Flower photography – series four Macro

Fourth in the series of flower photography is Macro photography, on a tight budget.

Budding beginners and intermediates re-newing their interests in photography are often staggered by the cost of macro lenses, so here is a simple cost effective way to achieve macro photography. 

macro photography

Reversing rings

Firstly, this is great for cutting costs, but understand that the ultimate results for macro photography will be achieved with a dedicated macro lens, this is the reason they are so expensive.

Cheaper than a doner kebab at Topkapi, a reversing ring is a great way to start out in macro photography, albeit it will seem a little strange putting your lens on, the wrong way round.

A reversing ring will let you to attach a lens to your camera backwards. This allows you to get extremely close to your subject. The wider the angle of the lens, the greater the magnification: a 50mm lens will provide a rough 1:1 ratio, which is the benchmark of a ‘true macro’ lens. A 20mm lens will yield a massive 4:1 ratio. So if you’ve got an otherwise ordinary 18-55mm kit lens, you’re sitting on a great lens for your macro photography; it just needs a little help from a reversing ring!

Secondly, when you turn the lens around you obviously lose the CPU connection between the lens and the camera. You lose autofocus, metering  and aperture control. Thirdly, you expose the rear element of the lens to the outside world. Indoors this isn’t a huge issue, but it’s worth being aware of when you’re outside on a windy day.

Wafer-thin depth of field

 This is an issue with all macro photography, a blessing and a curse, but it gives a nice bokeh that emphasises your subject, although it can also mean that not enough of your subject is in focus. Focusing purely by moving back and forth (or breathing!) and you have a precise situation.

So apart from losing your CPU connection, autofocus and your metering, life is a peach.

You are now ready for the first shot at cheap macro photography, but all you see is a blurred image, this is perfectly normal, as what you have to do is move in CLOSE and take the first exposure at say 125th sec and look at the exposure and adjust accordingly.  Also you can control the aperture to wide open if you want to by simply actuating the lever so the aperture is where you want it, then carefully stick it in place with the poster tack…just enough to hold it in place.

Breathing for precise focus

Sounds strange i know, what has breathing got to do with focusing?

Well you are focusing in a different manner. You are not turning a knurled focusing ring, you are physically moving your camera body back and forth, resting on your elbows, or a tripod. This technique of macro photography is similar to that of a marksman.

You get your subject in focus and breathe out, nice and slow. As you slowly breathe in, you will see the subject go slightly out of focus. When you exhale, the subject will come back into tack-sharp focus, hold your breath for a second and squeeze the shutter as you would a soft ball. If you are startled slightly by the fire of the shutter, you know you have the shot.

Close-up filters

A close-up filter is a lens that screws onto the end of a camera lens via a screw thread. The purpose of the filter is to decrease the minimum distance that a lens requires to focus. For example most telephoto lenses need the subject to be at least a metre and a half away before they can focus. By attaching a close-up filter to the lens you can reduce the distance dramatically, giving you a cheap alternative for your macro photography.

macro - Lust by `Lilyas

Close-up filters are measured in Dioptre, with +2 being weak and +10 being strong. A dioptre is a measure of lens power.

Filters can be “stacked” together (one filter screwed onto the lens and another screwed into the first filter). When stacking filters always make sure that the strongest filter is closest to the lens.

The other bonus with this set up is that, if you change your system from say Canon to Nikon, you don’t need to buy additional lenses. Close up filters will work with any camera manufacturer.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. With all this money you have saved for your macro photography, you can now afford to hit the donate button thank you.

Not only is this logical, it will also make you feel good about your well-being and make me filthy rich, so i can write my blog from the comfort of my yacht.


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