Last week, someone left a comment on one of my posts, saying – don’t give up. You’ve got good stuff here. That was the second such comment I had heard in the week (the other one was from my very kind sister).
They were right, of course. The reason I even started this blog – they day I bought my first DSLR, almost 4 years ago – was to force myself to keep learning. The problem was, it’s relatively easy to learn lots of new things quickly when you’re a beginner; the more experience you get, though, the fewer the a-ha moments. And so I abandoned my blog. In retrospect, I pretty much stopped learning when I did that. Shame on me!
Not that all of this time has been wasted, though. I continue to take a picture a day, as I have for 1,357 days; all that practice serves as a placeholder… but it’s time to start learning again.
With that in mind, I chose this morning to spend some time learning how to use the $104 macro ring flash that I bought last month, based on some outstanding reviews on Amazon. The price was a steal – the Canon version of this flash costs $500. I had a cheapo ring flash that I bought a few years ago for about $35… it wasn’t even worth that.
So, I spent some time reading up on using a ring flash online, and watching this Bryan Peterson (PPSOP) video: http://youtu.be/7Qko6TQR8IA . This was the first time I had ever heard someone say – go ahead, use a flash even if there’s natural light! That was soooo liberating! What it meant to me was — I didn’t have to try to use a tripod in awkward positions or give up my morning caffeine in order to hold the camera stock-still.
First I tried it out on some leaves that I had picked up the other morning and brought inside:
Then I went for a walk to see what I could find outdoors. I wasn’t disappointed! My take included the water drops on the leaf (from a Big-Leaf Magnolia tree) at the top of this post, and this “changing seasons” shot:
One thing to note, which is pointed out in the video, is that using the macro ring flash will make the background really dark, like so:
This will all be good to know as we march into winter. There should be plenty of miniature things to photograph inside, and when the weather is right, I hope that this lighting will make snowflake photography easier. Fingers cross!
(Technical note: I used the Canon MP-E 65mm lens, which has almost no depth of field, so it was necessary to use very small apertures (e.g. f/16). The mantra on the video is: 1/250, f/22 – but that was for his lens, not mine!)