When I last visited my hometown, it was only a matter of time until I hit the fields near my village. I was thinking about taking some macro shots of nature such as mushroom and fungus related and I just waited for the right time to come, preferable after a small rain. The weather was cloudy and the light not adequate for a crisp handheld shot at desirable values. I had to use an upper ISO value of 800 and I witnessed the shutter speed dropping at just above 1/25 with many shots requiring 1/40.
To make things worse I was not willing to carry any kind of support such as a tripod, or spend much time composing my shots. You see, I was not alone in the fields and the aim was to check out the area. There was always a chance of rain over our heads and there wasn’t much patience when I found something worth spending some more time than usual.
We were always on the move and sometimes I realized I was all by myself shooting at low angles, while some drops of rain threatened to get worse as time went by and find their way to ruin the mood (and my camera). Thankfully, there wasn’t any rain until we departed from the fields, but there was much cold around.
At first, I shot a general picture of a hill and soon realized this wasn’t the proper way to handle this photo day. I climbed the hill and stared around only to verify that the foggy atmosphere was nothing like helping the distant objects to stand out. When I approached some olive oil trees it all became clear to me! It was a very good time to try some macro photography. The humid environment was a perfect place for new mushrooms to grow and fungus to spread.
I had some problems with stability, light and quality, but I soon realized these photographs would be shot for my own pleasure. I freed myself from the need to expose at ISO 100 and fed an Auto-ISO limit of 800, an aperture setting of f8 and paid attention to the shutter speed not to fall below what I though would suit the situation with my 15-85 IS lens, 1/40. I also used a failproof burst technique and shot 2-4 frames per theme in order to produce a stable shot, when the shutter speed approached the lower limit I had set.
To my surprise I ended up cropping even more in some occasions. I even cropped the same frame in two or three different ways, a photo inside a photo. I was amazed at the variations of the color and shapes and I fell in love with the little mushrooms barely visible to the naked eye and sure too small to be noticed by humans. Nature has never seized to amaze me, and it never will. I look forward to returning to these same places, better equiped (maybe with a true macro lens, a tripod) and lots of time to hunt the themes and frames around.
I have a strong magnification equipment (for the money spent, that is), which consists of a Sigma 70-300 macro APO Super II, a set of Kenko Extension tubes and a Sigma Achromatic Macro Lens, which is actually in form of a filter going in front of Sigma 70-300 lens. Of course the depth of field is so shallow that you have to be extra careful and the quality deteriorates as the magnification gets larger and larger. The distance gets halved with the Sigma AML and there’s the chance of using diffused flash light via wireless mode, so there are more opportunities to explore. The only variables to consider are time and weather.
See all the images here.