I bought a new camera; well, new to me as I did not want to invest to heavily in something that may be a passing phase. Still wasn’t the cheapest but I got better value for money with a range of lenses.
If you have read my blog before this point, (if not, go back) you will have seen that I prefer to take close ups of most of my subjects. I like the small parts in things so tend to delve into the details, I really wanted to buy a macro lens for insect close ups.
I had been thinking of investing in a better camera (if an iphone can be called a camera) as I know as soon as we lose the sunny days my photos will suffer. I was then inspired by the Mindful Gardener, Ali; and the French Gardener, Fred. Both, have recently posted macro lens photos of various insects and plants.
I was looking for something light weight as I am supremely lazy and the thought of carrying around a massive camera and lens set did not appeal to me. The mirrorless cameras seemed to be the way to go as a budget friendly aim to starting out in the world of photography.
I settled on the Olympus OMD EM10 mark II partially because of others’ blog posts mostly because Olympus partnered with Panasonic and they have the widest range of lenses for mirrorless cameras.
I bought body and kit lens (14mm-42mm) plus a basic telephoto (40mm-150mm for those of you playing at home) with a separate fixed macro 50mm lens; all digital except for the macro lens. The macro lens is an OM rather than micro four thirds so I needed an adaptor to connect the lens to the body. OM lens are part of a system that Olympus produced up until 2002, which was an all- mechanical camera and accessory line; so the lens that I have is manual focus and aperture. It took a little getting used to and you need a quick hand; now I tend to just focus and shoot and then look a the photos when I get home. (I started with it set to show the photo after each shot but I found that annoying as when the insect are walking away you lose time)
The rest of the camera has an automatic setting so I can still choose to have the camera optimise itself in terms of lighting and shutter speed, at least until I learn what it all means.
So, I thought I would put up some of the first pictures and then I can look back at them at a later stage; hopefully seeing how terrible I used to be and how far I have come in the future.
At the allotment, there is a lavender bush that the honey bees love; I would have preferred bumblebees as they are my favourite but they prefer raspberry and poppy flowers. which have mostly finished on our plot.
Its really hard to get the bees to keep still for the shoot.
Does anyone know what kind of bee this is above? It looks like a small bumble bee as it is slightly more hairy than a honey bee but it is grey and white instead of any type orange. It looks like a monochrome honey bee.
Sometimes they were quite cooperative and posed very nicely.
I then took a couple of other things to test out the lenses and the settings on the camera; red currents and a dahlia from the neighbouring plot.
From here down I just start playing with the settings and get boring to a certain extent.
The funny thing is that I have a dahlia in my back garden that is a red current colour but I cannot seem to get the camera to capture the right colour when the sun was shining on it. I had to up the shutter speed and then compensate for the lack of light with a wider aperture. The following are all with macro lens with manual focus/aperture. This means that when I went back to look at the values set for each photo I have to guess the aperture value. At the time I was not very subtle and only used it at either extreme (f3.5 or f22) so I can guess somewhat.
With the auto settings on it doesn’t really matter if you have the aperture set on one or another as the camera will compensate for the lack of light. It just affects the field of depth which can be noticeable with macro close ups. The one on the left is f22 so the aperture is small and the camera set to a slower shutter 1/100th and ISO 640 (don’t worry most of these numbers barely make sense to me either) and the one on the right was with the aperture to f3.5 so the camera had a faster shutter and ISO (1/500th and 200) because it it had more light available to use. However, when you look at both the photos neither show the true look of the flower. (None of the photos look as good on a computer screen, though)
M mode has the user set the shutter and aperture; with 1/250th shutter speed (slow ‘film’ ISO 200) and probably f22 on the aperture; so faster shutter speed with a small aperture means a dark photo.
The next one is the same settings but probably set to f3.5 which is why it is brighter
The one below is with a faster shutter (1/1000th) supposedly with all other setting the same but I am not sure why it is not darker than the first considering the shutter is faster; there must be something I don’t know/remember about it. I actually like this one as it shows the details of the petals where as some of the others wash out the detail with bright colour.
The mode for this one is manual shutter (and manual aperture with this lens) but it allows you to add a light compensation value (I chose +1.3). A shutter speed of 1/2000th but the ISO 1600 so the ‘film’ is more sensitive to light. The last photo is my favourite as it is closest to the real colour of the dahlia. Although I need to play around more in order to get the best settings I can see how I can get close. This one is 1/4000 with an ISO of 1600 however, I don’t think I could guess where the aperture was set.
Playing around with the exposure setting certainly does give one a better handle on what to do if you ever step out of the comfort zone of auto mode. I still have much to learn, however, being a digital camera I can feel free to test any number of combinations and I won’t waste any ‘film’ and will learn in the process.
Have you ever tested out something through trial and error? Do you have a camera with choice of a range of exposure values – any advice for a beginner?