What’s a portrait artist to do during a pandemic in the midst of social distancing, after having exhausted all possible subjects (namely, my children and our dog)?
Luckily, my friends at Sigma sent me a 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro lens (Canon EF mount) to experiment with.
This promoted me to stop, take a breath, and begin to take notice of all the tiny miracles around me. It was time to come out of my comfort zone and try something completely new.
I focused on nature. And that’s where this portrait girl fell in love with macro photography.
Off I went to explore springtime in Michigan in my neighborhood. Surrounded by the emergence of buds on the trees and insects coming out of hibernation, I felt inspiration everywhere. I felt like a detective. I vowed to leave no stone unturned.
Spring is a time of rejuvenation. Spring is the season of hope and new beginnings, as the earth seems to come alive again. Nature’s consistency offered me a much needed sense of security during this insecure time we are living through.
Because of my environmental portrait work, I know that spending time among nature reduces my stress. It makes me feel better emotionally, reducing my heart rate, blood pressure and production of stress hormones. This is just the medicine I needed.
Shooting macro forces me to think of camera settings like never before. Focus is much more precise, somewhat tricky, and takes a lot of practice. Even just a slight wind is a definite hindrance.
Images from my first foray into macro were created at f/11 – f/13, a high ISO to compensate for a very high shutter speed. In portraiture, I’m used to shooting with a wide open aperture, so this took some mental adjusting!
Is there room for improvement in my images? Most definitely. The point is that I tried something brand new, and it’s keeping me feeling creative and inspired.
On what feels like the 74,532nd day of sheltering in place, like me, you will likely find yourself desperate to pick up your camera and create. In this inhuman state of shaggy hair, rapidly graying roots, too many trips to the refrigerator, an overabundance of Zoom meetings, every-day-is-Groundhog-Day mindset, you may even decide to do something radically different. Don’t be afraid to take that leap!
A special thank you to Sigma and to Heather Larkin for her critique and guidance.