Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Unfortunate Effect of Wind on Macro

All macro photographers face a common enemy: moving air. The misconception I had about macro photography is that since I wanted a smaller depth of field, I'd be at a wider aperture, and thus a faster shutter speed. Ideally, I thought, this would minimize any blur from minor movements. Reality quickly gave me a wake-up call on that. Since I prefer shooting macro in cloudy and diffuse lighting, that knocks me down about a stop. I also want my macro shots to have as little noise as possible, which means I'm shooting at the lowest ISO I have (currently 80). In general, this gives me an average shutter speed of about 1/50. Not overly slow, especially with a tripod, etc., but slow enough for minor movements to slip in and blur my shot.

To compensate, I usually take a minimum of three exposures (more if it's windier) in the hopes that at least one will have caught the subject in a moment of stillness. But this method isn't failsafe. Here's a photo I took about five times. This was the best of the batch, and even after my best efforts and careful sharpening, the results are somewhat disappointingly blurry.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr

Overall, not a bad photo. Just another casualty in the war between macro photographers and wind.


  1. I know that battle. I read somewhere that people build wind breaks and put them up to try and stop the wind. I did try that once, and it seemed to help.

  2. Hi Andrew, it's Paolo.
    I suffered the same problem once, trying to take a shot of poppies in a wheat field. I took several shots trying to find the windless moment.... I ended up taking a landscape shot! Looks like a Klimt landscape painting and that's why i love it.

  3. Nice shot artefice!

    And Gallow - I'll have to try that out; I've been toying with the idea for some time now.


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