A while ago, Glyn passed out a questionnaire to club members to find out, amongst other things, what techniques would everyone like help with. Macro photography got the most votes.
Macro photography, or close up photography, is when the size of the subject on the image sensor is life size or greater. So far I have found it to be rather difficult, mostly due to the depth of field as it is so hard to focus on the correct point. Another issue is movement, when trying to take a photo of a spider on a web or small flower, it may seem like a still day until you try to take a macro photo. A small breeze now becomes akin to a strong wind!
Macro photography can be done with a bridge camera on the macro setting, often with great results. On a DSLR, you can buy a special macro lens but this can be very expensive. There are cheaper options however, they include a reversing ring, extension tubes or close up lenses . I’ve found a good article with examples of some of them here: A Poor Man’s Guide to Budget Macro Photography.
Glyn and I went halves on a macro lens at Christmas, but never really got to grips with it. So we decided to go on a one day macro course at Calke Abbey and learned a lot. We did research other courses and this came up with good reviews, plus it was one of the cheapest and closest to home. Another course that I would be interested in but is more expensive is with Wild Arena – I’ve had a half day photography course on wild animals at Knowsley Zoo with them before through a Groupon Offer and was very impressed with the level of tuition.
The main thing that I took from the day at Calke Abbey, is that to get good at macro, is that I need to practice a LOT!! It is very fiddly and although I am more interested in shooting insects, I need to start with static objects – even the smallest creatures seem to move a lot when I’m trying to get close up photos of them! A lot of light is needed too as those shutter speeds need to be fast to keep the object in focus. A tripod or beanbag is also essential for keeping the camera still. I’ve never used a photographer’s bean bag before, but after using one, I added it to my birthday list!
Glyn and I will be sharing what we remember from the macro course on 8th August. We hope to have a bit of a practical session after the tutorial, so that we can all have a go. We do have some reversing rings, close up lenses and a macro lens for Nikon. If anyone else can bring in equipment for Nikon and other types of camera, please do.
In the meantime, I’ve found a really helpful guy on YouTube:
Macro Photography Tips, part 1
Macro Photography Tips, part 2
Macro Reversing rings