Make sure you sign up on my mailing list (just below on the right) before you leave! Your address is SUPER safe with me.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Macro Photography: Appreciating The Little Things

Summarizing today's post: Introduction to macro photography, tips and tricks, appreciating nature, taking your camera with you at all times.

50mm, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/60th of a sec, natural light
Marco photography...what is that? Basically, it is the art of getting in super close on an object with your camera. To me, here's what macro photography really is: Taking the time to isolate one of God's tiny miracles and capturing it forever by way of a photograph. This is about appreciating what surrounds us every single day.

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
Here's another macro shot I took back in the wintertime of a Nandina bush. The frozen berries stand out very nicely against the ice-covered leaves. I had to capture it in a quick photograph.

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
One last photograph and that will do it for today. 

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!

Please leave comments if you have story to share.

Thanks for reading!


Like it here? Resister your email for automatic updates up at the top. Please pass this blog post on to your friends (if you think they would like to read it) using the Tweet, Facebook, and Google+ buttons.

No comments:

Post a Comment