When I got in from photographing the moon the other day (‘the other day’ being a very useful phrase I use a lot to hide just how long it sometimes takes me to write up posts – although on this occasion, it’s not actually been that long), I was still in a bit of a shooting mood, so I decided to return to a little idea I’d been toying with for a while.
When I was first playing around with macro photography, I made a few attempts to capture in extreme closeup the striking of a match. These early attempts were ill-fated; the narrow depth of field and ease with which I could wander out of it whilst trying to light a match meant that the shots were all out of focus, apart from the ones where I closed up the aperture a bit – and those were too dark.
But last weekend, I had an idea: if I lit the match from an existing source – such as, say, a candle – then I could use said existing source to check focus and exposure before the ‘actual’ shot.
So, that is what I tried. I lit a candle, and set up the shot.
I set the camera to maximum burst (which I believe is around four shots a second), and gave it a go.
I quickly discovered that the depth of field was small enough that, by focussing on the wick, the match itself was out of focus – even after closing up the aperture a bit.
However, I played around with the focus a bit, and eventually managed to get ‘the’ shot.
Not knowing whilst shooting that this would be the best of the batch, I continued to experiment around, pushing the ISO all the way to 6400 whilst closing up the aperture to f/9 (which surprisingly enough was more out of focus than the stuff at f/2.8). The most interesting shots from this little experiment are in the gallery below. Quick note – the rest of the images are as-shot; I haven’t even tweaked the white balance. And please, let me know if you prefer any of the other shots to the one I picked out as best – I’m interested to know your opinions! (Technical aside: the three images above are also in the gallery below – nothing I can do about that, sadly)