I recently came up with this macro shot and I was curious how to take photos like these where everything is blurred out and extreme macro is in focus. I am assuming there is a lot of post processing involved. If possible, I would be really glad if some can share some expertise on some of the post processing techniques.

Thanks in advance.

Here is the photo: enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why there's no reflection of the camera/photographer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ilmo Euro
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IlmoEuro — it may be there, but it would be so extremely out of focus that you can't make anything out at all. While there is a great depth of field in the virtual image (the scene you can see through the droplet), it is millimitre-thin in the real image (everything else). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 9:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suspect that this picture isn't real at all. The distortion that a spherical lens like the water drop would cause just doesn't look right. It is probably a real picture of a water drop haning from the end of a leaf, then flipped upside down. The supposed refracted image of the background was then composited in later. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2013 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop - it's there, but the horizon is "bullseyed". \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop - try it. This isn't the first picture shot like that, and that's what they look like. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


While there is no doubt some post-processing involved, that's not the important part of creating this image. Honestly, it is just an extreme close-up (probably much larger than 1:1, using either extension tubes or a lens like the Canon EF MP-E 65/2.8 1-5X Macro lens) of a water droplet on a leaf.

The water droplet itself is just out of focus, but it is acting as a wide-angle lens on the scene beyond. You may note that the picture is displayed upside-down; the droplet is actually hanging from the leaf, not sitting on top of it.

The only real secrets to this image are imagination, care, a macro lens (or reversed lens), and just maybe a spray bottle full of water (if the dew wasn't cooperating).

  • \$\begingroup\$ what about ilumination? Because I tried to do something like this but it was really hard to know where and how use the light. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 20, 2013 at 12:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Leandro - the plant is somewhat shaded; the lake isn't. There is no visible external lighting (no flash or reflector). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 19:01

There was an article about this on the Flickr blog recently - no trickery, just careful focusing!

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    \$\begingroup\$ And some sticks and pieces of string to keep the plants from moving in the wind. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rene
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 10:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good advice ... I did know about about this ... thank you \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 14:13

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