Macro

Bee Series

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Part II of the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center photoshoot.

After spending some time focusing on the flowers, I decided to hang out around the poppies and photograph some bumblebees. Ordinarily, these bees do not sit still. After all, you might have heard of the term “busy as a bee.” So, the standard modus operandi would be to focus, take a burst of photos, and see if any came out. However, in this case, the bumblebee was loafing around. Actually, I thought it was dead. Maybe it was drunk on nectar, because it just did not move. When I looked again a few minutes later, the bumblebee had flown away by then.

Bumblebee

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/4, 1/800s

This photo is more of the norm. This bumblebee is not going to hang around quietly waiting for me to take its photo. So, I selected a shutter speed of 1/4,000s to compensate for bumblebee motion. Fortunately, just enough of the bumblebee is in focus in this photo.

Bumblebee

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/3, 1/4,000s

Nikon 105mm VR Macro Lens for Flower Photography

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I’ve been meaning to visit the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center for a few weeks now, and finally found a few spare hours this morning. My last visit was in November when Gamble Garden had different flowers in bloom.

I love the serendipitous aspect of macro photography. Some elements, like the micro beads of water on the edge of the petal, were invisible in real life. I did not notice them until I viewed the photo at 100%.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4.5, 1/800s

I find flowers like this to be absolutely mesmerizing. When drawing a flower, the inner part may be reduced to a simple circle, but when we look at the photograph, we can see the individual structures that compose the center of this flower.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4.5, 1/800s

The inside of this flower reminds me of a lotus.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4, 1/800s

See if you can find the ant.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4, 1/800s

I thought this was a fennel or dill plant.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4.5, 1/800s

The poppies were in bloom. These flowers attracted a lot of honeybees and bumblebees.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, 0 EV, f/4.5, 1/800s

Nikon 105mm Macro Lens at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center

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I recently returned to the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center. I wasn’t sure what to expect at an outdoor garden in mid-November, even in California. This being the tail end of autumn, most of the vegetable beds were empty. I did enjoy the fragrance from the few remaining flowers on the sweet osmanthus tree. I would love to plant one of those trees in the backyard.

I love chrysanthemums, as well as a cup of chrysanthemum tea. This yellow chrysanthemum was in bloom.

Yellow Chrysanthemum

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 560, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

This chrysanthemum had a spiral pattern to it.

Chrysanthemum Spiral Pattern

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 4000, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

This pink chrysanthemum reminds me of a sea anemone.

Pink Chrysanthemum

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 2500, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

I also met some of the residents of the garden.

Macro Bug

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

A friendlier-looking bumblebee.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

I’m not sure if the droplets were from a recent rain, the sprinklers or just morning dew, but they added an interesting dimension to the morning walk.

Water Drops on Leaf

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 4000, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/400s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 560, -0.3 EV, 105mm, f/8, 1/200s

Float Like a Western Tiger Swallowtail

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Bees are easy. They are not skittish. And, even when I get too close, they just buzz around and move on to another nearby flower.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

Butterflies are different. You look at one wrong and it just might fly far, far away. This one is a Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) that I found along the Stevens Creek trail.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/160s

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/200s

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm, f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/8, 1/250s

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

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Another noon walk. I usually follow the same path and see the same flowers and insects every day. However, sometimes I’m blessed with a pleasant surprise along the way.

Today, I spotted a butterfly floating around some bushes. As I stopped to observe and take some photos, it was joined by two other butterflies. Serendipity indeed.

Gulf Fritillary

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 200, 105mm, f/5, 1/2,000s

I had no idea what type of butterfly it was, but using this butterfly identification guide, I arrived at Agraulis vanilla. Close enough.

Squirrel and Red Spider

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I was shooting in manual mode a few days ago and forgot to reset my settings. Last night, I spotted a small red dot roaming around the calla lily, and grabbed the camera. So, the aperture and shutter speed were for an entirely different event, but the exposure was not far off fortunately.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/4, 1/100s

Later, I spotted this guy climbing up the telephone pole. I’m pretty sure that telephone lines are the equivalent of highways for squirrels–basically, paths that offer unfettered access to the entire neighborhood. The squirrels are free from ground-based predators, like cats, but probably have to watch out for hawks and other raptors. I wonder what would happen to the squirrels if the telephone and electrical lines ever transitioned underground.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 105mm, f/4, 1/100s

Green Onion

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Played around with the macro lens and tripod this morning.

Green Onion

Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 800, 105mm, f/16, 1/80s

Most of the spring flowers are gone from the garden. So, the lone target was a green onion. Unlike “regular” photos, using a tripod for macro photos is a hassle. Adjusting the height of the tripod and getting the camera in the right position just takes time. The trade-off is a more precise focus, though using live view outdoors isn’t the best experience. Had to drape a jacket over my head, like those old photographers, just to see the screen clearly on a sunny day.

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center

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Got tired of the same bumblebee and poppy photo, so I headed down to the local community garden for some exploration.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 1600, 105mm, f/16, 1/125

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 1600, 105mm, f/16, 1/160

This one reminds me of a fried egg.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, 0.3EV, f/16, 1/60

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/60

One leg out of focus. 🙁

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/8, 1/125

I think I need to revisit this site while shooting on manual mode. On aperture priority, sometimes the shutter gets too slow. Unless you are shooting macro indoors, the slightest breeze can easily knock a flower out of focus.

After I bought my macro lens, it seems that every day has been a windy day. Or maybe it has always been windy and I just haven’t noticed until now.

Nikon 105mm Micro Lens at f/45

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I’m still searching for the optimum settings when using the Nikon macro lens. At f/6.3, barely anything is in focus, which isn’t a problem if the subject is flat.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/6.3, 1/125

At f/45, more of the flower is in focus. However, the original image was quite dark, even with a macro flash. Had to spend a few seconds in Photoshop to fix the image.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 400, 105mm, f/45, 1/125

Here is how it looked out of the camera.

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Nikon 105mm Macro Lens and Teleconverter

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When viewing macro photos, it might be difficult to determine the degree of magnification even for familiar subjects. At first glance, this may appear to be a photo from someone’s rock collection. However, this photo was taken at a playground. The rocks are really sand.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 125, 180mm, f/8, 1/400s

For reference, I took a photo of a standard office park flower along the sidewalk. I have no idea what these are called, but they were growing every where.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 180mm, f/8, 1/400s

With the 105mm macro lens and a 1.7x teleconverter, the flower appears like this up close:

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 180mm, f/8, 1/800s

A 100% crop of the above photo reveals these details. Not bad for a handheld shot on a windy day.

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Here’s a different flower. Again, handheld and at the mercy of the wind. The center of the flower looks a little soft.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 100, 180mm, f/8, 1/640s

But, look what shows up when viewed at 100%. The bug is actually visible in the above photo, but I didn’t even notice it when I first took the shot.

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Here’s the dangerous part about getting a macro lens. You might relapse back to childhood with a serious fascination for insects. Who sees a bee and moves in to get an even closer look?

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 140, 180mm, f/8, 1/200s

This bee does not look happy.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 250, 180mm, f/8, 1/250

This bumblebee was a lot easier to track than the one who was busy pollinating the poppy. For poppies, the bumblebee would disappear inside the flower for a second or so and I had to guess the timing of its departure. Here, the bumblebee remained in the open the entire time.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 3600, 180mm, f/9, 1/800s

I even got lucky and caught the bumblebee just as it was about to take off for another flower.

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Nikon D800, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, ISO 3200, 180mm, f/9, 1/800s