I'm getting better at keeping those supermarket pots of fresh herbs alive and well on the kitchen windowsill. The trick is to repot them into a larger pot with some half-decent compost. However I always seem to be undone by aphid infestations. I have a lovely bushy basil plant right now but it's literally crawling with aphids so I suppose it'll have to go in the bin. Either that or I accept that the basil on my pasta will be contributing protein as well as leafy goodness.

At least it makes an interesting subject for some macro photography! So it's out with the Sigma 105mm macro lens and my tripod and away we go. I have a couple of tips to impart, with photographic evidence to back them up.

When you're doing macro work the tiniest movement can ruin the photo. And I do mean the tiniest amount of movement. On the left is a photo taken by simply pressing the shutter button, which has come out disappointingly blurry, whereas on the right I've used both a 5 second self-timer and a delayed exposure: a feature of the Nikon D300 where the mirror goes up then it waits another second or so before actually taking the picture. Note that both these shots are taken with a sturdy tripod and the same exposure settings (1/10s, f11).

AphidMacroComparison
The picture on the right is clearly sharper. This is because the vibrations from my hand pressing the shutter button and from the reflex mirror flipping out of the way have had time to die down before the picture was taken. This is a crop at 50%, so there's even more detail to be had at 100%. A good way to appreciate the ever-present vibrations, even when working on a tripod, is to turn on Live View on the camera and zoom right in to 100%. You can see the jitter due to vibration right on the LCD screen of your DSLR, and just how much it is affected by simply touching the camera or tripod.
Here's another shot, with an evil looking beastie in the middle and a cute little one at the bottom.
BasilAphids 6552
[Incidentally, this is clearly the best title for a blog post I've ever come up with.]

1 Comment

  1. Same infestation has happened to me but I washed them off in the sink! Crazy looking insects!
    p.s. Hilarious blog title!

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