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Views: 717, Replies: 20 » Jump to the end
Name: Mika
Oxfordshire, England and Mento
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Foliage Fan Critters Allowed Daylilies Irises Roses
Hostas Birds Multi-Region Gardener Cat Lover Dog Lover Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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cliftoncat
Dec 6, 2016 7:58 AM CST
Love this photo - the lighting is absolutely wonderful. Lovey dubby
Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
Birds Hummingbirder Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
GrammaChar
Dec 6, 2016 8:04 AM CST
I agree All of William's photos are phenomenal. I especially like his lily shots. Wish he'd publish a book; I could sit and look at them all day long.
GrammaChar
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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William
Dec 6, 2016 2:01 PM CST
Mika, thank you I tip my hat to you. . I was very fortunate to get this beautiful light to portray 'Mary Frances' in.
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 6, 2016 2:11 PM CST
Charlotte, I don't think there ever will be a photo book from me, but those are some very warm and generous words that certainly warms the heart. Thank you. Smiling

Did I ever share the link to John Hallmén with you or have you seen his work? As I know you love insect macros, I think you would really enjoy a visit to his site: http://www.johnhallmen.se/

A few years back I encountered him on an Italian photo and image critique forum, which in one way was a bit weird as he also is from Sweden, but I guess that is the way things work today. Anyway he was clearly already very talented, but since then he had an exhibit at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and also published a few books with his superb macros. One has been translated to English as well: "Bugs Up Close: A Magnified Look at the Incredible World of Insects".
Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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coboro
Dec 8, 2016 12:01 AM CST
I agree with Mika. Quite the photo. And I've taken more than a few. If that was mine I would be thrilled.
Carl
Texas (Zone 8a)
Passionate about Native Plants
Region: Texas Butterflies Salvias Garden Photography Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover
Birds Hummingbirder Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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GrammaChar
Dec 8, 2016 7:08 AM CST
Thanks for the link to John Hallmen. All I can say is, WOW!!!!!
GrammaChar
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 8, 2016 10:12 AM CST
Thank you, Carl, most kind of you to say that I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you. I tip my hat to you.

Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Image
coboro
Dec 9, 2016 2:27 AM CST
I just looked at the John Hallmen link. The depth of field for such extreme close ups is astonishing. I have to second that WOW!
Carl
Name: Ivor
Middletown, DE (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Region: Delaware Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Islandview
Dec 9, 2016 11:11 AM CST
If it is not too forward, may I ask which camera you use and the lens for that photo?
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 9, 2016 12:28 PM CST
Carl, John is very skilled at focus stacking, so I'd assume that at least some of these images uses that technique for extended depth of field Smiling .
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 9, 2016 12:28 PM CST
Ivor, I used a Nikon D300 with a 300mm f/2.8 VR lens. It was shot at f/5.6, 1/8, ISO 200 using tripod, remote release and mirror lock up.
Name: Ivor
Middletown, DE (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Region: Delaware Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Islandview
Dec 9, 2016 8:02 PM CST
Thanks for sharing that info, William. I'm trying to learn the tricks for a good bokeh effect. Yours in this picutre is one of the nicest I've seen. Seems using a good prime lens is a must.
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 10, 2016 1:41 AM CST
Ivor, it's true that if you need perfectly round out of focus highlights, than many(but not all) prime lenses can give you that. In situations like the above many lenses would have produced an outline or slightly irregular looking shape to the out of focus highlights. However if you simply need a smooth out of focus background then using as long focal length as possible is even more important. You also need to shoot as wide open as you can (use as low f-stop as possible) and select a smooth and distant background. My background in this photo is out of focus canopy, probably 60 feet or so away and the highlights come from the setting sun. This is a bit more challenging than for instance using grass as a backdrop. As grass is much smoother it can be much closer to your subject and still be nicely out of focus.

So all together I wouldn't say that it's a must to use a prime lens for good bokeh, but it can help in some situations, all depending on your needs.

Sorry if I explained things that you're already familiar with!
Name: Nora
Castlegar, B. C. Canada (Zone 5b)
Region: Canadian Cat Lover Salvias Xeriscape Roses Organic Gardener
Garden Photography Echinacea Butterflies Birds Irises Daylilies
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HemNorth
Dec 10, 2016 2:16 AM CST
Thank you, William, for your beautiful Mary Frances photo. It has always been one of my favourite Irises, and you have done it perfect justice.

Also, a big Thank you for introducing us to the work of John Hallmen. What a superb artist!
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 10, 2016 3:02 AM CST
Thank you, Nora Smiling . This was the very first blooms for 'Mary Frances' in my garden and now I can't imagine not having her around. She is already a favorite for me as well.
Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Image
coboro
Dec 11, 2016 3:28 AM CST
William, I saw that your photo of Mary Francis got 8.77 acorns. What cheapskate only gave you .77 of an acorn???
(I don't even know why you would need to be able to give .01 acorns anyway.)
Carl
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 11, 2016 12:33 PM CST
Carl, I appreciate every acorn, whole or fractional very much Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Actually no one gave me 0.77 acorns, instead I got 0.44 acorns and 3.33 acorns from two separate givers. I guess it's mostly a fun thing and perhaps it also helps to draw attention to the image. Either way, it was very generous of all the givers Smiling

Name: Ivor
Middletown, DE (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Region: Delaware Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Islandview
Dec 11, 2016 8:26 PM CST
I'm not well familar with all possibilities of getting the bokeh effect so I'm glad to read what you said in your post. I'd vaguely understood in the past that telephoto lenses add to the effect but wasn't sure how the aperture fit in all of this. So the lower the aperture number, the better? Those f1.4 lenses are so much more expensive than even just the next stop, the f1.8s.
Sweden
Bulbs Lilies Bee Lover Irises Hellebores Deer
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
William
Dec 12, 2016 12:55 PM CST
Generally speaking a lower aperture number will give you a smoother background and the higher the number is, the more visible the details in the background will be. However shooting with a long telephoto lens isn't the same as using a shorter focal length. For a telephoto lens the transition zone between in focus and out of focus is very narrow so one often needs to stop down (that is using a higher aperture numbers) to get the whole subject in focus. The aperture number is always a trade-off between getting the whole subject in focus and the quality and smoothness of the background.

As a role of thumb, larger subjects need long lenses and lower aperture numbers. For smaller subjects you can use a shorter lens and higher aperture number and still get an out of focus background. As the magnification increases it gets easier to get an out of focus background.

I don't think you will have much use for a f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens for macro, unless you want a more abstract image where nothing much is in focus. I would say that it's very rare for me to use this lens at f/2.8 for floral images. Most often you don't need fast (low aperture numbers) lenses for macro. Actually a 300mm f/4 would be a better choice for most larger floral subjects such as irises and for butterflies and such. It's lighter, much cheaper and the image quality is most often excellent. If you don't need or want large print sizes there should even be some choices among the longer zooms that would be okay. The zooms have improved a lot in the last few years.

Best place to start in my opinion is however with a macro lens in the 150-200mm range as it will give you a lot of options. Many of these can accept a 1.4x teleconverter when you need a more out of focus background and still have great image quality. Teleconverters with larger magnification can work in a pinch. I would only use a shorter lens than 150mm if there was too little working space for a longer lens or if I wanted to include the background.

Name: Ivor
Middletown, DE (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Region: Delaware Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Islandview
Dec 16, 2016 12:02 PM CST
Thanks, William for the exhaustive explanation! I've been debating which lens to buy and was going to settle for the Nikon 85mm f1.8 as a stopgap. My problem at the moment is I'm waiting for Nikon to come out new DSLR models which is taking forever. (However, Nikon has just been reported to have registered a new unidentified one in Indonesia) In fact, I have the exact same camera as you do but with just the kit lenses. So, I'm hesitant shell out big bucks for lens until I know which camera I'll be using for sure, as my other consideration is the Sony AR II. After reading your last post about using higher range lens, I found the Tokina 100mm f2.8 (150 mm my camera) which has had great reviews for a very decent price. So I'm considering getting this one for now and when I get a new camera, I'll be saving and lusting for the Sigma Art lenses! Sticking tongue out

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