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Jewels of Summer | by Don Komarechka
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Jewels of Summer

This was a fun shot to put together, and my first successful attempt at including a live “actor” in a water droplet refraction shot. The image was staged next to my peonies in my backyard, which is covered with ants that are hunting aphids. I gently redirect his attention to my staged image, and he explored a few blades of grass before coming to the one I was hoping for.


This is a manual focus-stack of seven frames to get the entire focus across the image. The ant was in this position for only one frame, and its various other positions needed to excluded from the focus stacking process, so extra depth from other focus points was added manually. This process can be time consuming, but with only seven frames it took less time than my average snowflake work!


The flower in the background is a rather small Osteospermum, and the blade of grass is Blue Fescue. I find that the powder coating on ornamental bluegrass works great for creating very spherical water droplets; the more spherical a water droplet, the better it acts like a lens! Place a flower in behind and voila! Flowers inside the droplets.


The flash was angled from underneath, aimed more at the background flower than the foreground so that the droplets glow as bright or brighter than the surface they are hanging off of.


If you’re interested in understanding and overcoming the technical challenges of such an image, I’ve got just the thing! July 10th I’m holding a macro photography workshop in partnership with Daytripper Photo:


This workshop is a “master class” with limited attendance. I give away all my secrets, give you tools to take home, and offer up my own award-winning gardens as the playground for the day. There will be an additional instructor so everyone will always have their questions answered quickly, and there’s likely to be some surprise giveaways too.


Macro photography is the one area of photography that offers easily-to-find creativity in an infinite fashion right at home, even with modest equipment. It all comes down to pre-visualization, experimentation, timing and a bit of luck! More image like this are surely to come. :)


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Taken on June 4, 2016