I guess I post a photo of this flower every year:

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

Dewdrop (Dalibarda repens)

because it is one of my favorites. Every year I post this, I say the same thing – that this is the flower that taught me how to use a camera.

I used to have a Canon A85, which was a nice point-and-shoot, but it absolutely could not capture a decent image of this flower when left to its own automatic devices. Also, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I learned a few things right away: don’t use flash for macro shots. Also, use the macro setting when taking a macro shot. Also, “macro” means “close to the subject.” I also learned not to use the zoom in a macro shot.

These days, I put the camera about an inch from any macro subject – or how ever close I can get and fill the frame.

Those were the easy lessons. The harder ones were to set the exposure time manually, what the ISO setting does (I set mine as low as I can), and what the f-stop does (I try to max that out, even though a lot of people like low f-stops for macros – I’m not one of those people!)

With the f-stop maxed and the ISO minimized, that means the exposure time has to be long, and long exposures blur unless the camera is held perfectly still. So I use a tiny tripod. But when I press the button, the camera shakes, and that can blur the image too. So I make it wait two seconds after I release the button before it takes the picture.

Lastly (for now), if the camera won’t autofocus on the subject because it’s too small, I place my finger in the frame as near the subject as I can, and then let the AF do its thing by pressing the “take the picture” button halfway down. Then I move my finger out of the way. If I bumped the subject, I wait for it to stop moving. Then I press the button the rest of the way down.

But it was this plant that taught me all of that.