A Lens for Your Lens

In my last post about early morning shots, I noted that dewdrops are often prominent on insects in the wee morning hours when the bugs are still sleepy, so to speak. Dewdrops or raindrops, such as the ones on this butterfly weed flower, exhibit the property of refraction and are popular subjects among macro photographers – flower shots in particular. Flowers are naturally easier to line up with the drops. The drop refracts or bends the light waves that pass through it, acting as a lens itself.

As you can see in my flower shots (and as in most macro photography) depth of field is the big factor; on the left shot, the big drops are in focus, and on the right some of the smaller drops and the flower’s stigma have the focus [Note: this is easier to see in the larger versions; click the image to see it in an image carousel]. The “easy” way around this is focus stacking; otherwise you can stop down the aperture, but there’s not much else to do but make the crucial decision of what to focus on. With the flower fully in view here, it would be ideal to have more of it in focus, but I prefer the one on the left mainly because the big water drops are more striking. There is definitely something uniquely beautiful about water; it can mesmerize and astonish; it can also comfort. I love to see a big drop of water uniquely refracting by chance out in the course of an exploration; it’s like finding a letter from a friend that you weren’t expecting to be in your mailbox.

ants on butterfly weed flower

No raindrops, just ants on a butterfly weed flower. For the heck of it.


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