Today's the day we came here for, the Macro Magic workshop. I won the voucher around July last year at Camera Club and it had taken us this long to find a date that worked and get all the way up there.
Breakfast @ Aqua Cafe
We found the gardens earlier than expected as I was going to take us all the way to the Bason Gardens in Manuwera, you know, instead of the ones we booked our accommodation near, in Botany, the Winter Gardens at the Domain... LOL Oh well, plenty of time for breakfast so we popped into the Aqua Cafe. The coffee was good and we just grabbed a croissant from the cabinet as a light breakfast. Probably should have had more as was a bit too light but never mind, didn't know at the time lunch would be so far away.
Back to the gardens to wait for our host and get underway. We spotted another photographer wandering around and thought maybe they were on the course with us but nope, we had it all to ourselves which was pretty cool.
We learned about the basic techniques of macro, a lot of it already familiar to us, but a good chance to practice it and learn the nuances of applying it to macro photography.
First, was depth of field.
Flick through the images below, see the amount in focus slowly decrease and the softness of the background increase. With macro, the difference is in millimetres. Very tricky.
Ideally what you want is the interesting parts in focus and the background soft...
We finished the workshop with a friendly visit from a cicada, which of course we photographed (quickly before it flew away). Not enough time to get a perfect shot as it escaped quickly after firing this first one off.
Then we headed off to find food and fun (or shopping, which is fun for some I suppose...)
What a mission to find food though, who would have thought! Too used to smaller places and just 'finding something on the way' but in Auckland, on the way means motorways and there's not a lot to find there.
We hit up the Dress Smart mall to visit the Oakley Vault store, on the hunt for the elusive sunglasses Rodney likes and is discontinued. Managed to find them (custom made and $$$ later). But funnily enough, the mall doesn't have a food court, they're just randomly placed food shops around the place. I think in the end we just ended up grabbing lunch from the supermarket.
Later that day we decided to head back to the gardens as we had time to kill. Played around a bit more. Got distracted by some ants. Really testing the macro here!
Then found the macro gold - a mushroom! First, I'm all over the ground (getting damp) trying to get this from a good angle, not wanting to disturb it but after realising it was on a very moveable stick I was able to get a much better view, without getting any dirtier or breaking my back.
That was it for the day - I was too tired to do much else. We actually ended up staying up late watching the women's final of the Australian Open tennis. Sometimes it is just nice to rest for a bit when you're on a getaway.