|50mm, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/60th of a sec, natural light|
Just have a look at this beautiful moth found right outside my door. I'm not a moth expert, but it appears to be a sphinx moth. He's about an inch tall with striking patterns all over his wings and body. For a moment in time, I isolated nature's beautiful creation and captured its image.
I think this stunning creature deserved a little attention, don't you? This is what macro photography is all about.
The neat thing about macro is that you can improvise in the case of not having the fanciest equipment. If you do a little research, you'll find real quick that a very specialized lens is required to do true macro shooting. I hope to acquire a macro lens one day, but for now I am improvising. And that's okay. Photography (of all types) is about using what you have. "Gear" is something you'll always need more of, so get used to "needing" more and more. (FYI, I touch on ways to obtain used equipment here.)
|200mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/160th of a sec, natural light only|
Working with a true macro lens, I could have physically gotten within about 6-12 inches from the berries when photographing. Since I was shooting with a regular 28-200mm zoom lens, I could not do that. Focus could not be obtained that close up. I zoomed in to 200mm and backed up about 4 feet.
Do you notice how some of the berries are in focus and some are not? That's because my aperture is set very wide at f/5.6 (more on aperture here). This draws your eyes naturally to the 4 or 5 berries that are in crystal clear focus, putting emphasis on them. [Note...when using a true macro lens, you need to set the aperture as low as possible (highest f/stop number).]
|50mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/250th of a sec, strobe added at 1/6.4 pwr|
I was leaving work one day, looked down, and found this little crystal rock lying on the ground all by itself. I brought it home and my wife cleaned it up real good (she'll clean anything if it stays around for more than 5 minutes.) It was more beautiful than I first thought.
I figured I'd take a macro shot of it and capture it's natural beauty before I lost it.
This photo is a little different in a couple ways. In the first 2 photographs, I went to the object in it's natural environment. This time I removed the object and brought it into my environment. Secondly, I used my own light, not natural ambient light. Nothing wrong with either, things are just different. You will find that you have more control in a situation like this.
So here's my setup: I put our little rock on a mirror to give it a nice clean background. I "killed" the ambient light in the room by using a high shutter speed. Setting up my SB-800 strobe at 1/6.4 power and pointing it straight up to the ceiling gave me plenty of light. I used my 50mm lens and stood back about 2 feet. After about 5 or 6 tries, I got the shot I wanted.
Pretty neat. All three of these photos were done without the "proper" equipment. You can even do this with your point-and-shoot camera with decent results...especially if you can put it manual mode. Just play around with it.
I hope this has given you some inspiration to jump into the world of macro photography. It is all about appreciating the beautiful things in the world in which we live. Take time today to notice the little things in nature, the things most people walk right past and ignore.
Don't forget to take your camera with you today. You never know what you'll run across!
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