I'm not within the minimum focusing distance of my camera. It's a very short distance that I can't exceed without getting parts of the plant inside of the lens hood.
My camera has manual focus, but the EVF and screen have such poor resolution that I can't focus finely with it. It's only good for things like a shot I took today of a feature on the inside of my tent fly, shooting through the netting. My camera insisted of focusing on the netting, but manual focus allowed me to get a better focus on the tent fly, although it wasn't great. Closing the aperture might have helped, but I totally forgot to try that, but that might have made for a confusing shot anyway.
I would love to use smaller apertures, but then I really run into the risk of blur due to my movement or the movement of the subject. Using lots of flash would kill battery life, which means carrying lots of batteries. Let me give you an idea of how many pictures I aim to take.
Along the course of a mile, I'd like to photograph at least five plants. Crown, base, bark, macro of the end of a branch, macro of side & end fruit, macro of top & side flowers, and sometimes multiples of each if there is variation within the plant. Let's say 5 shots per plant. On a 10 mile hike this would be 250 shots. Usually I take much more to document the wide variety of plants in transition zones and near water sources. And then there's the wildlife, which is usually bugs because animals have usually run pretty far away before I realize that they were there. If I took more time, I wouldn't go as far, and I wouldn't photograph as many plants.
You see how battery life could be important, and how I have to rely on the capabilities of the camera to make up for lack of tripod and lightbox?
So let's say that any camera accessories won't be used, and flash use will be extremely limited. I could get a brighter headlamp of 500 lumens and use that to supplement lighting for close-in macro shots.
In any case, how small can I get the aperture on a small sensor camera like mine and still have a shutter speed that's quick enough for hand shake not to be a problem? And then, what aperture would that equate to on a APC-C sensor camera? Is there a way to tell by looking at my photos if handshake was the problem?