Behind the Lens: Rhythm in the Dew
I was an early adopter of digital and the wonders of Photoshop in 2002, but it was in the darkroom back in 1988 that my real love of photography developed.
The ability to influence the look and feel of an image post capture hooked me for life. Since then, I’ve learned from some very accomplished photographers in my local Photographic Society in the UK and again in Australia where I have retired a few years ago.
This image came about because I love capturing scenes which occur naturally in nature but are generally overlooked because they are too small or happen too quickly for the human eye to see them. In this instance I was exploring the refractive properties of water droplets and wanted to show the beauty that can be captured in these droplets.
Captured in a small home studio, it comprises a tendril from a passion fruit vine, with water droplets suspended on the coils and a small African Daisy placed strategically behind the droplets. Because the magnification is so great on the Canon MPE 65mm lens I used to take this, the depth of field was just 0.2 mm. To capture the necessary detail I exposed 60 images, advancing each image 0.1mm to capture everything in sharp focus.
I then aligned and focus stacked the 60 image layers in Photoshop and waited for the software to render the final image. It took the computer around 3 hours before the final render appeared on the screen! Until then it just looks a blurred mess. But when that final image pops up on the screen and you have successfully captured all that detail it becomes worth the wait.
In many ways, this was a breakthrough image for me. It has won more than 12 National and International awards, including multiple gold medals but more importantly it encouraged me to experiment more and to capture subjects using different techniques and alternate perspectives.
For me the greatest accolade I can receive is for a viewer to ask: how was that captured or how did you do that? It means that I have produced something that has captured their interest.