Garden photography with John Enman in any type of weather

Garden photography with John Enman in any type of weather
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Spring garden photography is always interesting in any type of weather says Enman. (Photo by: John Enman)

This past week a friend loaned me his Sigma 105 mm macro lens. I had been complaining that I was hoping to find a Canon Macro lens at the last two used camera sale, but had no luck.

We started talking about Macro lenses and he asked if I had tried the Sigma 105 mm. I said no and he said he would drop off his for me to test.

According to Sigma their 105 mm macro lens offers advanced performance for close-up photography using Sigma’s proprietary OS (Optical Stabilizer) system for handheld close-up photography. It has Special Low Dispersion lenses that provide excellent correction for all types of aberration and distortion.

The manufacturers continues saying there is a floating focusing system that moves two different lens groups in the optical path to different positions to provide excellent optical performance from infinity to 1:1 Macro and there is a HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) that ensures quiet and high-speed auto-focus as well as full-time manual focus capability.

I was looking forward to trying the lens last Monday and had walked outside on the sunny morning for some garden shots to see how well the 105 Macro focused when there was a slight breeze. As I was there I could see rain clouds moving in and, of course, happily waited with my garden for the rain.

The first rain shower only lasted for an hour or so and gave me an opportunity to rush out to photograph raindrops hanging from my gardens plants. I will say that raindrops on plants are my favourite garden subjects.

My gear for plant photography usually includes a tripod and a flash. However, this time I wanted to put this lens to the test and find out how well it grabbed focus. (I will have plenty of time to do serious macro work on the upcoming long weekend) so I selected ISO 400 with an aperture of f/4 and began my search for water droplets.

The Sigma has a wide aperture of f/2.8 but my experience is that f/2.8 is to shallow of depth-of-field for plants that might slightly move in a soft breeze. I also back up a bit more than the lenses’ closest focus. I have found that moving back gives the lens extra focusing area and I get more keepers. Even though I was using f/4 the bokeh of this lens was excellent.

I’ll mention that many photographers like 105mm for portrait photography and the Sigma 105mm lens features a rounded nine blade diaphragm that creates an attractive blur in the out of focus areas of the image. (In photography, the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image is called bokeh.)

It is fun hunting for interesting droplets of water hanging off plants and I knew there wouldn’t be much time before the breeze and more rain. I remember when most macro lenses were 50mm, so now it is great that there are longer focal lengths like the 105mm that let us photographers stand back and still get good magnification while not being forced to trample other plants when we are doing garden photography.

The garden whether just outside or door, down the street or in some convenient community location is always such a calm and interesting place to take one’s camera. And the addition of a close focusing lens opens up a new and exciting world to photograph.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at www.enmanscamera.com or [email protected].