The Small Forest

The Small Forest

The forest may seen quite uniform when viewed from six feet above ground, but close up and at ground level, there is an small wonderland. I found this spot just off the road when walking to Granholmstoppen. The first visit didn't go all that well - I got two shots, but was unprepared for the very short duration the sunlight stayed in the same place, so I missed some really good shots. I also hadn't figured out how to reliably use AF tracking to place the focus where I wanted it. (More about that below.)

What I did get out of my first visit was knowledge about the spot, and also a fairly exact time for when to return: Sometime between 1810 and 1815, I could expect the light to be right. There was some uncertainty in the time as the path of the sun across the sky changes from day to day, and one also has to factor in things such as clouds that can change the light. But at least I knew approximately when the sun would shine in between the trees. As it were, "right light" lasted for about half a minute.

All macro shots were taken with a Panasonic DMC-TZ7/ZS3. This is how I do the macro shots:

  1. Select Normal Picture.

  2. Select AF macro.

  3. Select AF tracking.

  4. Select 2s Self Timer, because you're likely to move the camera by pressing the shutter button. This way, you have two seconds to get the framing right again. You can select ten seconds as well, but be aware that you may not have ten seconds - I had about thirty in total, and I wanted to try a couple of compositions.

  5. Select Burst Mode, unless you are shooting at shutter speeds faster than 1/100th of a second. The image stabilizer doesn't work very well; unlike the standard situation, where camera rotation dominates, translation (moving the camera up/down and left/right) is a significant factor at these short distances. The stabilizer simply can't compensate for the change in camera position.

  6. Get the camera close to the subject and compose the shot.

  7. Once you've decided what the picture should look like, rotate the camera and lock the AF tracking on the part you want in focus.

  8. Recompose and push the shutter button halfway. If the camera doesn't focus on the right part, try using another point for AF tracking, or move the camera further away from the subject. I've noticed that the TZ7 sometimes have problems focusing on off-center objects near the minimum distance.

  9. Press the shutter button all the way down. Fix any errors in composition caused by pressing the button (a slight move of the camera makes a big difference here) before the three-frame burst goes off.

If everything worked well, you should now have between one and three great photos on your memory card.

An overview of the "Small Forest" area. Beams of sunshine hitting the forest floor at Järvafältet, Stockholm.

An overview of the "Small Forest" area. The previous four shots were all taken from the area at the bottom right of this photo. The narrow slit between the trees that the sun shines in through is seen clearly.

2010-08-24 18:17

macro, photography, tech