Hi everyone. I hope you’re having a great start to the week. After a subject theme last week we’re back to a more technique based one today, to get you thinking about how you use your camera. Let’s get stuck in straight away….
This week’s theme is Macro / close up photography
This is a theme that was suggested a while back by @strohschneider-laue. Looking out at our garden today I noticed that the new season is definitely close on the horizon now and the beautiful spring flowers are just begging to be photographed - perfect material for the new theme.
What is macro photography?
For the purist, macro photography is where you photograph a subject so close that it appears life size on the sensor of your camera. This means that macro subjects need to be really small, and it often requires a specialist lens. One photographer whose macro work I particularly admire is Don Komarechka, a Canadian who photographs a snowflake in minute detail every day for a long spell each winter. He does this with extreme macro lenses and lots of Photoshop work to stack images together to create sufficient depth of field. Each shot can take several hours to edit, so this is a real labour of love! You can see his snowflake work here, but it’s also worth following Don on Instagram to see the full breadth of his work at other times of year.
Close up photography doesn’t need to be so extreme!
Of course, the sort of photography Don Komarchka does is pretty extreme. We want the Photoblog themes to be inclusive, so I’ve widened the scope of the theme to close up photography too. This means you could simply use your favourite lens and get a closer angle on your chosen subject.
For instance, I took this photo yesterday, during an early morning stroll in the gardens at West Dean College. Using my 75mm lens I was able to get in close enough to capture some beautiful detail in the fronds of a fern.
While nature is an obvious choice for close up photography, you can shoot any subject at close quarters. This will often reveal small details we don’t usually notice with our naked eyes, as Alessandro Bianchi has here with a light bulb.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to have some fun while you’re shooting your close up. In this image Steinar Engeland has used some small toys to create an everyday scene, which makes you look twice to check it’s not real!
So what equipment do I need to get really close?
If you want to do full on macro photography you really need a macro lens. This is a prime lens (often 90-100mm focal length) which can focus really close up. They aren’t just one trick ponies though, as this sort of focal length can also be really useful for portraits! If this is something you fancy trying, but don’t have the cash to buy one new, it’s worth looking at second hand lenses, or perhaps hiring one.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have a macro lens or the budget to buy one. Many lenses have good close focusing abilities. This is especially true of compact cameras, which often have a special macro mode to allow you to focus really close. Sometimes you can give the impression of being really close by using a telephoto lens and zooming in.
Another option is to buy some extension tubes. These are small extensions, which fit between your camera and lens. By moving the lens further from the camera sensor you reduce the minimum focus distance and it means you can get much closer to your subject. Basic manual focus extension tubes can be really cheap (I bought a set of 3 for £15 last year) as they don’t contain any glass - just fresh air!
I hope that’s got you inspired to go out and shoot some close ups. Let’s have some fun this week and see what creative images we can take and share!
How to participate:
- Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 31st March
- To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
- Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
- To vote, click the heart icon.
- If you post your picture early in the week don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!
Winner of the last theme
Our winner this week is on a roll, as he was one of our winners last week too. @stanfordwebbie alternative form of transport, his horse, went down very well. I love the way you can see the horse’s breath - it was obviously a cold day when you took this one. Congratulations Bob!