This is a photo of a designer Hydrangea, Hydrangea Sheila, one of the so-called “Dutch Ladies” created by Dutch plantsman Daan ver der Spek. Julian and I picked out the plant, and as usually happens, I photographed it before committing it to our garden.
The close-up of this hydrangea is unusual because it is a macro taken with a wide-angle lens, my new Nikkor 12-24mm.
I added a 12mm extension tube between the lens and the camera. Then I set the lens to the 24mm maximum focal length. I turned off automatic focusing, and set the lens to infinity. I stopped the lens down as far as possible, to f/22, for maximal depth-of-field, and let aperture-preferred metering take care of the exposure time (13 seconds).
Focusing was a matter of moving plant and camera until things were right, essentially until the flower was almost touching the lens. It was a little humorous to see the blossom hidden within the lens shade.
To help with this focusing process, I used a magnifying eye piece. I also put the camera on a focusing rail, so that I could ratchet the camera in and out with precision (mostly in, as close to the flower as it would go).
Related story: Night of the Hydrangea.