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Glowing Astrantia – Shot on iPhone | by Don Komarechka
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Glowing Astrantia – Shot on iPhone

When we were exploring some home décor options at a local florist, I spotted some Astrantia flowers in the fridge – and I knew from past experience that they would be a star performer under a UV light. The fluoresce brightly and take on the look of a sea creature! All you need is a UV flashlight.


The flashlight here was the Convoy S2 – quite intense longwave UV output which IO have found works great for flowers. The camera was simple: just my basic iPhone 13 Pro with no extra lenses to focus closer – the built in macro mode is wonderful! To take full advantage of this mode I use the Halide app, which offers fine-tuned manual focus control that also includes focus peaking. It’s amazing just how close you can get to subjects!


Keep in mind that it’s a “wide angle” style of macro work, which isn’t perfectly suited to all subjects (water droplet refraction photography is workable, but it’s tricky). The RAW capabilities are more limited compared to my “proper” cameras as well, and macro pushes against diffraction limiting pretty hard on a small sensor. Still, all I needed my phone, a flower, and a UV flashlight to make this image.


You can see a bit of movement in the flower – they don’t really sit still! Even though the exposure was fast, motion still made it into the frame. On the right edge of the image the motion is more horizontal in places, in the middle of the frame it appears more vertical. Rather than editing this out, I left it in – maybe it makes the flower feel more alive?


Critical details were enhanced with Topaz Gigapixel AI, particularly the “low resolution” mode which worked the next in this scenario. It did a better job of smoothing out artifacts and noise while keeping and enhancing the critical details. Most of my images now run through this software – I haven’t found a downside of adding it as a permanent component of my editing workflow.


Who knew macro photography could be so simple? If you’d like to read more about all of my macro photography techniques, you should take a look at my latest book: - would look great wrapped up under the Christmas tree! :D 384pg hardcover book with nearly 90,000 words of comprehensive photographic instruction and hundreds of images to make it excel as a coffee table book as well!

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Taken on December 9, 2021