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It’s a small, small world:

Macro Photography has constantly challenged my patience—I have plenty of room for improvement as a macro photographer. Yet my challenged patience practicing it in our flowerbed does not frustrate me; it mesmerizes me. Looking at the tiny landscapes, creatures, and objects through a macro lens reveals new perspectives on God’s boundless creativity. The spiny Echinacea and the complex other-worldly Zinnia, the bees, ants, butterflies, and various dragonflies cling to the captivating beauty, aroma, and sweetness. It is a small world; we typically pass by without a pause to appreciate.

The Blue-tailed Damselfly is common in our flowerbeds this time of year. It is a beautiful blue dragonfly constantly in motion, searching for a mate. The challenge to photograph a damselfly is locating one that will pose long enough to set focus and take a shot. I failed to capture that opportunity yesterday, but it was a great learning experience in exposure and depth-of-focus/field.

I chose all the exposure parameters manually:

  • ISO: The sensitivity of the sensor was set to very low because it was full daylight.
  • Shutter speed: Set very fast to freeze the motion from the wind.
    Aperture: To compensate for the fast shutter speed, a wide lens opening letting in the most light. That setting produced a narrow depth of field, a small acceptable depth of focus.
  • Macro-photography is difficult because the depths of fields can be just a few millimeters—in this case, less than the length of a small Damselfly, typically less than 30 millimeters or about an inch.
Depth of field example

Depth of focus in a macro world

As you can see in one photo, the Damselfly head is in focus, yet the next, the tail was in focus. It was a windy day moving things around. The camera was steady on a tripod, but any tiny movement with these settings can cause this issue. The result of this small-world photo-safari was a success—I learned plenty, it removed me from the depressing world news, it gave me a glimpse into God’s boundless creativity.

The take-away for this article is not to understand the complexities of digital cameras and optics; it is to say get out into your backyard or any field anywhere with your phone and peer into the small, small beautiful world we all pass by. Take some time to meditate and be grateful for the world God created.