Saturday, July 25, 2015

Macro Therapy: Getting Creative

In the world of photography, there are very few things that can be more relaxing than nature macro work. There is something soothing about the slow nature of macro. It is not conducive to fast shooting and quick movements. On the contrary, shooting macro often falls apart if you are not entirely present in the moment. There is a sense of magic with macro too. You never know what you are going to get from the same old location you have used dozens of times. You may discover the curl of a new leaf,  a lady bug that decides to stop in for a visit, or a flower bud just moments from opening. Macro can shine a light on the smallest areas and bring out details you would have missed without a little effort on your part. I just received my new Sony 90mm macro yesterday and was chomping at the bit to see what I could find hiding near my home.

The relaxation doesn't stop after capture. Processing the macro images can take on a life of its own. Part of the fun is to see the potential lurking within the pixels of an image. This image is an echinacea bud. It was lost among the full blooms jockeying for my attention in the small garden outside my kitchen window. The green bud was rather uninteresting at first glance. It was uniform in color and the pattern of twisting triangles covered in little hairy edges were not visible without the help of my 90mm macro.

I could see some potential there, though. My mind sorted through various options as I experimented with various effects in my processing programs. The process of finishing a macro image is always relaxing for me. I play and put it away and come back over and over. I declared the image complete with this version:

I was feeling a little 'moody', so I processed the image with a rich black and white conversion and a touch of grain. The files were smooth as butter, but my little bud was calling to me to make it feel a little more film-like. Highlights and shadows separated as I played and the resulting image both fit the subject and my mood at the time. It is a small, visual record of my day and left me feeling refreshed and relaxed. Don't forget to give macro a try if you are needing a new way to experience photography!