Monday, August 7, 2017

Macro Monday 1

If you're one of my regular readers and not interested in the guts of macro photography, today's blog is here. Or you could scroll down and look at what I hope are interesting or pretty photos.

Today marks the beginning of what I hope will be regular updates devoted to macro photography. Up until a few days ago I was barely into macro territory, using a 100 mm lens with some Kenko extension tubes (12 mm, 20 mm, 36 mm). Now, if you review this and this from the last couple of days you'll be essentially caught up, and you'll understand what I'm shooting with now.

This is all a learning experience for me, and I'm hoping to gather a group of macro enthusiasts. Feel free to comment down below, or on Facebook or Instagram. I'm still working out the format here. For today, anyways, I'm going to show you the macro shot, and a more normal view of the shot, and burble about what the tech details are.

Starting with some clover in the front garden. Those little buds are about 1 mm across. I'm not convinced the ones in this shot are the identical ones in the macro shot.

ISO 800, f8.0, 1/200 about 5x. My general rule is going to be to not crop the macro photos to enhance the size. I've always been amazed at the tiny little hairs on plants.

Our mint plant in the front garden. This little whatever it is, is about 3mm across.

ISO 800, f8.0, 1/200. about 3x. Here I really see the shallow depth of field. If something like this held still longer, it would be a nice candidate for focus stacking. The plan is to walk before I run.

Both the macro shots were done with the camera mounted on the macro rails, but the rails were resting on the ground. My tripod's centre mount restricts how low the camera can go, unless I want to mount it upside down. I'm still thinking about the best way of mounting the whole works on some kind of a mechanism that lets me move the camera around to the best angle, lets me use the macro rails, and is sufficiently steady for focus stacking shots.

Resting on the ground is ok, but there's lots going on. I use the live view, but I still need to tweak the settings for how long it stays on. Right now it's really short, maybe 5 seconds. So my right hand is holding the camera, with a finger half pressing the shutter button to keep the live view working. (Yes, for tripod shots I'd use remote release cable.) The left hand is stabilizing the whole setup, moving the camera as needed, tweaking the magnification, and the macro rail knob to get an in focus image on screen. It was a calm day, with just the slightest gusts of breeze, but that's all it takes. Once a bee landed nearby and shook the little branch a lot.

As I mentioned, I'm not going to crop the macro photos, but I will use Lightroom to tweak the settings, mainly to optimize exposure, and bring up colour and texture to make a nice photo.


  1. Keith, I look forward to your experiments. I like the framing and composition of the second photo. In terms of watching in live view, could you tether you laptop to your camera? Cheers, Sean


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