Creative Photography Ideas – Dew Drops
As we move into autumn and winter, morning dew and frosts become quite common. If you aren’t a very early riser then you can often still catch morning dew after the frosts begin to melt! The tiny water droplets on blades of grass and leaves can make fascinating subjects for creative photography. Later in the morning after sunrise, the sunlight often makes the dew sparkle, making grassy fields look like they are shimmering. It can be well worth photographing them from a distance, using the dew to add to a landscape image, for example. In this post, however, I want to explore getting up close and seeing what inspiration we can find.
Close up photography or macro photography can be a great way of freshening up your photography. We can get so used to seeing grand vistas and images taken at eye level that when we see something bigger than it normally is to our naked eye it can be quite effective. Macro photography enables us to explore the world of small things. We can look at details, find patterns and colours, for example. It can help us to appreciate our world in a whole new way. Sometimes it can be a good idea to try both wide views and macro photography in the same place. We can then get a sense of the place from the very large to the very small – really immersing ourselves in what is around us.
Have you ever noticed the furry or hairy textures on many insects, for example? Macro images help us to learn more and see more. Dew drops can sometimes end up revealing what look like mini worlds – a bit like snow-globe scenes. If you can get the right light, angle and go close enough, you can find a scene inside the little bubble of water. You may find it sparkles as the sunlight catches the edges, creating a little upside down world that looks like it has its own mini sun!
Dew drop “world” and sparkle on grass
These images were taken hand-held using a 105mm macro lens. Ideally, this sort of thing should be done using a tripod, but I didn’t have one with me. Also, it would have helped a lot if I had something to put in the way of the wind to stop the grass getting blown around…. but I didn’t! This just goes to show that you don’t always have to have the “perfect” gear to get a reasonable image. Yes, ideally you want a good macro lens, a tripod, a wind-shield of some kind (maybe another person!) and maybe even a flashgun. But you can manage to get something you can enjoy with less kit. If you don’t have a macro lens, there are a few cheaper options that cost much less than buying a dedicated macro lens. You could buy an extension tube, which you use with a normal lens to enable you to focus closer to your subject. Or, cheaper still, you could buy a macro filter – essentially a piece of glass that goes on the front of your lens to enable you to focus more closely (there are different strengths available). Extension tubes and filters have the downside of not allowing you to focus further away any more, but if you have had enough of close-ups, just take them off and you’re back to normal.
Dew drops also can make interesting bokeh patterns. This refers to the out of focus areas in an image. With dew drops, you can get bright circles in the out of focus areas when using a wide aperture (small f number). This can be done by focussing on something further away to get bokeh at the front of the image or by focussing on something very close and causing things further away to blur. Here are a few examples of using dew drops to create bokeh patterns:
Most of these images weren’t created using “ideal” kit. Some I like more than others, but they were all fun to create. I hope this inspires you to try and make use of the morning dew and come up with your own interpretations. Some of the images here weren’t taken until around 10am, so you don’t have to be up ridiculously early either! Happy shooting!
© Joe Lenton, November, 2014