Daily Archives August 12, 2020

Pandemic Possibilities – Macro Adventure: Homebound with a Flower or Two

Everything as we knew it has changed. We lost spring and summer due to Covid-19, maybe most of 2020… And, for many, not just time. We’ve all experienced a whirl of contradictions in a blur that warps time, making it move fast and slow simultaneously. We’ve had a chance to focus on our work while staying as healthy as we can in mind, body, and spirit.

As photographers (business owners and enthusiasts alike), we possess a heightened awareness of the impact on our work. Weddings, events, and adventure travel have been postponed. Many photographers have reinvented, refined, or caught up on the administrative side of things. It has also been an ideal time to explore… to deepen our skills; to enrich our understanding of ourselves, to slow down, to build new pathways of connecting with others, and to learn new ways of “visioning,” shooting, processing, and sharing our photographic art.

So, is it possible to escape from reality without leaving home? I believe it is. I have completely overhauled my business of leading in-person garden workshops and have harnessed the power of the internet to reach people who were never able to travel to a workshop. Everything about my business revolves around my Facebook group, Phlorography – Artistic Floral Photography.

We have weekly themes which keep things fresh and, with everyone homebound now, I’ve been leading classes online in artistic floral photography, consisting of techniques which can be applied to a wide range of subjects. In this blog, I’m going to share some ideas that are fun and accessible to just about everyone from the comfort of your home and/or yard. Let’s head outside and enter the world of artistic macro floral photography.


Variables: Lenses, vantage point, Lensbaby Omni filters, post-processing, high and low key imagery.

Since it’s not easy getting to any gardens now, I purchased a bunch of yellow tulips with beautiful red patterns on the petals at the local grocery store. For this exercise, I selected a single tulip and set about to achieve a variety of “looks.”

I used five different lenses (Canon 100mm macro, Canon 180mm macro, Lensbaby Sol 45 and Lensbaby Sweet 50 with macro filters and converters) on my Canon 5D MarkIV.  I restricted my space to my driveway, using the natural environment as my background. In addition to the tulip and vase, I used a Manfrotto Lumie Play (3 light LED) held in place by a Wimberly Plamp II which was attached to a small stand. In lieu of a diffuser, I positioned my subject in the shade, although in doing so had to be very mindful of distracting elements and bright light in the background. All shots outdoors were handheld, however, a tripod is advisable if needed for support.

Canon 180mm Macro Lens

I’m starting with the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens. I love this lens for the way it renders backgrounds when shot fairly wide. Be forewarned though that it is hefty and makes handholding a challenge. It also struggles when focusing in dim light or on hard to distinguish edges.

100mm, 1/400s, f/4.5, ISO 100

Canon 100mm Macro Lens

The most noticeable difference between the 100mm and the 180mm in this scenario, was the wider angle bringing in too much background.  Since I didn’t want the driveway & other distractions visible, I compensated by moving closer to my subject. This exercise wasn’t intended to be an analytical side by side comparison of the optics; just to produce a myriad of looks and styles.