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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Closer Look

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f5.6)

I am a senior citizen. There are some advantages of being a senior. I get a discount at many places to eat and other businesses. People excuse me when I talk to myself. They forgive me when I lose my way. I try to take advantage of as many senior benefits as I can. For instance, a nearby senior Citizen center offered a free macro class to anyone that was interested.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f3/2)

You probably already know that I love macro photography. I love the details and shapes that are revealed through close-up photography. Even thought I already take macro pictures, there were several reasons I was interested in the class: (1) it was free, (2) it was a chance to spend a beautiful day in a beautiful botanical garden, (3) I would be with a group of like-minded seniors, (4) I would be spending time with my sister and sister-in-law doing what we enjoy, and (5) there is always something that I can learn.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

The bad things about the class were (1) the wind was blowing, (2) the flowers were covered in pollen that makes one sneeze, (3) my tripod would not hold my camera steady (I have since solved that problem), and (4) my eyesight is not very good anymore (that comes with age, too.) For the life of me I can’t figure out how to manually focus when my eyesight is not good!  Yes, I know about the diopter on the camera, but when your eyesight is bad and you have blurry spots, that doesn’t seem to work. I fought with it all day. Any ideas on this problem, please pass them to me. I need help!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f208)

This was my first “in person” class. All the other photography classes I’ve taken have been online. When we arrived at the garden we divided into three groups lead by professional photographers. The leader of my group asked what we’d like to accomplish. I mentioned that I wanted to work on creating a creamy, soft background. As we walked through the gardens he found different situations that would create that effect, pointed them out to me, and helped me get the picture.


 
(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

I have a confession to make. Probably 95% of the macro pictures I post are taken with a Fuji point and shoot camera, not my big camera. It’s just easier for me. My hand trembles slightly when I hold a big camera (more effects of age) and I can’t stand a tripod. We did take our tripods on this photo shoot and I did use it, but I still don’t like it. I’m just too spontaneous!  I don’t want to take the time to set everything up. Maybe it’s not spontaneity, maybe it’s impatience!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

Back to my point and shoot camera. It has a quick shutter speed, a great macro focus, and it fits in my pocket. The drawbacks are that the lowest aperture is three so you can't get those dreamy backgrounds and you can’t  get extremely close. I sometimes have crop to get what I want. That’s fine if I’m just using the image on the computer, but not so fine if I want to print it. I used to be embarrassed that I used a point and shoot for macro photos, but not anymore. I finally realized it’s not about the equipment or even my head knowledge. It’s about capturing what I see and what makes me happy.

I do want to learn to use my big camera and my macro lens with better results. Since I took the class I’ve taken macro pictures everyday with my big camera. They're still as sharp as I want them. I'm still working on that. The only way I’ll ever improve is to do it over and over.

                                 (Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)                                                         (Fuji FinePix f31 - point and shoot, f5.6)


The macro class was a new and fun experience. I enjoyed observing what others were taking pictures of, but what impressed me most was watching our leader as he walked through the gardens, not stopping to take a picture of every flower, but looking for something that would make a great macro image. I need to follow his example; to take my time, find my subject, to observe the light, and then take the picture.

Just so you know, until I master the big camera, my point and shoot will be in my pocket and used as a backup!  I do want the picture no matter which camera I use!

13 comments:

  1. Cathy, I relate to this post so much. I bought my first Macro lens about a year ago after purchasing the Olympus camera. Prior to that I used an inexpensive snap-on lens on my full sized Sony. I have not been pleased with my macro shots no matter what I use. For one thing, I rarely use the tripod. I know I could probably get more crisp shots with it, but it's just too much for me to lug around. I do mostly outdoor shots, so I'm walking - taking too much equipment just doesn't work at my age. I do use the macro lens for shots to Infinity - it's a 60 mm, and it makes good images. I'm just not proficient when I set it to Macro! I like seeing what you produced here - I especially like the tulip and the lilac. Good luck as you keep practicing. I love the shots your Fuji produces too.

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  2. Good for you, your first real life class. I have been doing more manual focusing using live view on my screen it has been great.

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  3. This is wonderful, Cathy! It's been years since I've done an in-person photography class. All of your photos are beautiful and you're right - it's not the equipment, it's the photographer. But you've got to admit, those dreamy, creamy backgrounds are, well, dreamy.

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  4. I bought my first autofocus camera about 25 years ago, when I was in my early 40's. I'd had cataract surgery already by then (both eyes) and was missing too many shots because I just couldn't focus well enough. With changes over the years my vision is actually better now, but I still love and depend on autofocus. A macro lens has been on my wish list for many years. I don't know if it will ever make it from the list onto my camera! And like you, I have a point and shoot that I use sometimes. I also use my phone camera a lot. No need to apologize for it. As the saying goes, it's the photographer, not the camera, that makes the image. And these are beautiful, by the way! I'd love to find a class like that.

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  5. Your first paragraph about being a Senior Cit. made me smile so big. I take advantage of all this age bracket bestows on my too. Your class sounds like it was made for you and you had fun I see from your lovely images. Thanks for the smile today.

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  6. we are "vintage"...we are better than we have ever been and will never again be as "young" as we are today. one thing i adore about being vintage, is i never have to rush, never!! enough said!!!!

    i use my nikon like a point and shoot, i have never taken a class about photography, and i have never edited a picture, i don't know how to don't want to learn.....i just want to have fun. we all define fun differently, it's whatever floats your boat, right!!! i'm not a photographer, i'm a girl who likes to take pictures!!! with that said, (all of that) your images are beautiful, i think the purple tulip was my favorite (wink)!!!!!

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  7. and the lilacs, they are gorgeous and a childhood favorite!!!!

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  8. You got so really great shots. I had a great time also. I learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. Your second shot was my favorite. I need to be more dedicated. I need to practice every day like you do.

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  9. Cathy, how wonderful to find a free macro class for senior citizens! Wish they had those here! You've captured some charming shots. I like the flower head lying on the stones and love the snapdragons (gorgeous colour) and the lilac. All beautiful. I agree with you about tripods: cumbersome and long to set up!

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  10. Oh my that Lilac image at the end was as you said, "Dreamy!" - What fun to be able to take a class like that. Wish I could find one here to take.

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  11. Hi Cathy ... I so enjoyed reading this post - and I think your photos are amazing! I especially love the purple and yellow tulip, it's absolutely outstanding. One of the things I want to do this year is take a one-on-one class with a photographer ... this has made me more determined than ever to just do it.

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  12. Cathy, this post really resonated as I am a senior too, with shaky hand and blurred eyesight. It does present challenges in photography.
    Like you, I rely more on my point and shoot than on my big camera. It sounds like an interesting class -- you certainly got great results!
    I love that two tone tulip!

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  13. That macro class has payed off...WOW these are amazing

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Thanks so much for stopping by!!