Raindrops, Dew, and Bubbles – Macro Heaven: Guest Article by Steve Russell

Raindrops, Dew, and Bubbles: Macro Heaven

Climate change has hit hard in most of the nation, but the Pacific Northwest continues to experience even cooler and rainier weather than usual. With the sun behind the clouds much of the time, I took a chance one early damp morning a month ago and ventured out to the park with my camera gear in tow. What I found that morning opened up a whole new dimension of macro photography for me: the world of raindrops, dew, bubbles and bugs.

Water collects on bugs, weighs them down, restricts their movements, and in effect “glues” their wings together until it evaporates or drops off. Already slow moving in the morning, waterlogged bugs make great models. Drops and bubbles reflect beautifully distorted images of what surrounds them like grasses, flowers or the bugs themselves. When they line a stalk of grass or dot a spider’s web, water drops resemble a random collection of reflective Christmas ornaments. Bubbles that emerge from water (i.e., on a pond) or are put in place by nature (i.e., a Spittlebug) serve as mirrored platforms or dangerous deathtraps for bugs, but add an element of interest to a photograph.

Drops of water and bubbles also add one more thing to account for when trying to focus in a very shallow depth of field. I rely heavily on live view mode to zero in on a focus point and to line up my lens parallel to the parts of the subject and/or droplets I’d like to draw attention to. When I can I take a lot of shots in each composition in hopes that at least one will turn out.

And when they do turn out, well, they can be stunning and well worth the soaked shoes and jeans from traipsing through the wet grasses to find these gems. While most people around here are bemoaning our delayed summer, I can’t wait to get out on those cloudy, drizzly, dewy mornings to shoot something that could be spectacular.

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