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Photographing Lichen

Edwin Brosen shares his tips on photographing Lichen.

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Article by Edwin Brosens

Lichen look their best from October to May, during the summer months they lose some of their colour so aren't as interesting to photograph.

Sony Alpha 33, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 and Flash, f14 at 1/40.

So people can understand where lichen can be found and to illustrate their size I have used my Sigma 10-24mm, f/4-5.6 wide angle lens to start. For the above shot, I shot from a low angle to capture the trunk in the foreground and the line of trees in the background.

As the lichen are our subject they have to be sharp so I always use manual focusing to select my focus point. Light levels can be low at this time of year so I tend to use my flash to make the lichens more visible. I never use my camera's built-in flash as it's too harsh, instead I use an external flash with a softbox over it. This softens the light and also evenly spreads light over my subject. 

Sony Alpha 33, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro and Flash f16 at 1/60.

Lichen make great macro photography subjects as they are full of patterns. To create an interesting composition I place the lichen in the center of the photo and ensure there's good depth of field. I always use a tripod as if you move the camera just a mm, it can effect the composition quite a bit.

As most lichens grow on the shadow side of the tree, set your white balance setting to shade, take a test shot and review the colours. If they aren't very life-like, try a different white balance option and take another test shot. 

Sony Alpha 33, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 and Flash, f22 at 1/40.

Visit Edwin Brosens website to see more of his work -

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