One of my favourite things to shoot with my trusty macro lens is plants and flowers. The depth of field you can get with a nice flower is just unbelievable, and it takes this small bit of nature and brings it up to a scale where we can appreciate it.
The biggest thing I love about a macro lens is the way you can make something that is relatively small seem to come alive with the scale it deserves. Here, I had to make very sure the wind wasn’t picking up, as I was just a few inches from these flowers, and the occasional gust was really messing me up. But what you can do that’s so cool is bring particular features into focus while letting some of the background drop back into obscurity.
Take this hyacinth, for example. I could have brought any part of it I wanted into focus, but I really wanted the subtle stripes on the petals, so I took the flower closest to me and put the petal portion into focus. On other flowers, like tulips, you can do the same thing to make either the pedals or the flower’s innards come into focus. There are a ton of possibilities.
Another thing to consider is your lighting. I wanted my tulip here to look really dramatic, something it rather fails to do sitting next to my driveway as it does. But by having the light come from the side this way, and with the focus every so slightly softened, I got an effect I’m really proud of. Though I think from this angle it looks like it should be the size of a basketball.
Another thing to remember with your flowers is that the leaves can be just as pretty as the blossoms. Here I caught a flower the morning after some light rain, and this drop was still pooled on it. Again, macro lenses are great for adding a bit of drama to the everyday bits of life.
So head on out and see what of nature’s beauty you can capture. Just try not to get kicked out of your local home and garden center along the way!
Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch more tipsters in the Macro-Land series next time with Playing with Light.