There has been a lot of rain in the Bay Area the last week. I am hoping that will help the wildflowers which are beginning in their regular locations, although it has been rather cold. I must admit that I am willing to use a spray bottle to add water drops to the petals of the flowers. But there is nothing quite like the round drops of actual dew, rain and fog.
The Spanish Broom along the Fairfax-Bolinas Road coming down from Mount Tamalpias in Marin Country was laden with rain drops most of the week. There aren’t too many places to pull over and park, but when you can you will be able to fill your fame easily with dynamic images as you walk along the road.
In addition to the broom, milk maids, star lilies, bushes, grass, lush green and a few Douglas Iris the spider webs were also weighed down with dew drops. These are very challenging because the slightest breeze makes them seem like they are performing the Nut Cracker Ballet with all that bouncing around. When you get very close I also like the way the orbs on the web look like planets set in some undiscovered universe.
I used a 100 mm macro lens with a 20mm extension tube to get in close to the drops. When you run the focus you can see that the Spanish Broom Bushes behind the spider web is reflected (up side down) in each dew drop. I needed a fairly shallow depth of field to be able to both prevent blur from the slight breeze and to keep the background out of focus. The comprise I needed to make was to not be able to hold the focus in all the water drops on the web. You would have very narrow depth of field this close even at f/32.
The over cast and drizzly day provided wonderful light for this subject. I shot this image at 1/80 of a second, f 4.5 at ISO 400. I changed angles ever so slightly to change the back ground colors. I liked this one the best that gave me a yellowish color created by the out of focus broom blossoms and the stone hillside behind them. A busy background would not work with this shot. Background is almost as important as the subject since it can make or break an image.
Later in the week I was still thinking of those wonderful water drops and sought other “circle” shapes. The second shot is a close up of a beaded box. I used the shallowest depth of field possible with my macro lens – f 2.8. This kept less than one row of the beads and the connecting wire in focus and as you went out from this row they became more and more out of focus.
I used a ring light flash, 2 stops under exposed, to get enough light on the subject and produce the circle of light at the top and the bottom – which is just the shape of the aperture. I like the combination of colors and the diagonals that the beaded rows provided. Often an out of focus foreground doesn’t work – not so here!