Behind the Image: NAU Guest Blogger – John Thompson » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 022014

Photo copyright John Thompson

Macro Photography is always fascinating to me. We tend to find ourselves moving so fast through life that we do not stop and appreciate the beautiful details that are around us. Macro photography helps me stop and see the world’s small but stunning details. I purchased my first Macro lenses at the end of last semester. At the time, I was not entirely sure of what types of macro pictures I wanted to shoot. I just knew that I wanted to shoot macro pictures. Well, to my surprise it is not as easy to shoot macro as I thought it was going to be. I probably spent more time trying to get a good macro shot then I have on any other picture style that I have taken so far.

My first problem I ran into with this shot was figuring out what to take the picture of. I decided that bugs are not my thing. It is just starting to hit spring here in Flagstaff and so most of the plants around are just starting to get some green back in them. Then I remembered that my Dad had given me a geode about 8 years ago and it had just been sitting on my dresser gathering dust. Whoo Hoo! We have a subject. So, I set up my tripod, got my camera set up and started taking pictures of this rock. Well, the first round of pictures did not come out so great. Over exposed, under exposed, just a little too much out of focus, every picture seemed to have something wrong with it. So, I gave it a few days before I came back to it. During that time, I found an App on my phone that would allow me to use a USB cable and connect to my Cannon T4i. I could then use the app to preview a live image on my Hi-definition smart phone screen. I could then remotely trigger my camera to take the shot from the phone and get it immediately shown back on my phone for review. Well taking the pictures went a lot smoother after that. The photo that I ended up with I took while I was outside (trying to get some natural lighting). Because it was in the evening after I had gotten off work I was trying to get the photo taken before I lost my light. To get the photo I wanted, I ended up taking a 15-second exposure at f/32 with an ISO of 100 while using my Tamron 90mm micro lens. I played around with different angles, f-stops, exposure times, and some different lighting effects. Finally, I got an image that I thought was good. I ran into a few more problems because I had used this app I had never used before but it is what you can expect when trying something new.

I enjoy how this picture came out because of how often I have looked at the original geode. Before this picture, it was just a rock with some little crystals in it but when I got in further with my camera, it became a crystal mountain range. Maybe it is my nerdy sense of imagination that draws me to this image but it is an image that I enjoy and find wonderful to look at and I hope you do as well.

About the Photographer:
My Name is John Thompson, I am a 5 year Navy veteran who spent his time in the military as a jet mechanic. I separated in 2005 to pursue a degree in Computer Information Systems. While on my travels in the NAVY, I took many pictures of beautiful places that were just horribly taken. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to take a photography class in college I jumped on it. From that, I found it to be one of the more satisfying things I have done with my life. I do not think I will ever do photography on a professional level but it well always be a satisfying outlet for me.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at

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