Well, it’s time to start updating the progress of the garden. The front garden was quite active during tulip time, but that is over. A few stragglers left, none worth imaging. The Bleeding Hearts are in full bloom, and much bigger than I expected. Very pleased with that. And the massive (12ft x 12ft) Lilac bush I have is losing flowerets now …
I took the Nikon 85mm 1.8 and the Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro outside for a bit of fun for 10 minutes or so, and found quickly that the 1.8 does not focus close enough to be useful in the garden. I had thought so, but this confirmed it. I may try again at some point with my 77mm Canon 500D attached.
Meanwhile, the 105 had my smaller (67mm I think) 500D attached, and I mostly shot with it on. Hand held, this presents a major challenge, but this was supposed to be a quick shoot, so I stuck with it for fun. The lens focuses to 1:1, which is about a foot away, and at that magnification, you can’t expect sharp results without very high shutter speeds. To get that, I cranked my ISO to 3200 after starting at 160. 3200 is high enough that even the D700 will struggle with to retain fine details in dark areas. But this is an experiment, so I pushed on.
Here’s the one image I got with the 85mm 1.8 … this is a heavy crop because I could not get very close.
I quickly switched lenses and now I have the ability to shoot at magnifications greater than 1:1 … assuming that the gusty breeze would settle and I could hand hold well enough :-)
The first this you note is the unbelievable bokeh at 2.8 … but shutter speeds are slow at 160 ISO …
This one was not tack sharp, but is still appealing. Note that the flowerets look sharp because the rest is so diffused … remember that trick.
Same thing with this one … very soft flowerets, but it’s all relative.
A huge Bumble Bee flew in and landed on some flowers above me. I shot a dozen images with the 500D in place, which meant I had to stretch to get close enough. These crops are fairly aggressive, and the noise is pretty dramatic, as these were underexposed. I did what I could to clean the bee shots up, because the detail in their fur is pretty nice.
I like this bee shot the best, as he was buzzing at the time.
Finally, I walked over to the bleeding hearts. The wind made it essentially impossible to grab clear images … this is the best I could do.
Looking back towards the Lilac Bush from the porch, I could catch the top half of the bush with a neighbor’s tree in the background. Shooting at 2.8 blurred the tree out nicely. One thing about shooting with primes. They are sharp :-)