Canon 300D, handheld
Mamiya 80mm macro w/ extension
ISO 100
f8, 1/10 second
Get up!
backlit dewdrops

There's a very simple rule for nature photographers: get up early in the morning. First light and sunrise produces a lot of conditions that you'll not only find at no other times, they actually denote "morning" in your images. Add in the stillness of the breeze most times, the clarity of the sky before the airlines get active, the activity of the birds, the sluggishness of the insects, the activity of late nocturnal animals... I could keep going, but basically take my word for it and get out before sunrise.

Here the dewdrops that somehow form on the edges of the grape leaves caught the morning sun as it broke through a gap in the nearby trees, producing starbursts that counterpoint the rich backlit green of the leaves – and, if you look close, acted as fisheye lenses of the immediate surroundings, too.

dewdrops flashMany people don't realize how fast the sun moves across the sky (yes, I know it's really the earth turning, but leave me the poetic license.) This view lasted less than two minutes and didn't return, and it appears entirely differently when you have to rely on a flash to provide the light. This is the same leaf, a little earlier before the sun broke through – you can just make out the tiny spiderweb in both images, at the upper right.