Yesterday (at ridiculously early o’clock) morning I joined two chums for a shoot in an area allowed to grow wild to encourage natural regeneration. We were after anything really but dragonflies and damselflies in particular. These are critturs I have never really tried photographing seriously before and I was mentored by Alec Stewart, a good friend and, to me, a real expert in this field. Out of all the hints, tips and help I was given yesterday one tip rose large – the use of live view to focus with.
It is such a simple and obvious technique when I thought about it – yet with my landscape work I had not really given it thought, so, now that I do, I pass this on in the hope it may help you too.
When your composition is lined up (in my case a very still and dew laden common blue damselfly) flip the camera into live view. Then carefully press the magnify button and place the focus box/circle/area to the critical area of the shot – I mostly aimed for the head but this may vary depending on just what you are photographing. Make sure the focus mode is in MANUAL when doing this for best results. Auto focus will hunt for a subject in poor or low light, especially if it is moving (as my subjects were – blown gently on reeds). Remember even a very GENTLE movement in macro photography will seem like a seismic disaster when looking through the screen!
Use a cable release or self timer and, when you feel the area covered is pin sharp – shoot!
This gave me an excellent return in terms of sharp pics and I was delighted with the results.
Give it a go – I am SURE your photography will improve.
PS – do be aware that this will mash your battery so always charge up before you leave and take a spare too. (no, I didn’t and don’t ask awkward questions)