Are my standards too high?

A Hoverlfy suckles from a flower

Day 26, and after 4.5 hours in the field I am left with just 14 five star (publishable) shots. Is this good enough?

At the start of the macro challenge I was lucky if I had one usable shot a night, but I feel let down with 14. I think it’s because of the time and effort spent out in the field today – after a month of using the 100mm Canon EF macro lens I expected more from myself on a day devoted to macro photography in one of the UK’s most beautiful woodlands. However, today was the first time in a month that I had used the macro lens on my 40D camera opposed to Ali’s Canon 7D and I have to tell you, I felt and saw a difference.  I used to be so familiar and comfortable with my Canon 40D, but having had 26 days of intensive use of the 7D it was a shock to the system to go back to my 40D. It was lighter, it felt ‘less substantial’ and it did not seem to be as responsive  in low light situations as the 7D, and I missed having ISO 2000 – now, this is a lot coming from a woman who, prior to the macro challenge, hated going above 600ISO if she could help it!

Am I making excuses for a shoddy day’s work – possibility, possibly not!?  I have been reflecting tonight about the fact that the second time you take a newly discovered subject or style of photography it’s far harder than the first time. For example, last weekend I had a ball exploring insect macro properly for this first time, but I now realise that the surprise and proud feeling you have when you capture a new style of photography can never be replicated – and you find yourself being so much harder on yourself the second/ third/ forth time round etc.

Today I focussed on wasps, bees, hover flies and blue bottles. Two of my favourite shots are detailed in this blog ( above and below), the rest are now available in my macro gallery. It’s appropriate for me to highlight that I  have turned a lot of today’s shots into black and white – and in several cases have also left the coloured versions in the gallery for you to compare and contrast which is more successful. I’ll be honest as to why I have done this

i) I am intrigued to see what nature’s mst colourful insects look like in monorchrome

ii) Black and white is very forgiving when you might have made a few mistakes out in the field 😉

I leave you today with a few thoughts:

iii) How often we (I!) often overlook the local forests / cityscapes / parks / wildlife as a source of inspiration

iv) How we can take a skill for granted – it’s only when it’s challenged that you find it most apparent and frustrating!

v) When experimeting regularly with photography it is quite possible to learn something new everyday – embrace it!

vi) Ladybirds are damn hard photography subjects!

vii) A day shooting insects in macro makes you itch the whole evening after (I swear they are crawling on me!)

A wasp marches across a flower

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