When I first got my DSLR camera, I took pictures of lots of things. I tried to capture images of things I love – mostly my son, but also pictures of the flowers and foliage in my garden, interesting shapes or architecture out on walks, and all sorts of other things. Okay, so the VAST majority of my pictures were of my son. But he was so cute. How could I go wrong with a subject like this?
I didn’t know much more about photography than I learned from the DVD that came with my camera. I still refer to that DVD every now and then. I got my new camera as a Mother’s Day gift. So I took pictures of my son at the playground, I took pictures of my son in our backyard, out on hikes… You get the idea. But it was spring, and I have a lot of plants in my garden. I was playing around with composition of images and I was really drawn to some specific plants. Peonies. I have several varieties. I have divisions of the white peonies my grandfather brought to Geneseo when he and my grandmother moved to Geneseo in 1975 from Long Island to be nearer their grandchildren (OK, their children too, but let’s be honest. They came for the grandkids). I have single flowering light pink ‘Sorbet’ and dark red ‘Sarah Bernhart’ and several with hues in between. Their color and form drew me in as a photographer as well as a gardener. The plant I have that is most populous in my garden isn’t even grown for their flowers. I love hostas. I grew over 3 dozen named varieties at our first house. I divided and dug up parts of almost all of them. When we purchased this house, it was being rented out by the previous owner. They had a lease that we agreed to keep so for a short time we owned two houses. That would have been very hard on the bank account if it lasted for more than a month, but that was plenty of time to move many of my plants from Irondequiot to Geneseo. The first spring that we lived in this house, I went to garden centers and bought at least 10 more varieties of hostas. I planted them under the sugar maple in the middle of our back yard. And the next day, I learned that hostas are ice cream to deer. There was only one leaf standing of all the new hostas I had planted. The rest were nibbled down nothing.
Somehow, the hostas I planted right next to our house mostly survived. And they still survive and thrive. It’s not even that the deer don’t come near the house. There’s a deer run that goes between our property and our next door neighbors’. Deer regularly walk down our driveway and occasionally down our front walk-way. Have a mentioned how little I like deer? And how much I like rain on hosta leaves?
So, there I was, taking pictures of my hostas. Different color patterns, different leave shapes. Everything a photographer could want. And I hit the jackpot because it had rained the early in the morning and there was rain still collected in many of the hosta leaves. I took dozens of pictures of the same plant and then I moved on to another. I was amazed I had never noticed how lovely the veining pattern was, or the way the color shifted from a soft blue-green to a darker blue when a certain variety was wet. Compose, click. Compose, click. And on for a couple of hours. It was glorious. It was that day that made a new item jump to the top of my wish list. A macro lens. Just think what I could do with the ferns growing outside out dining room! I could take really close-up images of insects. Maybe this would help my son reduce his dislike of insects – or maybe I could spring them on him when he was being ‘not so cute’ and scare him a little. If I don’t screw him up a little, who else will? 🙂
Yes, dear readers, I am spoiled. I have a cute son. I have a great husband who liked buying me things. And I have a birthday and wedding anniversary that are 3 days apart, so I traditionally get a big gift that covers both. Woo hoo! So, one summer I got a macro lens for my birthday/anniversary present. It was glorious. It took great *really* close shots. It would be great for portrait photography. And it was heavy! That’s a transition I continually have to make. I thought the DSLR camera with a kit lens was so heavy when I got it (and it was compared to the point and shoot digital or film cameras I’d had before). Every new lens I’ve gotten seems to be heavier. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about every new thing, but I am also a little scared of them. I didn’t think I would be able to hold up the new camera and lens for hours taking photos because my arms would simply fall off. Not to worry, my son was told that there is *really* good glue in the school office and they could just reattach his arms if that ever happened to him. I’m sure they would let me borrow some, too.
Even without a macro lens, you can take amazing close-up images. A tri-pod helps a lot, but holding your breath works, too, on a budget!