What (among other things) is really interesting about macro photography is the fact that you always have an interesting subject at hand. It may be hard to see it at times, but it is there. So, with a macro lens, there is no excuse anymore to not shoot. Macro photography can also be quite challenging. Depending on the circumstances, additional tools may be necessary to get the shot. Flashes, reflectors, additional lighting, extension tubes, tripods, macro rails, they all can be found in the macro photographer’s toolbox. In the case of today’s picture of the day, I didn’t use any of them. I took it when I was simply laying in the grass – hence the title.
In the grass
I had envisioned an image with lots of DoF-blurry blades of grass in the background with just one standing out and being sharp in the foreground. The wind didn’t exactly make this shot easy to take, even though it wasn’t strong at all. I am still amazed at how little subject movement can ruin a shot in macro photography. Unless you are shooting in a studio, macro photography can take a lot of patience. In this case, it meant waiting for the wind to stop. Here’s the original shot I got after some waiting.
Another great thing to keep in mind when shooting macros is that you must think in three dimensions when you are looking for a cool frame. Moving the camera up and down or from left to right is not enough. Given the extremely shallow depth of field of a macro lens, it also always a good idea to use the focus ring to focus on focus on different distances. When you are in the grass, a slight change can give you a completely different image. In this frame, I didn’t only get what I had set out to do. Some blades of grass were coming towards me, thus reaching from the blurry distance into the focal plane of the image and creating a sense of depth in the process.
However, this means that the background is also quite busy and doesn’t allow my main player, the diagonal blade of grass stand out as much as I would like it to. Therefore, I took the image into Photoshop and applied a motion blur filter which gave me this image.
Obviously, the motion blur calmed the background at the cost of losing the detail in the diagonal blade of grass. So I applied a layer mask and used a reflected gradient to let the effect fade in and out, leaving a sharp spot in that blade of grass. This gave me the final version. Here it is: