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Friday, May 15, 2009

Stenberg Photography's Macro photo-documentation

Wow it has been a while since my last post and I apologize.  I have been very busy taking photos for once instead of editing for hours at the computer.  I completed another engagement session near Red deer for a couple that is getting married this September.  Their photos should be done this week and I expect a lot of great shots to post for everyone to see.  We took photos at their farm complete with horses, cabins, and a barn!  Nothing says Alberta like a farm ;)

I have also been busy taking photos for a company called 20 20 seed labs.  They are a seed testing company that works out of Nisku and tests farmers crops for healthy seeds among other things.  They asked me to obtain a variety of photos for a 20th anniversary calendar which they hope to release and send to their clients this August.  So far I have visited their lab, greenhouse, and even hit the field and saw a seed cleaning plant in operation as well as one of their clients farms who happened to be seeding.  I plan to post numerous times in the future from these days in the field.  Keep checking back.

Today I posted some macro shots I took in their greenhouse which is actually at the University of Alberta.  A few are some general pictures that I took that could be used as material for their calendar as well as other promotional or training material.  And other pictures were taken from a separate assignment.  Some young canola seed still called 'cotyledows' had turned yellow and even purple along the edges.  2020 needed this abnormal growth documented three times during its life cycle.  I have visited twice and will be back again next week to take the final shots.  It is obvious which ones are infected by the discoloration.

Sorry again about the long post.  I hope to get to it a bit quicker next time and will defentily have a great variety of photos to show off for the next while.    Please comment with any questions or comments you may have.


TECH INFO:  I immediately noticed the plants were on tables in the greenhouse that had a ton of natural light pouring in as any greenhouse does.  They also had strong fluorescent lights standing over them that I turned off for the sake of the photos in order to photo document the proper color of the plants.  Fluorescent light will actually look green in your camera if it is set to a daylight color balance.  There is no way to fix a mixture of light color in post production so it is best to correct this prior to shooting.  If I could have "turned off the sun" somehow technically I could have left the fluorescent lights on as the main ambient light and used a green gel over my flash to match the color in order to have continuity of light color to keep things accurate.  This is also especially important when shooting people because their skin will look green.  Yuk!

Now that I had my light all matched up, I pulled out some white board to reflect my flash back into the plants to help fill some shadows beneath the plant.  Not much but just a little was needed to fill in some light.  I set my flash camera left using either a reflective or shoot through umbrella usually set to 1/2 power.

For the picture of the soybean and the water droplets, I used an ISO of 1000 in order to drop my F stop to 13.  I was unable to use my tripod for these pics so I wanted to keep my shutter above 1/100th of a second.  My 100mm Macro lens was used for all of the photos.

for the discolored cotyledows, I used a tripod in order to get the sharpest image possible since the purpose was to photo-document rather than shoot artistically.  I attached my camera and shot almost straight down perpendicular to the floor while the plants were on a table about waist height.  The white and purple close up is a cropped image that represents about 30 -40 % of its original photograph.  I did this to get in closer and increase the size of the plant.  I was able to retain a lot of the sharpness since I used a tripod.  These two photos were shot at 1/5th and 1/10th of a second at F14 ISO 100.  I also opted to use manual focus for all of these shots.

Hint:  When using a tripod, if you do not have a cable or wireless release, you should set your camera with a timer as I do.  I have an option for a two second timer so my hands are free of the shutter button and there is no camera shake.  This is also why it is important to get a good quality tripod because the slightest movements will rid  your pictures of any sharpness especially when shooting macro.

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