August 13, 2016
I recently bought a new camera (Sony A7Rii) and a couple of nice lenses: Sony FE 24-240 and a Sony 90mm Macro G. I bought the new gear because I wanted some nice lenses. Sony is moving from the A-mount (my old camera ) to the E-mount; as a result there just aren’t as many good choices for lenses for the older mount. I wanted a macro lens to take cooking pictures. The full frame camera will be nice to take landscape photos like the ones I took here at Long Beach and Mt St Helens, Washington.
My good friend Herb takes really, really great flower photos. Sometimes he uses a macro lens and sometimes not. He is an inspiration to much of my photography but I’m not trying to compete with him here – I just wanted to test out the capabilities of my macro lens. Our flower garden was in full bloom in mid August so it seemed like a perfect opportunity.
Here is an overview. Carla works on the garden from early spring into the fall. It’s beautiful to drive home and see this every day in season.
To get an idea of how the macro lens works, I for as shallow a depth of field as I could get. I worked to get a shallow depth of focus. I had to back of this flower in order to get more of it in focus – it was shot at f/8.0. I tried some at wider apertures but would get only part of a pedal in focus. At f/8.0 I still got good softness in the background plants.
In this shot I like the red flower in the foreground playing against the yellow flowers in the background. This was taken at f/2.8 and you can see that the stem, just a little behind the pedals, is in soft focus.
Carla planted roses this year for the first time. She’s been hesitant because they can be temperamental; but Dianne, Herb’s wife, good friend, and gardener extraordinaire encouraged Carla. This was taken at f/4.5
And the very beginning of a bud -taken at f/8.0. At this narrower aperture more of the plant is in focus.
Then I worked on capturing this flower in extreme close-up. Even at f/16 not all of the flower is in focus, but you can see little fibers on top. At the lower apertures just part of a pedal would be in focus. I wanted to capture the stamens in the middle as the focal point but my hands were too jittery at that close distance.
I later discovered that Sony has apps for the iOS and Android that allow you to bring up the picture on your phone before you click the shutter; then you can touch the screen at the exact spot that should be in focus. That would have been perfect here. Of course to get the most of this, I would have needed to mount the camera on a tripod. Herb told me about this capability with his Nikon – I didn’t really “get it” until I saw the use of the feature. Of course on a bright day, the sunlight might wash out the iPhone screen.
At any rate, I got to capture the beauty of Carla’s garden and learn a bit more about how to use my camera and macro lens. I hope to be able to transfer this knowledge indoors with my cooking. Stay tuned.