Idaho Moments: Autumn Up Close

doswald@idahostatesman.comOctober 13, 2013 

The parade has arrived. One of nature’s best seasonal displays has begun, and it’s time to enjoy the show with a weekend road trip, a walk through the park, or simply by slowing down enough to appreciate nature’s wonderful transition from summer green to the dazzling crimson and gold of autumn.

Your fall color photographic safari may be closer than you think. Cameras with a close-focusing macro lens can provide just as much fun in your own backyard as traveling to faraway locations. Many smartphone cameras have surprising close-up capabilities, so it’s worth taking some time to explore autumn on a smaller scale.

Using a macro lens can be challenging, so here are a few tips and considerations:

• Depth of field, or how much will be in focus front to back, is greatly exaggerated with a macro or close-focusing lens. If your camera is equipped, use the depth-of-field preview button to get a better idea of what’s happening in the frame. Using a small aperture like f16 will bring the background closer into focus. A wide aperture like f2.8 will blur the background and bring more attention to your foreground subject.

• Focusing is critical and requires more care at the macro scale. It’s often better to turn off auto focusing, set the focus to its closest setting, and move the camera to-and-fro to get a sharp image.

• Lighting can be tricky, so be aware of the shadow you may be casting on your subject by being so close. A flash can easily overpower your photo at such close range, so consider alternatives if you don’t have more advanced flash resources. Try looking at a leaf that is backlit by the sun, and you may find the color and contrast to be more vibrant.

• Patience is a must. It takes more time to get a good photo in the macro world. Focusing can be difficult when hand holding your camera, so use a tripod when it’s feasible. Even a light breeze can be frustrating at this scale, so just breathe steady and wait for the right moment.

Darin Oswald: 377-6434

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