First Macro Shots

Alstroemeria flowers
My new macro lens arrived today. I would say that I was like a kid on Christmas, except that I am notorious among friends and family for carefully unwrapping any gift I receive so as to not tear the paper so I can save it.

The very, very first shot I took was of my router. Not that interesting. I deleted it. The Alstroemeria is the second macro shot I took. One of our next-door neighbors was coming home, and she had a bouquet in her arms. The other shots are from my backyard.

Itea "Little Henry"
Itea "“Little Henry”"

Ilex verticillata, Winterberry (female)
Ilex verticillata (female)

Nepeta calamintha, Catmint "Walker's Low"
Nepeta calamintha "“Walker's Low”"

Note the bonus ant in the above photo!

Hydrangea flower
Hydrangea flower

This lens will take some getting used to before I can select and frame my subjects effectively. It's a long lens, 105mm (digital, logner equivalent 35mm), so the depth-of-field is compressed. The advantage is that the combination of long focal length and closest focusing distance of 1 foot can provide 1:1 reproduction ratios: life-size images captured in the camera, which are much larger than life when enlarged. For example, here's a 1:1 photo of text from the second paragraph of this post:


Besides shallow depth-of-field, the other disadvantage of a long focal length is increased sensitivity to camera shake. This macro lens also has built-in image stabilization, which counteracts shake by a factor of 2 or more.

I'm really interested in trying out this new lens for insect photography. The lens can focus out to infinity, so I can increase the depth-of-field by shooting from a greater distance. Here's an example of that in the last shot I took today: leaves from the mystery Ligularia I bought at the Chelsea Garden Center two Saturdays ago.

Ligularia leaves
Ligularia leaves

These leaves are exceptionally ruffled. Although much of each leaf is still not in focus, the overall image accurately conveys the texture and depth of the leaves. This is my favorite of the dozen or so shots I took today with my new toy. I'm looking forward to having more play time with it.


breukelyn said...

I just discovered Liberty Sunset Garden Center, which is just to the right of Fairway on the next Pier, and it was amazing. i was saddened that i had spent so much money at other places, like Gowanus and Chelsea, when i discovered the third option....check it out.

They were super friendly to me, but not annoyingly so and they have an amazing selection...much better than Chelsea, which i agree with you is mostly the basic woody plants. Their annuals were disappointing. I have liked patronizing Gowanus, but I've had a hard time hitting it off with the people that work there, except for Julia, who's *GREAT*, nor have i like their prices.

Also, Liberty Sunset is on a pier overlooking NY Harbor so its an awesome view and great experience. I was excited by their water garden plants.

i know it sounds like i work there or the owners are my parents or something...their not...but i've been spending a lot of time getting into gardening since we moved here from the east village a few years ago and liberty sunset was the experience i'd been looking for all this time.

Xris said...

We drove past Pier 41, but our car was already smoking at the end of a long day. I hope to get back there again soon.

matt said...


Your first macro shots are beautiful - I have a feeling that there are many more great shots to come. I wanted to tell you that I put up a link and a small intro for the BBG Flickr group over on apartmenttherapy.com this weekend. I think you and your contributors capture the spirit of the park beautifully. Didn't have an e-mail for you or the group so hope you don't mind me just posting to your blog!



Xris said...

matt: Yes, the PlantTherapy post came up on my Google Alerts. Thanks for highlighting all the great photography people contribute to the group. Your observation captured its spirit: "a labor of love, showing the energy of plants and the community they foster."

Ki said...

Macro lenses are wonderful. I only have a point and shoot but I found a great add on macro lens from Raynox. It's kind of a funky set up with a clip on lens but it works well and is relatively cheap. I also tried the reverse lens macro setup but it give too much magnification and too small a lens to subject distance, something on the order of 2 or 3 inches if I remember correctly. The great thing about macros is that it makes you see things not normally available with the naked eye, i.e. hair coming out of bugs eyes, how hairy the legs are, that compound eyes can have stripes in them, or even seeing the individual grains of pollen. Have fun with your new toy!