2014—Fan Dance

There’s no Sally Rand around here but these tiny dandelion florets fascinate me and the seed attached to the end of each floret reminds me of a ballerina’s toe shoes while the floret looks a bit like a fan. I took this shot on a magnifying mirror so there are reflections.

I am trying to familiarize myself with my macro lens, which familiarization is proving to be somewhat elusive. Alas, I am going to have to actually read something instead of trying to figure it out by trial and error. What I did learn today is that the background is extremely important. With a macro lens, every piece of lint shows. I first tried using the shiny black granite sample that I have but the mica flakes within the stone seemed to compete with the delicate dandelion florets and the background was not solid black so I changed to a black suede which has a matte finish but the light was completely absorbed by the suede and the photos were too dark. I finally laid the three little florets onto a small magnifying mirror after cleaning it with lens tissue. I can’t really explain why the background is black but I presume it is because the camera, which is black, was directly over the mirror providing the black background and shielding the mirror from the overhead lights.

The other thing I learned is that the closer I get to a macro subject, the shallower the depth of field, even with a small f/stop. I wanted the seeds to be in focus and in order to get them in focus, I used an aperture of f/51! I didn’t realize the macro lens had that small an f/stop. To get this photo, I had to set the shutter speed at 25 seconds.

Day 82-17-2