Day 272 – Morning Dew Bokeh

At the weekend I shared some photos of some experiments on my lawn with a reflector. I also spend some time capturing the dew drops, and felt that I wanted to share those in a separate blog post.

Today’s set up:

  • Canon 100mm macro lens
  • Tripod – with the centre pool reversed and the camera hung underneath
  • A shutter release cable
  • A reflector

I wanted to practice my focusing for macro – I don’t seem to always focus as sharp as I know i should be able to … so the dew drops would provide an opportunity to experiment.

ISO100, F3.5, 1/125 - My starting point.
ISO100, F3.5, 1/125 – My starting point.

Above you can see a shallow line of grass. only a small area is in focus as I choose a shallow depth of field, but there are dark autumn leaves in the background causing a distraction and the details in the drops are just not sharp enough.

Amazing Bokeh on my lawn - ISO100, F3.5, 1/1000sec
Amazing Bokeh on my lawn – ISO100, F3.5, 1/1000sec

Changing where I focus though – I can create an amazing totally different effect – there are one or two lengths of grass in focus this time, but I have deliberately altered the focus to capture the bokeh – this to me actually makes an amazing texture and almost abstract image.

Reflection on my house. ISO10, F3.5, 1/100 sec1
Reflection on my house. ISO10, F3.5, 1/100 sec

With the macro lens though it is possible to go closer and select the detail, here I focused in on one droplet – choose a shallow depth of field and finely tuned my focus point. Someone recently showed me a great tip – use live view to focus, then use the zoom tool and zoom into the detail you want sharp and focus there… back button focus, use off camera shutter release as the smallest vibration can effect the focus and you can get amazing detail sharp in a dew drop!

Depth of View

I decided I would use the focus on one drop concept with a wider view of the lawn… the three photos below are focused on the same dew drop, but I was enjoying the natural bokeh of the sunlight and I wanted to see how depth of field worked with close up macro images – for example yesterday images, i really had not chosen enough depth of image for the detail I wanted in the toadstools … partly due to the closeness I was to the subject.

ISO100, F32, 1/15 sec - same shot again.
ISO100, F32, 1/15 sec – same shot again.

At F32 –  smaller aperture, I have a longer shutter speed but the depth of field is shallower than I anticipated. Interesting the bokeh is more like circles with tiny star bursts…  which is exactly what I noticed when I was taking night photos .. I commented that increasing the shutter speed effect the light, and the star bursts were more obvious with longer shutter speeds. I never realised it effected daylight bokeh too!

Increasing the aperature into sun - same position as above - ISO100, F14, 1/80sec1
Increasing the aperture into sun – same position as above – ISO100, F14, 1/80sec

At F14, I have a shorted shutter speed – a shallower depth of field and my bokeh is now an octagon shape. Hopefully you can see which dew drop I choose to focus on … but here reducing the aperture by 2.3stops – there is a huge difference in the feel of the image… but reduce the aperture again and you get the image below.

This one is taken at the widest aperture my lens offers,F2.8 – 8 stops different. The shutter speed in much quicker, the bokeh is much larger and round, Hopefully you can now see clearly what my point of focus was and how shallow a depth of field this wide aperture can create.

Amaking Bokeh 0 ISO100, F2.8, 1/2000 sec
Amazing Bokeh – ISO100, F2.8, 1/2000 sec

My conclusion…

  • When shooting Macro use a narrow aperture, (F22+),  use live view and magnification to focus in and it makes focusing on the details much easier.
  • A tripod is essential and shutter release, and a reflector is a bonus
  • To take photos is easy… to make photos takes time … I need to put in the time….
  • My lawn needs cutting … but sometimes it is worth letting it grow so I can enjoy autumn morning macro sessions!

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