My Photo Blog

Thoughts On Macro Photography

Macro photography opens up worlds we normally don’t see, as close as they are to us. It may be an insect on a leaf, or a vitamin “E’ pill as in the photo above. In these subjects there is a beauty that we can’t appreciate through the naked eye. To get started most of us will purchase a lens with macro capabilities and this is fine. It gives us a place to start. From there when we find that we can only get so close, we add extension tubes. And at this point, we may run into a situation where as we focus the lens, the distance from the subject changes making perfect focus difficult to obtain. If your front element doesn’t move such as in an internal focus lens, this should not be a problem. However, If your front lens element moves back and forth as you focus, it will be difficult to obtain true focus. One way to work around this is to move the camera, back and forth. Another approach is using bellows which gives you the option of just moving the camera body, leaving the lens to subject distance unchanged. The next challenge we face is magnification. The greater the magnification, the shorter the depth of field. In a controlled environment, you can stop down to increase depth of field, however, if you are outside with a breeze, you need fast shutter speeds to avoid blur. As we move in closer, we have the risk of spooking a live subject, or controlling the lighting on an inanimate subject. This is where long lenses have an advantage. Along with having the right lens to shoot your subject you also need good technique which translates into reducing camera shake. Think tripod, monopod and cable release. If your camera has mirror up, use it. A flash can also be very helpful in freezing action.

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