It’s not to often that I get to do some macro photography. This is mostly because I don’t have my macro lens with me. However, as I found out, you don’t always need a macro lens to accomplish this. I visited Spanish Point in Osprey, Florida awhile back, this is a charming place to visit and they are photography friendly. The admission is around $8 and plan on staying a few hours to see all that they have to offer. This property is built on a “minion”, meaning that thousands of years ago when Indians inhabited the area, they built this area up with shells. They would bring in the shellfish to feed their families and had nowhere to throw the shells. They started piling up the shells in one area. I guess this place would be the first landfill. The whole area is raised due to these shells. They must have eaten a lot of shellfish!
Bertha Palmer eventually bought the property in the early 1900’s. She was a businesswoman from Chicago and she bought most of what is now Sarasota County. What is now Myakka River State Park was her ranch that she raised cattle on and what is now Spanish Point was where her waterfront home resides.
On the property there is a church, citrus packing plant, the home, and aqua duct just to name a few of the items that you will see. All of these exhibits are open for the public to view. They usually have a couple of guided tours, if you have never been, this might be a great option to ensure that you see all that is available and learn about the rich history of this area. Just note that there is some walking involved. Most of the pathways are paved so it makes it easy for wheelchairs and motorized scooters to get around.
While I was walking around, I noticed a butterfly going from leaf to leaf and stopping briefly to see what each leaf had to offer. I carefully approached the butterfly, trying not to scare it. Again, I did not have my macro lens with me but I did have my 18mm-200mm lens on my camera. I improvised by cranking out the lens to the 200mm setting and getting in as close as it would allow me to and still focus. The butterfly didn’t seem to worry about my presents as it went on its way, checking out each leaf.
I took some different angles going from the ground to overhead. Once in awhile he would look at me and pause. I must have taken 30 frames of this little guy. I used the spot focus feature on the camera and put the focus point on its eye to ensure that the eye would be in focus. As humans, that is the first thing we look for whether it’s another human being or animal, to see if the eyes are sharp in the photograph.
When I got home I went through all of the photos in Adobe Bridge and found the one above to be the best of the bunch. I cropped in a bit and put him off to the side as to the “rule of thirds”. I used Nik’s Sharpener Pro to handle the sharpening for me.
At the end of the day, I walked away with a great butterfly photo. I used the equipment that I had and made it work. If you’re like me, I sometimes get caught up on the equipment that I don’t have, instead of what I do have. My advise is don’t be afraid to try with what you have. Equipment will help indeed, however I think it’s the “minds eye” that makes all of us different. There are days when I struggle with this very thing. You have either an assignment or are doing a personal project and you want it to come out it’s best. In my opinion this is one of those areas where practice will help you guide the camera.
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean