Tag Archives: Australia

Macro Photography Without a Macro Lens

It has been a long time since I shot a macro image, and in all honesty, I am not a great macro photographer.

In 2017, I sold my macro lens, as I was making changes to my gear lineup, and it was a lens that was rarely used, and did not really suit my wants or needs any more.

However, occasionally arises an opportunity to shoot a pleasing macro image.

Late yesterday afternoon when we were outside in the rear yard, I noticed some appealing water droplets on the garden nasturtium.

The weather lately has been cold, wet, foggy and rainy, and this morning, the glimmer of the water droplets on the leaves presented an opportunity that I did not want to miss.

It can be hard to motivate oneself to pursue photography sometimes, but in this case, the effort level required was minimal.

The problem, however, is that I wanted to shoot a macro image, but I do not have a macro lens.

Despite that, I captured this image:

Morning Dew

Morning Dew

It is not a true macro image, but it is decent enough and pleasing to me.

So, how did I capture this image?

Firstly, I selected my Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens.  This is an outstanding telephoto lens I have had for nearly 14 years.  It is tack-sharp, and it has a short minimum focus distance of around 90cm, which makes it ideal for frame-filling images.

It is certainly not a macro lens, but its moderate telephoto focal length, short minimum focus distance and the fact that it is compatible with Canon’s telephoto extenders meant that I could attach it to my Canon Extender EF 2x II to increase the focal length to 270mm and shoot from a close distance relative to that focal length.

While I would have preferred to use an actual macro lens, I was still able to achieve a pleasing image, in which the composition allowed me to depict not only the main water droplet which served as the focal point, but also the surrounding water droplets, which added to the story and created interest beyond just the largest water droplet.

Inspiration does not come along very often; but today it did, and I improvised with my existing equipment, which was sufficient to create a pleasing semi-macro image without having access to an actual macro lens.

Inspiration combined with improvisation can yield pleasing images.

Third Visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park

Welcome to 2020.

Early into the year, we made a third visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, this time with some family members who had come to visit and stay with us for a few weeks.  It was their first time to the park, and they enjoyed it immensely.

On previous visits, I have been able to capture some pleasing images of the animals there, and it was no different this time.

On this visit, the sky was nice and overcast, which made for very pleasing shooting conditions, as the light was soft and even, and there were no harsh highlights or glary conditions with which to contend.

When first entering the park, one is greeted with the red-necked pademelons, amongst other marsupials.  These little critters are very cute, and I took the opportunity to pet and feed them, as well as photograph them.

Cute Critter

Cute Critter

Early into this visit, a striking and richly coloured golden pheasant was perched in a good location, so I captured numerous images of this bird, which is adorned with intense red, blue and yellow plumage.

Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant

Because we arrived at Featherdale Wildlife Park when it opened for the day, being able to shoot in the lower, overcast light in the early morning required much higher ISO ratings than usual.

Nothing screams cuteness more than a koala, one of Australia‘s unique animals.

Koala Cuteness

Koala Cuteness

Sadly, during the horrific Australian bushfires in the summer of 20192020, many wild koalas perished, and the population has shrunk to dangerously low levels.

This little creature is fortunate, in that he lives in Featherdale Wildlife Park, and does not have to contend with bushfires and drought.

Every time we visit, I always take the opportunity to photograph the penguins.

It is always a challenging exercise, as penguins tend to be highly active, and often flock together, so isolating one bird for a clean portrait is a game of patience and quick reaction once the moment is right.

Portrait of a Little Penguin

Portrait of a Little Penguin

There are many more animals to see and photograph at Featherdale Wildlife Park, and I am sure we will visit again.

Magical Light in Perth

Looking back, I have unfortunately neglected to write much here for the second half of 2018. Photographically, 2018 was not a big year.

However, 2019 started off very nicely with a trip to Western Australia, in which we were based in Perth.

This was a first-time experience, and naturally, I had a list of subjects and places I wanted to photograph.

In our short time, I did not capture all of the images I wanted to captured, but I did tick a few off the list, and came away with some rare images.

On our second day, we did some tourist activities in the city, one of which was a visit to Kings Park.  It was one of the locations on my list.  In fact, for that day, I had planned to shoot Elizabeth Quay at twilight; but I also wanted to shoot the war memorial in Kings Park at golden hour, followed by a cityscape at twilight.

Kings Park offers sublime elevated views of Perth, and may just be the only major Australian city which offers an elevated view from a publicly accessible place.

After our first visit of that day to Kings Park, I changed my mind about the plan, and decided that we should return and execute the photography plan there on that day.

As the afternoon wore on, the cloud increased, and the light became very glary, flat and dull.  My hopes for golden hour were fading, but I figured we would stick around anyway, as there was still the potential for a moody twilight.

Late in the afternoon — actually, technically evening — some golden light started to appear on the buildings across the water.

I set up my rig and played the waiting game.

Within a matter of minutes, the light started getting interesting, and before too long, there was an amazing glow of golden light on buildings.

This is what I saw:

Gold Rush

Gold Rush

Despite the horrible cloudy sky, the cloud in the west had not completely obscured the sun, and as a result, some intense light struck the city.

The combination of a darker, cloud-laden sky in the east as the intense warmth of the sun shone through from the west, made for an amazing sight.

The next image I captured showed a blend of golden light, plus the beginning of the more intense warm colours as the sun inched its way closer to the horizon.

Picture-Perfect Perth

Picture-Perfect Perth

Later, just after sunset, the light became really interesting.  A glow of pinks, purples and reds immersed the entire city in intensely rich light.

I was in paradise.  This was the spectacle which had unfolded:

Best of the West

Best of the West

Light like this is so rare.  It really is the stuff of postcards.  I have only seen conditions like this on a few occasions, and rarely am I in the right place at the right time.

On this day, I was, and I captured the magnificence of light which is not only amazing in a photographic image, but exceedingly pleasant to watch with one’s own eyes.

A little while later, this magical pink glow gave way to the onset of twilight, and I completed the sequence of images.

Here is the result:

Perth by Night

Perth by Night

What a magical afternoon for photography.

Earlier in the afternoon, the conditions looked decidedly atrocious, and if we were somewhere else and not already committed to the shoot, I would have likely decided not to bother, because the light was terrible.

What I did not know was that it was a blessing in disguise.  The conditions were ideal; I just did not know it at the time, as we had restricted visibility of the western sky from where we were positioned.

In one session, the sky went from dull grey to intensely golden, and then to intensely pink and red, followed by gold and blue as evening fell.

What a shoot.  Conditions like this are rare, but this was the one occasion on which the big fish did not get away.