Tuesday, October 7, 2008

206/365 Hanging out

Oftentimes, my thoughts on my drive home from work are in the realm of, "Hmm, what do I want to make my photo of the day?"

This was the case last night. And as luck would have it, this katydid was hanging out on the fence right in front of my parking spot at home, like he was waiting for me to arrive.

I ran inside, grabbed my gear and ran back outside to capture him before he decided to move. Luckily, he was either a) comfortable, b) too lazy to move, or c) scared to death and frozen in place.

I struggled with holding still enough to focus properly with my macro lens, but it turned out okay. Maybe he'll give me ample warning when he visits again so I can grab a steady stool to sit on.

Camera: Canon 40D with 60mm macro lens and external E-TTL flash, 1/60s, f/8 at ISO 100 at about 7:15 p.m.


  1. I want to pick your brain a bit. Obviously it was a low light situation and you mentioned it was hard to hold still in order to capture a sharp image. Why did you keep the aperture at f/8 and the ISO at 100 when a adjustment to either would have allowed a quicker shutter speed and less of a chance of a blurry picture? What was your mindset behind those settings? I wanted to ask because the picture turned out great and I was curious if those specific settings were used to create the look you desired.


  2. Sure!

    I had a few things that made me choose these settings:

    First, one thing I love about my macro lens is that its maximum aperture is f/2.8 -- BUT -- when I'm so close to the subject, and at that aperture, the depth of field is incredibly shallow, and just breathing can make the focus change. So, since I was squatting/kneeling and didn't have the ability to brace my elbows on anything, I closed down to f/8. It increased my depth of field (and therefore the amount that was actually in focus), compensating for any slight movement I might have physically made.

    As luck would have it, one of the blogs I check has a post on this very subject today: http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/2008/10/aperture-setting-and-depth-of-field-an-up-close-study/

    Secondly, because I was using flash, and because of the angle of the flash, it appears darker than it actually was at the time. I chose an ISO of 100 since I WAS using a flash, so I could keep the amount of noise down in the photo.

    My settings had more to do with the focal plane than it did with blur caused by movement.

    Hope that answers your question! Thanks for asking!

  3. Thanks for the response. I've never used a macro lens or a lens that stops down to 2.8, so your answer was enlightening. I assumed the larger aperture was used to allow elements of the fence to be in focus in addition to the katydid. I did not consider the inability to properly focus due to slight shifts in movement when at a lower aperture. As for the ISO, again, I've never used an external flash, but it makes sense that the intensity of the light produced would allow the lower setting. The lack of noise due to the 100 setting really helped the katydid pop from the background. So thank you for the educational information and for allowing me pick your brain.