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  • Writer's pictureMarKei Photo & Video

Photo Therapy

"Guest" Post by Keith

Over the long holiday weekend I was in a pretty deep funk. Not all that surprising really, given what is going on in the world right now. The weather being off and on, sun and rain, wasn't helping any, and not being able to see friends is starting to get to even me, the super introvert.

On top of the general funk was a need deep down to be creative, but I was blocked by my chronic perfectionism. Even though I have some of the very best photography and video equipment at my fingertips I struggle to get it out and actually use it. I often feel, not exactly unworthy of it, but that my vision isn't good enough to make getting it out worth while.

I am a very technical photographer, and person in general. I can look at a photograph and tell you a lot about how it was taken. I can tell you about the lighting, composition, some of the camera settings, and I can talk your ear off about the how and why the gear works the way it does. It is the creative part that I struggle with. I feel like everything I could do, some one else has done it and done it better than I could. If I had to make an analogy, I feel like I am a robot that knows how to paint and can replicate the work of the master painters, but I lack the spark of creativity that would turn those replications into real Art.

But you didn't come here to listen to my therapy session, you came for some photos. So here are the ones I was able to capture over the weekend that I feel at least OK about. Shout out thanks to Marie (the "Mar" in "MarKei") for dragging my butt out to take photos.

These were all taken as Macro photos, which basically just means that I was able to focus on subjects much closer to the camera than is typical. Depending on the combination of equipment you can get really close and magnify the subject which gives you detail and perspective you don't normally see.

The first few photos are going to be a kind of show and tell of the kind of photography I was doing.

In this image you can see that I am really up close and personal with some Ginkgo leaves. I am using either a 28mm or 50mm Canon FD lens (haven't been made since the late 80's or so) on my Sony A7R3 using a lens mount adapter and some macro extension tubes.

Here is one example of the types of shots I was getting of the leaves of the Ginkgo tree.

Macro photography is a lot of fun for me because you can see so much more of the textures and details than you would otherwise. With the Ginkgo leaves it was fun to see all the veins that radiate outward in a fan to give the leaves their unique shape.

Above you can more clearly see the equipment I was using. This is the 28mm Canon FD lens on my camera. One of my favorite things about the type of camera I use (mirrorless) is that it is adaptable to just about any lens made from about 1950 onward. This opens up a world of really affordable lenses, as long as you are OK with going fully manual for focus and aperture control. I think this was one of the more expensive lenses I bought for this adapted mount, and it was around $50 after taxes and shipping. The equivalent modern lens made for my camera would be about $500.

Here is an example of an image captured while I was sitting on the retaining wall in the previous image. You can see how much detail you can see in the tiny little rocks of the cement. Even the big whitish rock in the middle is a fraction of an inch across, but it appears quite large in the image. This photo is also an example of one of the things that makes Macro photography difficult. You can see in the image that the depth of field (how much is in focus) is quite narrow, much less than an inch, and the closer you get to the subject with the camera, the shallower it gets. This makes capturing sharp focus pretty difficult, particularly when using all manual lenses.

I'm sure at some point in the future I'll circle back to the subject of macro photography and explain some of the other nuances of the process, but for now, enjoy the rest of the photos I took over the holiday weekend that "made the cut".

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