Tuesday, May 5, 2009

44/365 One dandelion, two images

These two photos are great demonstrations of what I absolutely adore and sometimes loathe about macro photography -- focus.

For the photography enthusiasts out there, I used a wide aperture -- f/2.8 -- which, in macro terms, makes for an incredibly short depth of field.

In everyday language, a short depth of field means the distance from the part of your subject in-focus to where it becomes blurred is very short. And the closer you physically get to your subject, that depth of field narrows even farther. For these photos, I propped myself on my elbows about six inches from the dandelion.

What do I love about macro photography? Amplifying small details that can go unnoticed. Or finding the photograph in what may be seen as mundane.

And I love that by changing your focal point just half an inch, you create an entirely different image.

In this first photo, I focused on the front edge of the fuzzy seeds. The sun was behind and to the right of the flower, creating that subtle sheen and sparkle.

Then, in the other photo, I focused on the bases of the seeds on the inside of the fuzzy ball (I'm obviously using very technical botanical terms). Anyone who has ever encountered a dandelion knows that they're only about an inch or so in diameter, so the distance from the outer edges of the fuzz to the base of the seeds is very small.

But it gives the photograph an entirely different look!

Oh, and what do I sometimes loathe about this short depth of field in macro photography? Just add a slight breeze and your subject bounces all over the place, making focusing a real challenge.

I really like both of these photos, which is why I chose to share both of them with you. I couldn't choose a favorite. What do you think?

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 100 and 200 at about 7:45 p.m.


  1. I like the first one better. But I have seen some of your other photos also use very tight selective focus where the background wasn't as quite as blurry. Perhaps that is a product of the subject matter with its fine detail...?

  2. That could be a combination of things, but I think the most likely answer has to do with the nature of the background here. Since it's a smooth patch of grass, which is monochromatic and lacks much detail, it blends together very smoothly.

    Or, I may have used a smaller aperture in those other photos, rendering the background slightly clearer.