Hi ho art friends. Having experimented with my Kenko extension tubes, my favorite combination for handheld macro shooting is my Canon 50 mm lens + the 12 mm extension tube.

I took a 30 minute walk around the block in the late afternoon on July 10 to capture the flora. There is so much to photograph in a 2 block radius around our home and it’s a great excuse to get outside, take a walk and practice shooting and focusing in manual mode.

On this day, I took nearly 100 photos in 30 minutes, I tried to get multiple angles of each plant I shot.

I found three planters with sort of grungy snow peas. A couple weeks ago, Seattle had record highs, over 100 degrees for several days. Probably didn’t help these peas much. Or perhaps they’re on the second bloom.

Whatever the case, here are three snow peas. All processed in Lightroom and using the Tiny Details presets. I tweak the presets a little – I tend to prefer a dark, dreamy image. Each image was duplicated and a pretty low high pass run – the first and second images were masked before I ran high pass to reduce the noise you get with high pass. My speculation on this is because it’s macro photograph and so much of the image is blurred, that is causing the high pass noise.

Nope. Didn’t look that up. Just guessing because I have about 20 more images from this set to process. I’ve got my system down and I don’t care about the mechanics of high pass noise.

The first Pea Vine used Tiny Details Preset 35 and Tiny Details overlay 7.

Pea Vine #2 used Tiny Details preset 14 overlay 13.

Pea Vine #3 used preset 19 and overlay 17. I ran high pass on the entire layer because I didn’t want to fiddle around with masking all the curves. I tried selecting the subject, but the pea vine curls were a bit too much for it. The select subject option works well when the image is simple or when there is enough distance between the subject and the background.

I also used three Kate Petiet arty mesh brushes from Awake class goodies. For these stamped layers, I create a new transparent layer, stamp in 100% in black. These brushes are inky looking, so I was able to use one brush per image, overlapping the stamp to create a grungy vignette without dodging and burning.

I love a 50% grey dodge and burn layer in my composited imagery. For these macro canvases, I’m finding the stamped burn layer more interesting.

The stamped layer opacity was set to multiply very low, less than 20%. Just enough to create some complexity around the edges without saying: “Hey, look at this stamping!”

The alternative method for the stamped burn layer is to create a new 50% grey layer, stamp in black, set the layer to overlay or soft light (whichever looks better) then dialing the opacity down to your liking.

Expect more posts from this day’s walk when you see them.

Happy creating!