Oh please take your mind out of the trash!

I have added a new category called “Getting Down and Dirty”.  This by know means, means I have veered off into the land of pornography – sorry to disappoint. :)

One of the things I love about my ever growing photography skill, is the ability to use it creatively. It’s my new found medium to express what I see and feel. When I see things that I admire or love in visual form, like a child, I have a burning desire to explore it. I can get quite excited, but often can be very disappointed by my efforts.

Macro photography has always fascinated me, possibly due to my days in a Lab with microscopes…when you see an atom on an electron microscope, you can only ever be in awe.

Although I have no formal training in photography, when I have seen something that sparks my interest, off I will go with gusto with my tools at hand and try and reproduce it.  Until recently it was very hit and miss!

What’s this got to do with getting down and dirty?
Well, a lovely man came into my life, who’s work I truly admire, he is a fellow photographer  one who can only be described as an artist of the flower world. I can’t say that I had a favourite photographer, like so many will often reel off the likes of  Ansel Adams, until I saw  his images and I fell in love.

I love the beauty of flowers, their colours, shapes, their smells and well, to get a good shot of them you have to get down on your knees on the dirt. Whether you can get up again is another thing!

Now, you might think it’s easy taking a photo of a flower, yes it is, very easy, but to make it look and feel alive with that  je ne sais quoi  that makes you go oooh, it takes a special kind of eye.

After seeing one of his photos that made me quiver with such excitement, I decided that I would try it for myself! Oh, hell ain’t that easy at all!  Out I went into my garden in search for something that looked like moss with long seedy pods. There I was nose to ground checking all my moss…nothing!  :(   I wondered where they had been found? Miffed I gave up, I didn’t have a macro lens anyway…

I don’t like to be defeated by something so simple and I think the Universe heard my kerfuffle so decided to give a helping hand.  As luck would have it, my brother-in-laws birthday was coming up and my sister wanted to buy him a camera. It turns out that a DSLR bundle pack,  had what she wanted for less and what I wanted, a telescopic lens with macro (bonus) and nearly £70 cheaper for me!  Awesome! So glad my son works in Jessops!

Ashridge Moss Attempt 1
Fstop F5/6

Now almost fit to bust, I couldn’t wait to get out and use it. Dragging my dear girl friend who is a professional photographer and as scatty as me, out to Ashridge woods…we were on a mission! Hunting for moss. Low and behold the first tree, which had fallen had the moss on its base!  I was so chuffed! Still it’s not as easy as that…for a start I have very shaky hands and find it very hard to hold weight for a certain amount of time due to the Fibromyalgia, I just get pain and dead arms. So at the time I was just getting to learn how to hold the new lens in a comfortable way, it’s damn heavy!

At this point you maybe wondering why I didn’t have a tripod, well, I just sold mine to a friend to get the cash to buy a Manfrotto. Which I have now but not at the time.  My friend and I only realised when we got there that we could have used hers! Duh…we did improvise quite a bit with various fork like sticks tho! :)

My efforts were I have to say extremely dirty.  As I navigated around the base of this tree to get a clear shot, there was a slight problem…I was getting covered in mud, and I couldn’t focus in on the moss. I needed to be a least a metre away! Arrgh, I ended up reverting to my 18-55mm lens. It was a bit better.

Ashridge Moss Attempt 2
Fstop F5/6

To cut a long story short…my lovely friend noticed something that I was doing or not as the case maybe and she said, ” do you know how to change your F stop?”.  Urm, I looked at her sheepishly and said, “I have heard of this elusive F stop but changing it, I have never managed it myself on my camera, I have no idea where to!”.  She burst into laughter, in fact she nearly pee’d herself as after she showed me and I preceded to run about like a mad woman whooping!  OMG! I have only had the camera 4 years! All these new settings my whole world just opened in an instant!
Ashridge Moss Attempt 3
Fstop F/8

Yes, shamefully for the last four years, I have taken a lot of my photos at F5.6 and only changing the other twiddly dial.  Can you tell I am in to the mechanics of the camera? Along with this new insight I gained a new nick name as my girlfriend now considers me  “special”.  Hmm, not sure I like that one but I guess I deserve it for taking so much time to get to grips with my equipment. What can I say, I don’t read manuals either! :)

So, as a result of this new wonder in my life, I went out again in my garden and found that the moss by now had pods on them. Seeing some on a step, I tried with the macro on a tripod, but still had to be so far away, I would have needed a ladder just to see through the lens. There were more horizontally so yes, you guessed it…laid flat on the ground using the 18-55mm lens. Not brilliant or majorly in focus, but I did shoot something that looked pretty much close to my mentors work.  For me that was enough. I had conquered the world of dirt and all it’s amazing delights!

Home Moss Attempt 4
Fstop F/8

So, hopefully now, my new category will start to grow and I will develop the eye of an artist.

Thankfully, I fixed the washing machine to be able to cope with the dirty clothes (without a manual i might add! ;) ).

About the author

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    Snow White
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    Fiery flower
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    Fire and Ice

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