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Macro Photography

Macro photography is usually the idea of taking pictures of things that are quite small. I suspect there is no exact definition of how close the camera has to be, or how small the subject has to be, and in this article we won’t quite define this. Great macro photographs however, are about taking things that are very small, and making them look very good.

It offers a glimpse into a world that is rarely seen or rarely observed. These types of small things are even more rarely given consideration. This is why macro photography can be so stunning; it’s like lifting the curtain on a very small very beautiful world that lies just beyond our gaze.

It’s probably a bit more accessible to take pictures of things that are small from a close distance then it is to take pictures of things that are small from a great distance. For instance, bird photography in the field necessitates a 400+mm lens of good quality that probably costs in excess of 2000 dollars. Taking pictures of small things like flowers and flies from close up however won’t break the bank. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get into macro photography for cheap is to buy a set of macro filters that will fit a given lens that you are using. These filters act, and look essentially like magnifying glasses, and this is exactly how they function. Your minimum focusing distance will become much closer and you will be able to take pictures of tiny things. The down side of these cheap pieces of glass is that they are indeed cheap, and don’t have the best optical properties. You’ll start to see things like big optical distortions and chromatic aberrations pop up in your images.

Another way to get into macro photography is to purchase or borrow a dedicated macro lens. These are lenses that have very close focusing distances, and also are designed in such a way that focusing at a close range won’t have adverse effects on image quality. Some have said that these lenses are less adept at taking pictures of subjects at normal distances, but I’ve yet to observe this.

A third option is to begin using a bellow system or extension tubes that allow for manually adjusting the distance of the lens to the camera, that allow for the lens to perform closer focusing. Whatever your method, have fun with macro photography, try to use a tripod for critical focus, and enjoy exploring!

August 14, 2015

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