November 29, 2014
These six photographs were shot on June 8, 2013, just two days after receiving my first new camera in thirty-three years. Up until that time, I had no plans to buy a digital camera, as it would have cost a small fortune to replace all my lenses. Being on disability for nearly twenty years, money is always the issue, no matter if the item I needed (or more accurately, wanted) is a new camera, computer, guitar or amplifier. In order to support my somewhat limited creative obsessions, something had to give, and that was owning transportation. Twenty years ago, in the midst of a rather severe midlife crisis that cost me everything that matters most in life, one thing that did not survive was my truck. It was either my truck, or myself and thankfully, the truck lost.
That all changed early last year when I discovered that there was an adapter that would allow me to use all my old lenses on a new camera. I did make up for lost time by shooting slightly more than 32,000 photos during the past sixteen months, nearly every one that of a flower. About five years ago, I started buying a few used lenses from B&H Photo, out of New York City. These lenses were the first new (to me) pieces of equipment I bought since I purchased my second 35mm SLR camera in 1980, not long after getting home from the Navy. Except for my first 35mm camera that I bought in San Diego, all my other equipment was bought at the Subic Bay Naval Base exchange, in the Philippines, on my second voyage overseas aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Ranger (CV-61).
That second camera was the last piece of photographic equipment I bought until I discovered B&H Photo’s used department. Thanks to the internet, I was able to buy brand new looking lenses for a fraction of their original selling price. Among the lenses I bought were two macro lenses, a 50mm and a 100mm, along with 25mm and 50mm extension tubes, to be used in conjunction with the macro lenses. Before getting my new Canon 60D camera, I thought I had better catch up with modern photography, so I picked up a couple of digital photography for dummies books at my local library. While reading one of the books, I discovered that I was not using the right macro lens with the right extension tube in order to give me a 1:1 magnification ratio. After learning of my mistake, I quickly went outside and sat down beside a row of Sedums I have as a border in one of my garden beds, and started shooting away.
This particular Sedum, Ellacombianum, grows only to a height of about six inches and each cluster of star-shaped flowers are maybe about the size of a silver dollar. Each individual flower is probably not much larger than a penny, if that large, making this plant the perfect place to start shooting extremely close-up of flowers with my new-found knowledge of macro photography. While doing so, this honeybee just happened to land right in front of my lens. As they say, timing is everything!
Steven H. Spring