Macro Photography "how to"

February 03, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everybody! Hope you're having a great week.  This week is a continuation on Macro Photography.  I've got a pot of Chili cooking and its raining outside so what a better time to talk about Macro Photography.  The small world of macro photography can be found anywhere you are. You don't have to go to a special place you can use your back yard or inside on a rainy day to take Macro shots from another world. Making the ordinary look extraordinary !  What I'm about to give you is my way of doing Macro Photography I'm sure there are many ways and you can focus stack images to make the whole photo look sharp I'm not going to get into that much detail.  First off let's pick the subject.

Picking a subject. Well this is subjective! LOL Well it is .  You can choose anything you like because when its photographed so close up its hard to recognize as the object that you started with and becomes something more abstract. For my exercise today I'm going to use a coin. And like any photograph make sure the background is good. For this first exercise I'm going to use a 28-60 kit lens and an a 10mm extension tube. I'm using a on camera flash shooting through a small diffuser which is really making my background turn black. You don't need a flash you could use LED lights or bright sunlight from a window or your back yard.  I'm shooting all manual. I can use the auto focus to get me close to sharpness then I switch to manual focus for fine tuning. When I'm in Manual focus I use the focus peaking found on most modern camera's to tell me what is in focus and what is not. Remember when shooting in macro really close up you have a very small depth of field. To get the whole object (the coin) I would either have to shoot from above so the whole coin is in the same focal plane in focus or if I shoot from the side I would have to take multiple photo's with focus in different spots and blend in photoshop to get all in focus. That process is another discussion. I kind of like the blurry parts of a photo sometimes. As you can see with the first photo the middle is in focus but the bottom and top of the coin are out of focus and its more a close up shot than a macro. After I took the photo with the 10mm I took it with a 16mm and it looks closer but still not macro for me . But it does a good job. Now I could have combined the two extension tubes and got a 26mm which would have gotten me closer. But I decided not to and decided to go to a dedicated Macro lens. You can see that the 16mm on the right is a closer shot and that only the bottom of the coin is in focus. The next shots I took was with a 50mm dedicated macro lens that I bought second hand from MPB. I used all the same settings But I had to switch to a more sturdy tripod because this lens is much heaver than the kit lens that I was using. This photo on the left shows that with my first attempt I didn't get as close as I could have but did get much closer than the kit lens and the larger extension tube. I focused in manual using the peak focusing option in my camera or you can use the digital zoom in feature that most of modern camera's have. This lets you zoom in and fine tune your focus before you take the shot. As you can see the zoom in feature on the right photo of the photo on the left I could zoom in and really see the detail of the year date on the coin. The other method that I like to use is to get the subject the way you want it and with peak focusing option on my camera I can slowly go closer or further away and watch my focus come in. With peak focusing a color is used to highlight what is in focus on this photo on the left you can see how the focus is along the bottom of the coin and extends to the background as well. Hopefully you can see the highlights I took a photo of the back of my camera with my eye phone. But the bottom of the coin there is a small section that highlights the 1921 and extends to the background showing what is in focus. Those are really all of the techniques that I use. Nothing special. Macro photography can be fun and exciting but it also can be tedious work and small fractions of a inch matter. There is a whole world out there that no one else sees or notices .  So until next week get out and shoot!

 


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