On branching out by focusing in

By | 2012-05-02T21:15:56+00:00 Apr 30th, 2012|

I had a really hard time with this shot on a lot of levels (more on that below) but I’m posting it for two primary reasons – firstly, it’s #macromonday (curated by the G.L.O.M. – +Kelli Seeger Kim, +Kerry Murphy, and +Jennifer Eden) and secondly, I had the privilege of shooting alongside two simply amazing photographers and people – +Varina Patel and +Jay Patel. Now, Jay is all cool ‘n the gang but Varina is really where it’s at when it comes to Landscape and Macro (that one’s for you, Varina :) )

But in all seriousness, the amount of inspiration and knowledge that I gleamed off of these two people is staggering. After spending the day chatting about Macro photography with Varina, I found myself itching to dust off my ol’ Canon 100mm Macro lens and see what I see.

Now, yesterday was also the 2nd +PDX Photowalk ( #pdxpw ) and it was the perfect time to try and expand my horizon, as it were, by getting nice and close with my subject. To say that I was so outside of my comfort zone is quite the understatement.

Everything from what to shoot, how to shoot it, and how to process it were thrown out of whack. I kept trying to summon the lessons Varina shared with me about effective composition and aperture. Jay shared some fantastic tips on using color effectively to determine what your focal point should be. I tried to apply all of what I gleamed here and I ended up walking away with this shot of a tiny ladybug on a branch.

I deliberately waited for the bug to walk over to the long edge of the branch, thereby giving me a nice cross section for my plane of focus (did I get this right, Varina?). I also dimmed the brightness of the background to help let the ladybug stand out but did I dim it too much, Jay?

So many questions surrounding such a simple subject.

But here is the key!
Instead of being frustrated and agitated with not knowing what I’m doing here, I am excited and hopeful. I can’t wait to go out and experiment more with this type of photography. And I can’t express how lucky I am to have made two new friends who are so talented and creative – it is a real driving force to become better at this.

Growth is king here, people.

In terms of processing
Not much going on here. I selectively applied the Daily Multivitamin effect to the ladybug and the branch that it was walking on. I also added two custom vignettes to draw focus to the ladybug. All done in +onOne SoftwarePerfect Effects 3.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. kimberly pemberton April 30, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

    okay.. i admit it, i didn't read your novel description, but i do love this 'lil lady. :)

  2. Jo Dunaway April 30, 2012 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I enjoyed your description, +Brian Matiash , the photowalk was made real to those of us who weren't fortunate to be along. Good shot!

  3. Sandra Parlow April 30, 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I had some fun chasing lady bugs around, myself, recently! they are a challenge – but such a fun one! Nice shot Brian!! one day I'll meet and learn from the greats!!

  4. Brian Matiash April 30, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

    +kimberly pemberton It was kinda long, no? I get carried away easily. :)

  5. Kelli Seeger Kim April 30, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Jay and Varina are AWESOME! And what a pretty little gal, this ladybug! I have difficulty getting macros of bugs. They don't hold as still as the flowers. *grin*

  6. Jay Patel April 30, 2012 at 10:49 am - Reply

    I was going to see excellent…but I see an obvious bias towards +Varina Patel. So instead you will have to settle for well done. LOL!!

    Just kidding too bad we had to catch a plane and could not stick around for your photowalk. Next time.

  7. Brad Sloan April 30, 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    At some point, I would have started yelling at the ladybug to get where I wanted it to.

  8. Varina Patel April 30, 2012 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Heck yes, +Brian Matiash! You got it right! The bug is in perfect focus – and everything else is soft… so your eye goes directly to the point of interest in the image. The blurred background serves to simplify the image, which you know I love. ;) You let the bug occupy the limelight all by itself – leaving the rest of the image outside the plane of focus.

    The colors are complimentary – so the red bug really pops against the green background. And the pretty little lady is looking toward us, with a bit of shine on her shell that gives her a "living" glow. I love that the image is just a bit dark overall – but the exposure of the bug is absolutely perfect. Exposure makes a big difference when it comes to color – and in this case, the dark greens are beautifully subtle, and the rich red really stands out.

    Just about everything we talked about is represented in this shot… and then some. ;) Excellent work. Especially the part where you say I'm more awesome than Jay.

  9. Tana Teel April 30, 2012 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Excellent! I'm totally bummed I couldn't make it the the PDX photowalk this time, but I'll go check out all the awesome shots!

  10. Joe Wilson April 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Very, very cool +Brian Matiash !

  11. Amporn Sawaengsai April 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    I love macro.

  12. Jim Denham April 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Good stuff Brian!

  13. Steve Kalman April 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Good timing for this discussion. My new (to me) 100MM Canon Micro arrived in today's mail. We have an orchid that's promising to bloom tomorrow or perhaps Wednesday, so I have little excuse for missing it.

  14. Shelly Gunderson April 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Very nice beetle capture!

  15. Kerry Murphy May 1, 2012 at 7:01 am - Reply

    I love it, +Brian Matiash! And I'm a fan of hopeful and excited. It's a good place to be.

  16. Brian Matiash May 1, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    +Kerry Murphy It really is a good place to be. :)

    When are you visiting Portland, hmmmmmmm?

  17. Kerry Murphy May 1, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash – I would LOVE to visit. My dad lived in Oregon for a bit and he's told me if I ever were to go, I may not come home. haha! I definitely need to make some plans to come in the future.

  18. Brad Sloan May 1, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Aww yeah. We might not let you go +Kerry Murphy

  19. Brian Matiash May 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    +Kerry Murphy All I can say is that your dad is right. I moved here on November 1st and I can honestly say that I don't ever see myself leaving. It's that gorgeous.

  20. Varina Patel May 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Every time we go, it gets harder to come home, +Kerry Murphy and +Brian Matiash. We'll move out there once the kids are older… and time flies, so it won't be long! I miss my mountains!

  21. Varina Patel May 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Every time we go, it gets harder to come home, +Kerry Murphy and +Brian Matiash. We'll move out there once the kids are older… and time flies, so it won't be long! I miss my mountains!

  22. Brian Matiash May 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    +Varina Patel I cannot wait until that happens – not that I want to rush the childhoods of your kids. :)

  23. Varina Patel May 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    :) I don't want to rush their childhoods either, +Brian Matiash… but they keep me so busy that time seems to fly. So, I know that 9 years will pass before I know what happened. I swear to you that we adopted Damian just yesterday… and yet he is now 9 years old! What happened to the skinny, fuzzy-headed baby? He's wearing shoes that are bigger than mine!

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