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Fake Raindrops Macro Photography

Bring your own rain

April 6th, 2011

I became an instant fan of Bryan Peterson after reading his book "Understanding Exposure", which taught me a lot about being creative with a camera. Recently, I saw one of his videos online on shooting straws of grass with drops of water on them, and I just needed to give it a shot myself. Nice results without much effort, I have to say - you can shoot this in your backyard.

About Macro Photography

Macro photography is fun. I'm always surprised of the small details that are hardly visible to the naked eye, that become apparent in the shots. Many everyday things just look amazing shot in macro.

One problem with shooting macro, however, is that that kit lens you got with your DSLR just can't get very close. So, how do we solve this? Fear not - there are several ways, even on a tight budget. Here are a few options:

  • Get a macro lens. I don't know much about them since I don't have one myself, but I bet they are great for macro since they got it in the name and all. They don't come for free though.
  • Turn the kit lens around. This novel trick will actually turn a regular lens into a macro lens. I have tried it by just holding the lens in front of the camera, and it works. There should be ways to properly attach it to the camera. Google it before resorting to duct tape.
  • Extension tubes. These sit between the camera and the lens and allows the lens to focus closer. They are quite cheap and many of them allow the camera to communicate with the lens.

I use the last option. My extension tubes have M42 mounts and cannot send signals to the lens, which is an old Pentax 55mm 1.8 and doesn't have any electronics anyway. With an adapter, I find it to be a cheap and well working solution with my Canon 1000D.

Pentax 55/1.8 with extension tubes and adapter.
Pentax 55/1.8 with extension tubes and adapter.

Start Shooting

The idea here is to shoot single straws of grass with raindrops on them, in full sunlight. But how often do we have that? Instead of waiting for rain, which is a total waste of time, just carry it with you! Get out there and bring a spray bottle with water along. Find a nice patch of grass (actually, only a single straw should do it) and apply until rainy-looking. To make things even more interesting, place a colorful object, a flower for example, behind the grass you are shooting as a background. As we all know, the only way to take interesting pictures is by shooting from awkard positions, so get down on the ground, find a nice straw and shoot away.

Interestingly, the background will often show up inside the drops, upside-down - which allows for even more creativity.

A 100% crop of the straw of grass above. The background - an orange tulip - is clearly visible inside the drop.
A 100% crop of the straw of grass above. The background - an orange tulip - is clearly visible inside the drop.

Here is another one, soft this time:

Grass again, soft focus.
Grass again, soft focus.

Of course, this is not limited to grass.

A dandelion after a rain (almost).
A dandelion after a rain (almost).
The tulip I used as background.
The tulip I used as background.

Final Thoughts

I noticed that my pictures looked a bit dull in color. If you have the same problem, try adjusting the color profile when sa bit to make the colors more saturated, adding that extra punch. Or try some slight adjustments with Photoshop or Gimp.

Make sure to check out more of Bryan Peterson's videos, and keep shooting!

April 7th, 2011 17:32

Good stuff, where's the Like button?

April 7th, 2011 19:11
Erik

Thanks! And to answer your question: nowhere - yet. Facebook integration should be a piece of cake though, maybe I'll have a look at it this weekend or so.

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Erik Moberg  2019