The Obligatory Orchid Photo

As I scrolled through my photo-dump site of choice, I noticed that the better photographers spent time taking photos of a flower that looked particularly wicked.  I am not a gardener, so I was unfamiliar with the type of flower there were photographing.  While at a local grocery store last week, as I always do, I stopped by the flower section to find flowers to photograph. I noticed that particular flower – the phalaenopis orchid.

This morning, I bought a potted orchid plant and spent a little over an hour shooting the orchids in high and low key. First, I was careful to shoot from multiple perspectives.  I wanted to highlight the column, lip, and callus.  Also, I worked quite a bit on back-lighting. Also, I spend some time using the macro extension tube I purchased last week. Here are some of the low-key shots and all of them were three-shot HDR shots.

I had two big take-aways from this shoot. I’m still not happy with the depth-of-field with the macro extension tube. This, apparently, is one of the criticisms of the tube, and I knew this going into the purchase. The tube I purchased doesn’t have the electronic connections to sync the lens with the body. Thus, the body reads the aperture at “00.”  I’m trying to decide if I want to spend the $90 to get the tube with the electronic interface or apply that to a true 100-mm macro lens.  Also, when I shot high-key shots with the extension tube and a flash, I did not get the whites that I wanted.  I have a lens light; that will be what I use next time. I do want to say, however, that I have enjoyed the tube.  When I crop the image in, I can create some pretty cool images.

Second, I am enjoying using manual focus more than auto-focus while shooting macro shots. I was forced to use manual focus when I installed the macro extension tube and now love controlling the point of focus.  I doubt I will go back to AF while shooting macros.

Here is my set up for this shoot:

  • ISO 100
  • Manual mode
  • Portrait scene setting
  • Tungsten light white balance
  • Tripod
  • External shutter release
  • Desk lamp with two sheets of print paper taped over the shade.

Here is what he set up looked like:

Orchid shoot set-up

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