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Morning's Treat

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 19 December 2009 in Landscape & Rural.


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On a recent outing to Point Lobos State Reserve, I was feeling somewhat uninspired, as soft overcast light was quickly turning harsh with the approaching sun. My belief is that there are pictures to be made anywhere in nature, and part of the fun for me is in challenging myself to find them when the obvious (and the beauty of Point Lobos is very obvious) is not moving me.

An old photo saying goes: "When the sky is blank, look down." I decided to follow that mantra as I walked along one of the Reserve's southern trails past Weston Beach, and spied these innocent looking spider webs. Upon closer inspection, I realized that there were tiny dew droplets clinging to the webs, and I began to think macro.

Fortunately the air was extremely calm, but by the time I was ready to shoot, the sun had crested the hill behind this web (accounting for the highlights) and created minute thermal updrafts (due to the warming air) which caused the web to bob and weave ever so slightly.

I had just photographed an interior commercial shoot the day prior, and had my camera's ISO set high to 1250. Knowing that I could deal with the noise issues in post, I decided to leave it be in order to get a faster shutter (1/10th of a second) in hopes of salvaging the image. Fortunately it worked, and I removed what little noise was present with Nik Dfine 2.0.

This image is approximately a 2-inch section of the web (the web itself was circular and was no more than 5-inches in diameter). I used a Canon 100 mmL macro with a 36 mm extension tube at f/16 (because the web was not on a flat plane), and tried to time my exposures between the web's movement.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 3/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 1250 100 mm

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