One of Photography's Greatest Gifts

A colorful stained glass window, photographed up nice and close, at the Daylesford Convent in Daylesford, Australia.

One of photography's greatest gifts is that it teaches us to see the world in a different way. Fast shutter speeds allow us to freeze fast moving action and, in so doing, capture a moment in time, in a way that our eye and brain can't. Likewise, lenses provide us with perspectives beyond the way we would normally perceive the world. Perhaps the best example of that is the macro lens as it reveals a world of detail that would otherwise be lost to us big folk as we walk over, past or through it. Oh! to be a child again.

Actually the above photo wasn't made with a macro lens, but it is a close up photo. I made it with the lovely Canon 50 mm f/1.2 L series lens. My point is that, by moving in close, its possible to isolate the subject from its surroundings and, with careful composition, emphasize its inherent design.

The problem is when you decide you want to keep as much of the scene in focus as possible. In this example I had to employ an aperture of f/16 with a 50 mm focal length at a camera to subject distance  of around 75 cm (i.e., 2 ½ feet).  

The image depicts a detail within a stained glass window. Regular visitors to this site will know that I love stained glass windows. As is so often the case when photographing this particular subject matter I was without a tripod. Not ideal for macro photography, where the tolerance between an acceptably sharp and an out of focus subject is really narrow. In any case steady hands and the lens's image stabilization brought home the bacon.

The window itself is part of the beautiful Daylesford Convent in the town of Daylesford about a 1 ½ hour drive from Melbourne. Its well worth a visit if you're in the area. In Autumn, particularly around sunrise, the town's lake is extremely picturesque and the numerous smaller towns in the area other a variety of photo opportunities that make for a great day or weekend out and about.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru