Our WCTC Macro Photography class took a field trip to the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee. It is an interesting place for plant photography with its Tropical, Desert and Floral Show Dome. Currently the desert dome is closed for renovation.
The domes are like large greenhouses where on a sunny day there could be harsh lighting with many areas of shaded lighting. A reflector came in very handy. I had never used one before this class. You can get one on Amazon fairly cheaply. I bought a 22” reflector just because the smaller one is easier to handle and works well for macro photography. They have 5 options to provide different lighting effects and it folds down into a small round case.
I used the silver side to reflect sunlight onto the shadier plants. It worked great. You can see the difference in detail and iridescence of the flower. The lighting fills in the shady spots. It can make the difference between a good and great picture.
Without ReflectorInconsistent lighting
I started out using my camera’s AV mode with ISO100 and f14. Handheld shots were more difficult so the instructor suggested increasing the ISO to 400.
Whenever possible I used a tripod. It was difficult to hand-hold the camera steady enough for focused shots. But there were areas where a tripod wasn’t practical.
I found I needed a small tripod to get close to plants near the floor where a normal tripod typically couldn’t be used. So off to Amazon. We’ll see how the new little tripod works out.
Table-top TripodWe'll see how it works out!
Selection of Shots and Post-Processing
The beauty of of digital photography is you can take many, many shots of each item. I look through the shots and select the best, and then from those I refine the selection further. On my final selections, I then do post-processing in Photoshop. I try not to alter the photos too much from their original appearance, but I usually adjust Levels and Saturation. I find using Curves is very helpful to bring back washed out details.
Before Post-ProcessingColor slightly washed out and photo lacks contrast
The final step is displaying the photos in a pleasing format. The class syllabus directs us to create a collage. Here are the two collages that I put together.
Collage 1Created in Photoshop Collage 2Created in Photoshop