I am a fan of the poet Mary Oliver (Why I Wake Early, Thirst, Our World, and other works). Mary likes to call the sun 'the best preacher that ever was.' She has poems about snow crickets, horses, dogs, and black snakes, among other things! I found myself wondering yesterday, while I photographed what we call "spider lilies" in Mississipi and other parts of the South, if Mary has a poem about these flowers. Perhaps so, though she probably calls them something else. They just appear this time of year, long green stems with a spear-point bud. They puncture the soil and reach for the sun, like so many tines of an underground pitchfork.
Here's what they look like, in full bloom:
I used a monopod with my new Manfrotto ball head that will also fit 2 pairs of Manfrotto tripod legs I have. It's my first ball head and I really like the ease with which I can move the camera and then lock it in place. I paid $100 for it at B&H PhotoVideo, NYC. I had my Minolta 50mm f2.8 Macro mounted on one of my Sony A700 DSLRs. I shot at ISO 200, f3.2, 1/80 second (but then reduced that to make the background deep black). I placed a large black foam core sheet about 18 inches behind it.
I agree with Scott Kelby (do you have his 3 books on digital photography? I have learned a lot from him) that wind is the big problem when doing Macro photography outside. Scott has an answer for that, he takes the flowers inside! He also sometimes buys flowers to shoot from the florist; I like to do that, too, though usually it's orchids from Sam's Club (anybody know how to keep them alive?) If it's not right after a rain when you're shooting, and you have no nice water drops with cool reflections in them, don't worry. No problem! Just carry your spritzer with you and spray them yourself! (another Kelby tip)
I like Macro photography: using manual focus and seeing things snap into sharp focus, figuring out how fast my shutter speed has to be to avoid any blur (my Sony cameras have image stabilization inside the camera body, so every lens benefits from that feature), and seeing how many different ways I can selectively focus. Unless I'm mounted on a tripod, I usually wind up shooting at a large aperture (small number, like 2.8) so I can squeeze out a higher shutter speed (that wind can be very deceptive). I do love seeing ants playing on top of a peone bud, and then capturing their play!