Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #46 – Delicate by Leya (Leya)

We have buried so much of the delicate magic of life  – D.H. Lawrence

On my walks in the forest, I love everything fresh, fragile and delicate that spring brings to nature – the feeling of looking at the world for the first time. Rebirth. Renewal. The importance of a living planet Earth for our children and grandchildren to be a part of, echoes with every step.

This week, the challenge must be Delicate. To me, Spring itself reveals something of the very essence of the word – Delicate. I hope you will enjoy walking with me, meeting some spring flowers from my ramblings!

Sherry Felix posted a recent blog entry with an assortment of flowers and plants in Central Park. I commented that I had planted some Aquilegia canadensis aka Wild Columbine in a deck planer a while back, that I was considering moving to my garden. Sherry was helpful in calming my worries about deer eating the delicate wildflowers. Columbine is a deer-resistant native plant. I bought my Columbine from a native plant nursery.

Wild columbine is a native herbaceous perennial that can be found in woodlands and rocky slopes. I have not seen any columbine in the wild on my hikes in the Sourland Mountain Preserve. I expect they can be found off-trail. The rocky slopes of the area are perfect for this plant. The plant grows to about 91cm.

Perhaps it’s a mere coincidence but this week, the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge is Delicate. Ann-Christine/Leya is hosting. I immediately thought of my columbine plants.

I don’t have a macro lens for my Fuji X-T2. The images here were shot on my Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens.

FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Columbine —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.003 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Columbine —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams

flower, sourland mountain, rue anemone
Macro Moments Challenge #36 by Susan Gutterman (Musin' With Susan)

Congratulations to Khürt, a relatively new participant, for submitting the winning entry to Challenge #35. Khürt’s beautiful photo is called Rue Anemone and he includes lots of information about his settings and taking the shot in his post.

The word bokeh is a Japanese loanword to the English language. The word refers to the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image. Note that bokeh is not the same as blur. Bokeh is the quality of the blur. Visible bokeh is often achieved by shooting at very wide apertures to blur the background.

One of the characteristics of macro photography is that subjects are shot at close distances. While this close camera-to-subject proximity can lead to visually interesting images captured from a unique perspective, macro photography presents unique technical challenges. One of these challenges for macro photographers is achieving sharp focus for all of the subject’s important elements. This is dependent on depth-of-field (DOF).

In macro photography, DOF depends primarily on just two factors: aperture value and magnification. At any given aperture value, the higher the magnification ratio, the smaller the DOF. This is why DOF is so shallow in macro; the magnifications are larger than in any other type of photography.

If the aperture of the lens is too wide, the DOF will be too shallow and many areas of the subject will be out of focus. To increase the depth of field and bring more areas of the subject into focus, the photographer must decrease the aperture of the lens. Aperture is controlled by the f-stop setting on the camera or lens.

You can see an example below where an aperture of f/16 produced a DOF too shallow to bring the entire flower into sharp focus.

flower, sourland mountain, Bloodroot
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

It was a challenge to execute the bi-monthly Macro Moments challenge. I do not have a dedicated macro lens. I shoot with Kenko extension tubes attached to my AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. It is not an ideal setup but it was the least expensive way for me to try macro photography.

To shoot macro with this lens and extension tubes while getting a depth-of-field that produces enough depth of field, I have to shoot at around 48mm with the extension tubes, at an f-stop between 22 and 32. The extension tubes are the only way I can control magnification ratio. I had to experiment with the various combination of tubes, which meant taking many test shots, removing one of the tubes, re-attaching the lens, etc.

The result is the photo of the Rue anemone in the featured image for this post, which also doubles as my submission for this challenge. The bokeh is noticeable but not as prominent as it would have been shooting wide open.

Macro Moments was created by avid macro photographer, Susan Gutterman, to share the beauty of macro photography and learn from others photographers. A new challenge begins on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. The winner’s photo may be featured on her blog and used as the banner in the announcement for the next challenge.

rue anemone, flower, sourland mountain
Macro Moments Challenge #35 by Susan Gutterman (Musin' With Susan)

It’s good to be back. March had five Wednesdays, so it’s been three weeks since the last challenge posted! Congratulations to justpat1 of https://pitammm.wordpress.com/ for submitting the winning entry to Challenge #34.

Over the weekend I went hiking in the Sourland Mountain Preserve and observed numerous wildflowers along the trail. The flower in the post header is rue anemone. Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) is a herbaceous perennial native to woodland in eastern North America.

Once again I used the Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set DG but mounted my AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I used the 36mm extension tube for most of the shots. With this extension tube and the lens at 48mm, the macro ratio is 1:1.03.

It was difficult to get these shots despite using a Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod. There was a slight breeze and I had to be patient. It was a sunny day but the leafless trees created shadows. After tweaking in Adobe Lightroom, I imported the image into Nik's Dfine 2 to remove ISO noise. The image seemed a bit bright to me so I applied a Fuji Velvia 100 preset, and set the exposure slider to -1.66.

For this macro challenge, I could not decide which photo to submit for the challenge. I chose this image because I like the colour and the flower petals.

You can see the entire album on Flickr.

Macro Moments was created by avid macro photographer, Susan Gutterman, to share the beauty of macro photography and learn from other photographers. A new challenge begins on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. The winner’s photo may be featured on her blog and used as the banner in the announcement for the next challenge.