First taste of Macro

* All shots taken with Canon 400D + Canon 100mm f2.8 + Canon 580EX Mk II

I decided to spend a little more time on photography before the new semester effectively kicks into full gear. The first two weeks are still pretty relaxed with no tutorials or labs. So I went to the Alexandra Hospital Butterfly Trail a few days ago, hoping to test out my lens, the Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro USM. It’s a small little garden with various plants and trees situated inside a hospital.

Butterflies are some of the most beautiful insects around but also the hardest to photograph. Also, I made the mistake of visiting the place during the evening. Butterflies are supposedly easiest to photograph during the afternoon when the sun is high as that is the time the little critters stay still while feeding or basking their wings in the sunlight to dry them. During the evening, they were pretty much flying around all the time and will not stay still on anything longer than a few seconds.

I decided to give up on shooting butterflies eventually. Butterflies don’t seem to be very ideal subjects for any photographers still new to the world of macro photography. Try shooting flowers or slow moving insects like snails or caterpillars. Lucky for me, there were lots of other insects around, particularly grasshoppers and for some reason they remain very still most of the time.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is how useful will a tripod be for macro photography? I’ve read a lot of guides on the Internet with many differing opinions. The advantage of having a tripod is that you can manually focus your shots with accurate precision according to your taste. However, a tripod takes time to setup and is rather rigid. All of my shots were taken hand-held without a tripod.

I took about 50 shots but I felt the 3 photographs I show here are among the best. Being my first time, I’m quite satisfied with it but there is definitely space for improvement. I still find it ironic though that I went to a butterfly trail and not have any shots of a butterfly.

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