Capturing Dew Drops

June 20, 2020

Whether you're capturing up-close morning dew drops on blades of grass, drops dangling on leaves after a good rain, or you grab a hose and douse your most interesting houseplant, here are some tips to capturing an image that dazzles the imagination. 

What you need: good macro lens. For more info on macro lens choices I suggest visiting Ken Rockwell's site. You can also use the auto macro setting on your phone or camera, but this won't be as sharp and detailed as a true 1:1 macro lens. It also helps to have a tripod, preferably one that allows you to get close to the ground. A small beanbag to rest your camera on also works. This will allow you to keep your subject (dew drop) in perfect focus since you will be so close to it you will have a limited depth of field. It also allows you to slow down your shutter speed, but only for objects that are super stationary. If you are capturing a leaf on a breezy day, then ditch the tripod. If handheld, use a fast shutter speed (e.g. 1/500 sec). 

Find your subject: This is all about trial and error. If you can find a dew drop with something close behind it, such as a flower (see last photo with orchid in dew drop), then this is perfect to practice on. You may not find this ideal setup, so place anything this is brightly lit and/or colorful and set it behind it. Drops of water act like a lens. So your true subject is what's being highlighted within the dew drop. The trick is to get the perfect focus on it long enough to press the shutter button. Which is more challenging than it sounds! 

Practice, practice, practice: Get outside, camera in hand, and practice getting used to your settings, moving your focus point to the right spot, use a fast enough shutter if handheld, and review photos in camera. I delete about 90 percent of what I shoot (the convenience of a DSLR). For landscapes, sunrise and sunset lighting is best, but when you have the macro lens mounted and are capturing flowers, etc., light is your friend. So morning dew or a midday rain are great opportunities. Enjoy your dew drop adventures!

Settings on these photos were approximately ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/3.5