Thursday, March 11, 2010

An evening with the dandelions

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow

~ Casting Crowns, 'Who Am I'

Dandelions are in full bloom across campus, it seems. Andrew says it's because of the clement weather.

Prior to Plant Diseases lab on Tuesday, I'd parked my car right in front of a dandelion plant growing beside a drain near the Zoo Museum. I decided to return after lab to shoot it.

Some of the results look as if they're waiting to climb up on one of my walls (real walls, not the Facebook imitations), nested securely in frames.

I like how the fragile dandelion stands out against the dark, coarsely-textured wall.

A square, close-up crop of the first image.

Dandelion flowers. They are practically clumps of naked seeds with fine hairs at one end, waiting to be dispersed by the wind.

I was pleasantly surprised to spot other forms of life on the little plant, such as this spider.

There was also a caterpillar on the dandelion.

Dandelion buds. I like the pseudo-soft focus effect.

The photographer in action.

As I drove up past the Zoo Museum that evening, I met Dr Sase, and over the one hour of shooting I crossed paths with Prof Sofian's Chen and Weng, Pn Yati, and Dr Azidah.

There were also several pesky mosquitoes, but photographers on a subject (like dogs on a scent) are usually oblivious to such distractions.

* * *

Tech details:

D50 digital SLR
105mm f/2.5 AI-s manual focus lens
+4 close-up filter
SB-600 flash unit
Cheap plastic tripod
Phottix Tetra remote flash system

Gorillapod and P5000 digital camera for the last shot

Because I used a manual lens, the D50 could not register any information except shutter speed, which typically ranged between 1/250 sec and 1/500 sec, with a few at 1/125 sec. The 1/500 sec maximum flash-sync speed is one of the reasons why the D50 is superior to the D3, and in fact why Nikon is superior to Canon.

I generally used apertures between f/5.6 and f/11, with perhaps a few at f/16; a combination of flash and fast shutter speeds accentuated the short depth-of-field, and also produced the black background in some of the pictures.

All the shots were manually focused, partly because I used a manual lens, but also because it is normal to focus macro shots manually.

If you look too closely, there's some chromatic aberration (rainbow effect because of imperfect lens glass), but then again: pictures are more than mere pixels, and... nobody ever stares that close.

* * *

p.s. I just noticed this morning that the sun is brilliant at 8.00 a.m. in college. Must get to work on that sometime.


Lish said...


siedne said...

"Some of the results look as if they're waiting to climb up on one of my walls (real walls, not the Facebook imitations)..."

Aiyo, Ben's lameness has gotten worse :p

SimianD said...

Denise: You should follow me on Google Buzz. There's more lameness there!

jiaaaaa said...

i tried taking pictures of those small flowers yesterday morning. haha.. failed la. :P