With winter bearing down upon us, my family and I visited the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, RI USA for a little weather respite. My family brought sketch pads and watercolor paints; I brought a roll of Fuji Velvia 50, a Nikon FM2, a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro-Nikkor macro lens, and a 27.5mm Nikon PK-3 extension tube for ultra-close focusing.
I kept most exposures at ½ or 1 second, incident metering using a Sekonic L-508 meter and calculating the exposure adjustments necessary to accommodate the macro extension tube. The greenhouses offered beautifully diffuse light for nearly all exposures. Other than the fogging of my glasses and viewfinder from my mask while trying to focus, it was an idyllic opportunity to get the saturated colors that Velvia 50 is well known for with a little bit of overexposure.
With these conditions, I could focus on framing and composition. I tried to keep a few points in mind for each exposure: What is the subject of this exposure? Do the in-frame elements support the subject, or distract from it? How will the viewer’s eye travel throughout the frame?
Looking at the images, several could be improved with a little more care on composition and subject placement. I quickly realized the value opportunity for a macro focusing rail to accommodate small adjustments that I would otherwise achieve by relocating my tripod. Still, it was fun capturing the textures, colors, and fine elements that are difficult to discern with the naked eye.
The fine grain of the Velvia 50 is pleasing without being distracting, and the color rendition is rich with deep blacks. While I’m often disappointed in the tonality I get from black and white negative film without additional contrast adjustments, Velvia 50 doesn’t disappoint: it looks the way I want it to look to emphasize how I saw and remember these exposures. While it’s more expensive than other color films, and E6 development is also most costly than C41, the positive film images is special to see and hold.
5 Frames… Of macro photography on Fuji Velvia 50 (35mm / EI 50 / Nikon FM2 + Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro-Nikkor + Nikon Pk-3 extension tube) – by Joshua Wright
When our four-hour window to remain in the gardens came to a close, a caretaker gently ushered me to the exit. The beauty of a botanical garden though is that you can revisit in another few weeks for a completely different experience.”
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