Jun. 12, 2017

snow squarestem, Melanthera nivea

Here's an imperfect example to illustrate today's point about focus. You can see that the closest flowers are not in focus. Getting a sharp image, front to back in a closeup is tricky. Here's where we have to talk about that technical stuff; apertures, depth of field, exposure, and ISO. The size of the shutter aperture is key. The smaller the aperture, the greater the focus depth. I routinely keep my camera set on aperture priority and on 16. I also keep it programed to shoot three shots of everything; one the way the camera computes the exposure, and one each a speed over and under exposed. Learning this process can be hard, particularly if you're a guy, because you have to read the manual. Using small apertures leads to a cascade of other issues. It means you're getting less light, so you have longer exposures. It's imperative that the camera be still while this happens. Tripods and remote shutter release are often helpful. ISO settings determine how fast your camera records the image. If left to its own devices it will often chose a faster ISO. But this can lead to grainy and therefore less sharp images. I keep mine set on the longest speed, 100. But this of course takes us back to shutter speed and the need for a steady camera. All of this gets easier the more light you have. Using flash helps, but impacts what you do with all the other considerations. And you will want to bracket your flash intensity, just like you do your exposure. Maybe the key is your exposure, to the complexities of this process (practice, and then practice), and to your camera manual! Snow squarestem flower heads are about 2/3 inch across, and grow in AL, FL, GA, IL(E), KY(S), LA, MS, SC, and TN. Taylor Co FL, 10/20/15.