Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shells and Watches and Gears, Oh My!

A few weeks ago, my photo club held a macro photography workshop. It was a lot of fun; the club presidents (who had set the whole thing up) brought in a lot of items for people to photograph and some backdrops/backgrounds to photograph them on, and everyone had four-ish hours to do pretty much whatever they wanted. I took a lot of pictures, which also took a while to edit . . . but I'm finally through with them, and I thought I'd post my favorites.

As I mentioned, the presidents brought in a lot of possible photography subjects. Some of them were what you'd expect for macro photography: flowers, fruit, shells, and such. Some were more unusual: slinkies, marbles, small pebbles, and other random bits and pieces they thought might make good macro subjects. But my absolute favorite thing to photograph there . . . was this:

All together now: STEAMPUNK!

There was a whole box full of this sort of thing: watches, clock faces, gears, keys . . . there was even an odd-looking device that was apparently the inner workings of an old clock, but I didn't get any pictures of it. Someone else was almost always using it when I wanted it- thus the only real problem with the workshop! However, there were plenty of smaller items to keep me satisfied, so I'm definitely not complaining.

I have a less eerie-looking version of this as well, but I think this one is a bit cooler.

Funny-ish thing with this picture: I was done taking it and about to put all my stuff away . . . when I realized that the back of the watch face looked even cooler than the front. So, naturally, I had to set back up.

Awesome as steampunkery is, though, I didn't spend the entire time taking pictures of it. Another of my favorite items was a nautilus shell, which was split into three cross-sections, and which I took several pictures of.

After doing a picture or two of just the one section of the shell, I got the idea to put one of the cross-sections on top of the other so that the curves went in opposite directions. The effect didn't work quite as well as I hoped, but it still looked fairly cool.

And a bonus alien nautilus (otherwise known as what happens when I play around with the presets on the curves layer):

Eventually, of course, I made my way back to steampunk, this time in combination with what I think was an old hard drive. Not knowing much about the inner workings of computers, I could be completely wrong.
Yes, I do have an affinity for the gritty, weathered look. How did you ever guess?
I accidentally put the clock face in this one upside-down. Oopsie.
And now we step away from steampunk again for some sparkle:
And also a twisted slinky:
For the record: the slinky was like that when it was brought in, and I'm very glad I didn't have to try to untwist it.

And we'll finish off with one last bit of  more elegant steampunk:
This picture, I would like to note, is one of my favorite shots, but it was also ridiculously hard to edit. See, the original version was tilted at about a thirty-degree angle from this one, and that is not ok. So, I had to rotate the crop so that the picture was more or less straight . . . which left large white areas that needed to be filled in. I managed to fill these in with some creative copy-pasting from uncropped versions of the image and the black brush for the background . . . and then Nik filters decided not to recognize half of what I'd done. Cue much frustration. However, I do like the end result, so at least all the aggravation was more or less worth it!

What do you think of my macro photography? Which image is your favorite? Is there anything you think I could've done better on any of these? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. Those are excellent, particularly the steampunk-style ones. I must say, I have a fondness for steampunk, it has so many possibilities!

  2. These are LOVELY! I knew you did photography, but I didn't know you were so good at it!! : D

  3. These look awesome! I love what you've done here. I think my dad would really like these. He has an interest in micro-photography.

    Well done!

  4. AAAAAAAAHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO MUCH GORGEOUS!!! I cannot even. You are AMAZING with photography, and those clocks and steampunkery are absolutely stunning! *flail* I've yet to actually READ a steampunk thing, but it soooo intrigues me, and I love love love clocks in all forms! So inspiring! ^_^ This was SO cool--thanks so much for sharing!!! :D

    1. Thanks, Deborah! :D
      If you want to try something steampunk, I recommend Christopher Hopper's The Sky Riders or Brandon Sanderson's The Rithmatist. :)

    2. Thanks for the recs!! I actually HAVE The Sky Riders, just haven't read it yet. XD Ooh, I may have to check out The Rithmatist. :) (I know, I know, I must read ALLLL the Brandon Sanderson's... ;))

    3. You're welcome! (And yes, you must! :D)

  5. These photos are so impressive! I especially love the first three and the last one! I think a photo shoot like this would be so fun! Especially is you needed a cover for a Steampunk novel. I'm curious to know how much of the awesomeness came from the photos themselves and how much was done through editing. I love photography, but have never mastered the art of editing.
    ~Sarah Faulkner


    1. Thank you very much! And I think it would vary from photo to photo- like, for some pictures (the "alien shell" and several of the watch pictures), there was pretty heavy editing, but it was mostly filters and lighting adjustments. And then for others, like the last three pictures, there wasn't a whole lot of editing (except for fixing the angle in the last one) and I might've added contrast or saturation (and done more lighting adjustments) but that's about it.


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.