11.12.11, Week 17: Veins

by pbnb

A couple of months ago the photography magazine I’m subscribed to had an issue with a feature about close-up photography which got me really interested in taking some macro images. Unfortunately I’m not in the position to rush out and buy a macro lens (any donations would be welcome though!) and am currently saving for an upgrade to my standard lens so I had to opt for a budget option if I wanted to have a go. At first I looked at purchasing some extension tubes because they produce a higher quality than the other options, but even second hand they were around £100, so I settled for a set of second hand close-up filters which I managed to get for a bargain at £16.

The close-up filters, however, don’t allow good enough magnification for a true macro reproduction ratio of 1:1 on the sensor and therefore can only be called close-up. Despite this they’ve definitely given me the taste of macro photography that I was looking for without having to spend a large amount of money on a dedicated macro lens and I’ve enjoyed taking some pictures of the textures of objects around the place.

I’ve seen a few pictures of leaves lit from behind, but I thought the image would look good up close in order to show the veins of the leaf itself. On a trip to buy the groceries, my girlfriend and I went around picking up leaves from the fringes of the park we live near. I’ve never conceived of myself as being particularly arty, but I certainly felt like it when I went out picking up leaves to take pictures of; it’ll be fine as long as I don’t turn out like this.

I created a light box from an upturned uplighter (downlighter?) I have in my room and placed the dried leaf against the front of it. The leaves had been sat out in the rain for several days by the time I had collected them, so the darkness produced in the veins is partly as a result of staining from grimy Manchester water. However, the differences in light between the veins and the lighter parts of the leaves make for a great contrast in the image and I’m really pleased with the way all of the smaller veins are highlighted to show their paths. The patches of light that break through the holes and tears in the leaves further add to the texture and complexity of the image which I’m also very happy with.

The line of the main vein from bottom left to top right is an attempt to allow the viewer to get an appreciation of the curved nature of the dried leaf and also to make them take notice of the whole image. My only disappointment is that I couldn’t get a closer shot to really show the smaller veins and the texture of the surface of the leaf. I have, since taking the picture, found out that my parents have a manual focus macro lens at home which they have kindly said I can borrow. This should allow me to have a better go at taking some macro images, so hopefully some of those will appear in the near future.

I’m going to add a new aspect to my blog posts this week and that’s sharing some of the music I’ve been listening to in the week between the posts. This for a couple of reasons, firstly that I’ve been looking at a lot of blogs recently to see how I can improve my own and this is something that struck me as being a good addition, and secondly I’m as inspired by music as I am by photography so to combine the two is a logical progression of this project.


This week saw the release of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ (of Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels fame) soundtrack for the approaching American version of Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (GDT). Despite being a huge fan of the book, the original Swedish film, and Daniel Craig, who plays one of the protagonists in the American version, I am even more excited by the soundtrack.

For those of you who have seen The Social Network, the soundtrack is also by Reznor and Ross and having won the 2011 Golden Globe for the best original soundtrack gives you a sense of its standard. The pair have created over three hours of new music for GDT all of which is on the soundtrack and having downloaded the 6 track sampler from the Null Co. website (top right) promises to be an enjoyable addition to my collection of music. Needless to say, I’ve listened to it a lot and am doing so while I am typing this.


      • Date taken: 10.12.11
      • Aperture: f/8.0
      • Speed: 1/8 sec
      • ISO: 500
      • Focal length: 35mm