Monday, January 12, 2009

Use the "flower" setting

The "flower" setting is really called "macro" and I think it is universally symbolized as a tulip-like icon.

The point of this feature is to take photos very close to the subject. The result is a narrow depth of field and a different perspective. For my photos I was within a few inches.

My very professional macro studio

As you can see, I don't actually have a mini tripod. Well I do, but I can't find it. But I did have a bunch of food magazines on hand.

The macro setting is one of my favorite features and one of the features you can find on pretty much any camera. I think it is the most under-used feature (along with the timer) on point-and-shoot cameras.

I hate how much it costs to buy some fresh herbs and so I'm starting my own herb garden. We'll soon see how green my thumb is. Tarragon was the first to sprout.

Macro Tarragon 1

I've enhanced these photos by increasing the black and upping the contrast, in Lightroom.

I like this photo below but it shows too much around the subject.
Macro Tarragon 3

So I cropped it to look like this:
Macro Tarragon 4

My process went like this.

1 Get a general idea of what the Tarragon looks like with the macro setting.

2 Get something to prop the camera on since my kitchen doesn't have great light. The shutter was open from 1/20th - 1/6th of a second depending on the photo. (The shutter was automatic so I didn't really adjust it, if I focused on the dark dirt, the camera wanted the shutter to stay open longer because it thinks it is taking a photo of something really dark)

3 Set the timer to 2 seconds (I love the timer options on my camera). Pressing the button, even on a tripod, can cause some camera shake and food magazines are not known for holding a camera perfectly still. Letting the camera wait two seconds and then open the shutter makes sure there is no camera shake.

4 Arrange the herb garden how I want it. I rotated the Tarragon to my liking.

5 Take photos.

6 Make some minor adjustments in Lightroom, crop some.

Anyone can take photos like these.

It took me about 10 minutes.


Teri said...

Thanks so much for this blog. I'm learning a ton and can't wait to start using the macro setting. I love the detailed instructions.

Candice said...

1. Is lightroom a program?
2. I love the picture
3. I never would have thought to use the timer so as not to get camera shake.
4. Everyday Food is my husband's favorite magazine. He has been a reader for three years now.

Neha said...

I love these tips--keep them coming, Dan! I never thought to use the timer to avoid camera shake--that would explain a WHOLE lot of blurry pictures.

Dan said...

Yes Candice, Lightroom is a software program. It's not as expensive as Photoshop and does much of the same things you'll need for photos. Most free programs can do similar things. I'm planning a post in the feature to talk about it.

Tess said...

wow what great photography. I love the photos of the seedlings. I grew up on a farm and every spring we used to put peat pots in water, fill up flats and plant seeds! Hundreds of flats!

Looking at the seedlings I can smell spring in Michigan. Wow!