I received a few Hoya close-up lenses a few days ago and haven’t had a chance to really go outside to play with them. That is, until yesterday.
The conditions were just okay. While I had a nice amount of light, there was a small breeze, which makes close-up photography quite difficult. Also, what I was taking photos of were close to the ground, rendering my SLIK PRO 700DX Professional Tripod unusable. This tripod is just too tall. I’m not sure it would have been much help anyway – because of that breeze.
I was quite surprised at the difficulty of attempting this type of photography. When stacking the +1, +2 and +4 magnification filters on top of my Canon 18-135mm kit lens, the depth of field became extremely shallow. When I say shallow, I mean shallow – which I will exhibit in the following photographs. Also, auto-focus is pretty much useless while using these filters, so I had to manually focus the lens. With any type of movement of the subject, the photos were susceptible to slight blur and lack of focus.
I also learned that if I am to attempt this type of photography in the future, I am going to need a few things. First, I’ll need a remote shutter release. This will reduce the slight blur caused by the hand movement of pushing the shutter control on the camera. Even that can make a difference in macro photography. Second, I’ll need an external flash. When photographing very close to subjects, light is important. The camera needs to focus on the intricacies of what’s available and if there isn’t enough light, as I discovered in a few of my discarded photos, you’ll notice it in the final product. Third, I’ll need to use a tripod and stage my subjects. Hand holding a camera and trying to take pictures of a moving target is nearly impossible. That is, if you want nice pictures.
Anyway, here are a few first attempts at macro photography with my Canon T3i. Please comment if you wish to discuss.
The first three photos are of a Purple Columbine cluster I found near some pavement. Early Spring offers many great opportunities to photograph budding flowers. The subject was approximately one and a half feet off the ground and easily swayed in the breeze. As you can see, if I had some diffused light, I may have been able to take advantage of the inside of the flower. But since I didn’t use any flash at all, this was the result. I am somewhat pleased because without the flash, I was able to take advantage of the natural sunlight in such a way to give an artistic feel. If you look closely at these photographs, you’ll notice a very slight amount of blur on the hairs of the petals of the flowers. I attribute this to the movement and hand shake.
While sitting on the pavement taking photos of the Purple Columbine, a small jumping spider decided to land on my jeans. It was quite the active insect, so it was difficult to qualify as truly my first live close-up. I took advantage of the opportunity anyway and began aggressively snapping away. I took about fifteen shots of this spider and virtually none came out worthy of posting here. I did want to share with you the best of my effort though because it may exemplify the difficulty of doing something like this as well as the extreme shallow depth of field while using magnification lenses.
After the excitement of taking a few photos of my first live object, I became caught up in the moment. I began searching for more living beings and found a spider in a garage window, which proved to be more difficult than expected. The spider was situated higher than my head, which forced me to hold the camera up – causing hand shake. Also, the light was behind the spider, which basically caused a silhouette effect. I wasn’t able to capture detail past the hair on the spider’s legs. I would have liked to use my tripod while taking these photos, but there were a few garage items blocking my access. In order to focus in on what I was taking photos of, I needed to be not more than approximately one foot away. The tripod wouldn’t have been effective in this instance.