Week 11 & 12 - Negative Space and Macro

Another double header?!?! I know how lucky are you guys!?! So unlike the previous two challenges where I didn't particularly like the photos or the challenge this time I actually really liked both challenges.  I just ran out of time/weather for the Negative Space photo to get it in on time. Without further ado, or excuses let's get into the photos.

Negative Space

Negative Space is a great compositional tool.  It simplifies the photo down to just your subject.  Simple photos are fantastic, if you have all the details down.  You don't have anything to hide behind.  You MUST have everything perfect.  As a result they can be extremely powerful because of that simplicity and perfection.

I had originally thought about taking a headshot of the boy where he would be looking off camera and you would see nothing but sky behind him.  The weather and work didn't really work out for me last week.

Then something nice happened.  It started to get sunny and warm in Seattle for a few brief days along with all of the cherry trees blossoming.  There's a couple on my block that are particularly beautiful.  I decided to wait until the afternoon light hit the trees just right so the blossoms would be backlit nicely.  Finally on Tuesday afternoon the weather, light, and work aligned perfectly so I could go run across the street and take a few shots.

I took several and was pleased with what I got.

The first two were nice.  I finally nailed it with the third one. I quickly edited the photos and threw up my selection on Instagram.


With that out of the way I proceeded to work on macro photography. This was a great technical challenge.  You need to be able to magnify your subject and still control for focus and depth of field.  I was struggling for good subjects and some of the technical challenges.  With the close focusing of macro photography you need to make sure that you have enough depth of field so that you can see your subject clearly.  I asked a friend of mine Joanne, who takes great macro shots, for some advice.  I asked her what made for good shots and she replied "Insects, fruit and vegetables, water droplets, leaves. Don't go too low on the F-Stop (aperture)."  (You should check out her photography here https://jcvpics.shootproof.com

I don't have a macro lens.  I have extension tubes. These are plastic tubes that mount between your lens and camera.  They allow you to take macro photos by moving the front element of your lens farther forward from the sensor in your camera thus allowing you to focus much closer to the lens and allowing for greater magnification.  I had gotten a set several years ago and hadn't used them in some time.

With that i mind I went about shooting all kinds of things around the house.  I tried taking a photo of the boy's eye.  He couldn't sit still enough for me to take a non blurry photo.  I tried the same kind of shot with the dog, he looked up at me as if to say, "Human I love you but what are you doing interrupting my sleep?" I then took a few test shots of a Christmas cactus in my office.  I liked what I had since the green leaves were nicely backlit and the leaves looked almost transparent.  I then got a spray bottle and sprayed some water on the leaves.  


I went out in the back yard and took some photos of the grass (boring), the pavers in the side yard (bleach), and the fish and snail that we have (not in focus).  I kept pondering what to shoot.  Finally on Friday afternoon I noticed that the afternoon light was nice.  There are these plants, I think they're weeds, that are starting to encroach upon our yard from the neighbors.  I thought they might look kind of cool in a macro shot.

While I really like the soft greens and the texture of the second plant I couldn't not share the one of the Christmas Cactus.  My photo editor, my lovely wife, agreed.

It was a fun technical challenge. I'm already 25% of my way through this year's challenge.  Last time I only got through week 17.  This year I'm feeling much more confident that I'll get through it.  Plus I'm enjoying the process a lot more.  I know I'm liking the photos I'm making better.  I'm glad I started this challenge again.