Bill’s Topside PODs from Spring/Summer 2020

Flowers and bugs shot using tools

from Bill’s photography toy box

April-July 2020

Can't go diving so looking at things to shoot. Here is a little day lily from the garden with yet another attempt at shooting High Key, this time in black and white.

I am trying to learn to take pictures of flowers mostly focused in tiny drops of water. Painful at best. Here is a flower from the garden before the drop setup. Usually I would try for high key but here I  shot low key since I need the black background for the drop setup to work well.

I have been attempting to shoot flower reflections in tiny drops of water. Painful but something like this. I keep forgetting how much fun specular reflection is and trying to figure out how to keep it out of the pictures. In any case, this is not where I want it to be, but sort of an illustration of how it might look someday when I figure it out.

This is painful, mostly getting the drops to stick where you need them. It has been suggested by the artist in the family (not me) that you need an odd number of drops and you want them to be randomly spaced. Or as she always says to me "why don't you just”. Anyway, here is one more try. 

Here is a close up of some pollen on one of our local lilies.

When I went to the farmer's market this morning Nannette told me that small carrots are best. Here is a really small one (it should be delicious) about an inch long overall. Shot this playing around with focus stacking to get all the hairs in focus.

Outside our back door there are a few spiky hard stems that have tiny (1/4 inch, 6 mm) across. If you see them without magnification they look blah. But they have some cool colors. Here is a focus stack (see next photo for more explanation) of 40 shots on one of them with pink flower in the background.

For those of you unfamiliar with focus stacking what you do is take 10 or 30 or 40 shots of a subject moving the camera forward a few microns each time. Then you combine the 40 images using software (I use Photoshop, it is good but quite slow, the stacking for this image took something like 45 minutes). Here is a single shot and you can see that only a tiny fraction is is focus.

Found this pretty multicolor rose in our backyard, set it up for some water drop shooting.

In the hills behind our house there are lots of cool tiny flowers. Here is a neat little one (I have no idea) shot with 50 shots focus stacked.

I guess I can just not help myself; I need to shoot something on a stage. Here is a nice little garden snail from our back garden, shot in the studio on the dichroic glass stage.

Here is a nice little nandina flower from our backyard. These guys are the flowers of heavenly bamboo (Nandina) and are about a 1/4 inch across. Shot here on the dichroic glass underwater stage that was feeling left out since he hasn't been in the water for a long time.

Common house fly. Focus stacking with 78 shots. I need a better hair light for him.

Another view of our favorite local housefly, he needs a bath (that's why I think it is a he, no female would let herself go like that).

Zane Grey wrote a book called Riders of the Purple Sage. No one knows which of the 57 gazillion sage species he was referring to. Here is a nice little (1/4 inch maybe) purple sage flower shot with focus stacking (160 images) with each 8 images shot in HDR. Like the Zane Grey scholars, I don't know what plant this is either, I suspect it is Santa Barbara compact Mexican sage but that is a guess based on how the flowers look on google images.

This guy showed up (face up) on my desk the other day (no loose food in our house). Enjoy (or something).

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