects, Photography Tips No Comments »

Photography Tip: I learned this effect from my friend Mark Peacock.  It is simply a shot of my Christmas tree taken out of focus.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Photo details: Nikon D80, Nikon 50mm prime lens, f/1.8, 1/40 sec., 400 ISO.   Set focus on manual and adjust out of focus.

Christmas Ornaments

LIght Box, Objects, Photography Tips 65 Comments »

Photography Tip: To get the pure white background on these ornaments I used a homemade Light Box (also called a White Box).  I constructed it entirely from inexpensive materials around the house.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a cardboard box (preferably no less than 12″x12″x12″, and cut off two of the opening flaps leaving the other two “doors”.
  2. Now cut out three sides of the box, only leaving a couple of inches of cardboard frame.  See photo.
  3. Next find some tissue wrapping paper and duct tape, and tape the tissue over the three sides you just cut out.  I used two layers of tissue.
  4. For the lights I used studio strobes, but plain ole shop lights or desk lamps would do the trick,  Simply move them in closer or farther away to get your desired lighting levels.  You’ll also probably need to use the flash on your camera.
  5. Now cut out a piece of white poster board to fit, and bend it into the back and bottom of the box to create a seamless background.  If you want to get creative with colors, you can use different colored poster board or even different colored tissue.
  6. That’s it!  Your done.

Photo details: Nikon D80, Nikon 505mm prime lens, f/9.0, 1/100 sec., 100 ISO.  Shot in light box with 3 strobes and built-in camera flash.