Alternately titled “When bad camera settings happen to good cakes”
It wasn’t a pretty sight, such a tasty dessert under such unpleasant gymnasium lighting. One of the perks of playing around with ideas exploring concepts as an assistant allows me moments to peruse photographic studies of ambient lighting, off-camera illumination, and the posting of my comparisons thereof.
Ever wonder “How do I take a close up photo of wedding rings?” while the bride gets into her gown, the bridesmaids finish up hair and makeup, the groomsmen are just now getting ready, the florist is on the way, the limo is a traffic jam, and the clock ticks down to the wedding ceremony…?
One of the skills I’ve found essential to wedding photography is that of flexibility. I love the spontaneity of wedding day photography. Even if I’ve photographed in the same church and reception venue for brides with the same first name two days in a row (and did a few years back) it’s never the exact same day twice.
I’ve collected a case worth of camera gear and, shiny as it all is, I don’t keep lenses or accessories long if they are not getting regular use. Enter one of my favorites – 105mm f/2.8 macro. Great lightweight telephoto lens for portraits, wedding ceremony snaps, and of course macro close up photos. When a recent bride chalked out two hours for her and her bridesmaids to have hair and makeup done at the hotel I got the macro lens out for detail shots of some seriously shiny rings.
Here’s the setup, in vivid iPhone 3G snapshot format.
Tricky thing with a telephoto macro lens – if you’re shooting straight on at your subject there’s not a lot of depth of field wide open. It takes a good deal of light to be able to stop down the aperture for more depth and still have a fast shutter speed for hand-held close-up shots. A large window and tons of diffused overcast light did the trick for lots of light. I saw the shiny black marble-esque window sill and knew it would make a sweet reflective surface to shoot on for a certain idea. Set up the rings and went to town. Here’s one of my favorites from the set of improvised macro photography setup.
Geeky gear specs: Nikon D700 with Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Macro – exposure 1/20 second at f/45(!!) at ISO 800. Balanced on window sill and lens propped with the ring box lid & bathroom tissue – use what you have at hand!