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In the garden

15th May 2015
he last few days, after getting back from Scotland, the days have had a fair bit of light cloud. The conditions were far from ideal for landscape photography but the soft even light of these days is ideal for flower photography and as the garden is really coming alive now I have spent some time making the most of it.

We have two quite large Clematis Montana, one on the fence next to our neighbours on the right, and the other over the shed and garage to the left. This latter is South facing and so gets the full sun and so is first to bloom. Photographing this is, by comparison with the forget-me-nots quite easy. At six to nine inches tall you have to get down to their level to get the best shots. I took some with a Fuji X-T1 and 60mm macro which for some I was able to hand hold; the gear being very light.

For other shots I used a Canon 5D Mark 3 with their 180mm macro lens. This combination is very heavy and the depth of field so shallow that the slightest movement of me or subject loses the focus so there is no alternative but to use a tripod. This brings its own problems including how do you see to frame the shot? The answer is to use live view; the viewfinder is really not an option at six inches off the deck. First however you have to get the camera this low and make it easy to move a fraction at a time to recompose. Now I don’t possess a macros slide, the camera, or rather the lens foot, goes straight on to the mounting plate on a ball head so rather than have the top post of the tripod horizontal and the tripod legs sticking out and then having to work around house walls, fence panels etc. I opted to keep the legs short and reverse the top section so the camera hung inverted from the centre column; still tricky but the best option in the circumstances.

Next, having been forced to use live view before taking each shot I had to switch off live view so that the mirror lock up could be engaged (for obvious reasons it does not work with live view) and it was important to minimize camera movement from the shutter movement. I’m sure you can see it is not a fast way of working but work slowly and carefully, and in an hour you can make a few excellent shots. Personally I would much rather spend an hour to get one good shot than take 10 minutes and settle for second best.


Clematis Montana



Photo comment By Julie: Hi Bill .. wonderful pictures. Forget-me-not is so photographic. Miss you on Wordpress

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