I may of told you all of this before, so forgive me but I started taking photographs seriously in 2007 when I got my first digital SLR camera, something I had wanted to do for many years, but hadn't the time for or the money. However with the availability of digital cameras and a gift from my Dad after we lost Mum I was determined to learn to use the camera properly. I took a course with the Open College of Arts as I was still teaching full time and the college offers a totally flexible course and as long as you keep in contact with your tutor you can take as long as you need over your assignments.
I really did not know how much I didn't know about photography and really enjoyed the assignments. The course was called the Art of Photography so as well as learning about the technical aspects of photography the tasks were concerned with colour, composition and conveying a message.
I had enjoyed taking close-up shots of flowers with my point and shoot digital camera and so I treated myself to a second-hand macro lens. You really need to have your camera on a tripod with a macro lens as you often use a slow shutter speed and need to eliminate camera shake. Focusing on the right spot is also crucial and really only possible with a tripod.
Although I normally use automatic focusing, when you are using the macro lens the area in focus (depth of field) is very shallow so it is necessary to use manual focus.
In this clematis you can see that the furthest stamens are out of focus, it takes me a lot of concentration to focus on the right spot.
With a high resolution camera it is also possible to make a tight crop to give an even greater close-up. My lens gives good quality clarity does not allow me to get really close, so by cropping I can get the details I want.
When I see photographs like these, I still can't believe I took them! They still give me such a thrill which is why I love my camera so much. Don't you love these lilac buds?
For those of you interested my camera is a NikonD80.