Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Sunday, October 08, 2006


Turning Leaves. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.

Turning Leaves. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

After shooting a somewhat lackluster sunrise from the north shore of Lake Michigan, I looked down at my feet. The dew covered leaves were varying shades of green, orange and red. I picked out a nice cluster with a pleasing background and dropped my tripod legs to get my camera about a foot off the ground.

I put a Canon 500D double element closeup lens on my 70-200mm zoom lens so it could focus closeup enough to provide enough magnification of the small leaves. The 500D is actually a screw in closeup filter with two pieces of glass for better image quality. It is an excellent and relatively inexpensive way to do quality closeup work if you have a lens in the 200mm range.

The shutter speed was slow, a recipe for unsharp images with longer lenses, so I turned on the mirror lockup feature on the camera body. The mirror locks up prior to the shutter release so there is no vibration from the mirror slap. I use mirror lockup with long lenses (200mm and longer) any time the shutter speed is between 1/30 and 1/4 second. I would not buy a camera body for critical work that didn't have mirror lockup.

In order to keep the background out of focus, I used a wide aperture so depth of field was minimal. Only part of the center leaf is in sharp focus. With a much smaller aperture, all of the leaves would look sharp due to increased depth of field, but the background would no longer be soft for the same reason. I could preview the results with the camera's depth of field preview button, another valuable feature.

Data: Canon 5D. Canon EF 70-200mm lens at 180mm with a 500D closeup lens. Aperture: f/4. Shutter: 1/30 second. ISO: 100.


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