While walking the shady trail at Burgoyne Bay with Cameron the wonder westie, we came upon a patch of sunlight with some healthy dandelions. One had already gone to seed. And the sun created some marvellous catchlights*.
Behind the scenes:
Photo:Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, ISO 800, f/11, 1/800 sec
I took along only one lens on this walk, a 100 macro. It’s an ‘inexpensive’ fun lens that seems to get the most use during spring.
Depth of focus can be tricky when working very close to a subject. In this case I wanted the dandelion in focus but the ground out of focus. Sometimes I use the Simple DoF (simple depth of field) iPhone app as a guide. If I had it in this case it would have told me that on this camera with this lens using an aperture of f/11 at about two and one half feet, would give me one inch of sharp focus.
To ensure a sharp image with no camera shake, I bumped up the ISO (‘film speed’ for us old timers) to 800. No problem with noise (‘grain’) on today’s modern digital cameras.
Catchlights are simply the bright reflection of a light source; in this case, the sun.
You can often see catchlights in a person’s eyes, particularly in portrait photos. In natural light portraits, for example with window light, you sometimes see a bright spot in the eyes. Portraits with catchlights often seem more alive than those without.
We’re not talking about ‘red-eye’, which looks awful and is normally caused by having a flash too close to the lens.
The shape of the catchlight is determined by the shape, size, and proximity of the light source. In this first example, I’m at grass level looking up at the baby so the reflection of the sky is creating a type of catchlight:
In the next example, catchlights in Rosie’s eyes are produced with studio flash units and umbrellas:
In the last example, musician Zav RT is standing near a window. The catchlights are created by a white reflector which is bouncing the window light back at her face. No other light sources were used.