First Try with Macro Photography

One of the best things about this year’s weekly photo project is that the prompts are different than any way I’ve challenged myself before. When I’ve set up my only lists of themes for a weekly photo, most were a subject matter to be interpreted by each person. And there’s some of that with the #2016CMP52 as well, but then there’s prompts to try different types of photography.

I’ve never really been into macro photography. It’s never been something that interests me. Or at least not enough to buy a lens that’s it’s one purpose is to shoot really close up. But when the prompt came, I embraced. I did a little research, decided to experiment more than I usually would and this was the photo I walked away with in Week 15.

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I had a flower from a service berry tree in my front yard. It was small, less than an inch in diameter. And it took me about 30 minutes to figure out the set up and another 10 minutes until I felt I had a good photo. Because I tried something I never had done before: free-hand with my lens.

Or rather “freelensing.” I held the camera body in my right hand and my 50mm lens in my left hand, flipped around so that the filter was close to the camera body and the mount was closest to the subject. Holding the lens this way magnified the subject. A lot. Holding the lens this way also took a lot more strength than I expected. A lot. Haha! To control the light in the camera, I increased and decreased my ISO since aperture was no good in this set up. And one of the ways I experimented was to create my own extension tube:

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I just used black card stock and painters tape to secure it the lens. My hope was to magnify even more, but it was tricky. Too tricky. I’d take a few frames and then cut the tube down a little to see if it would improve the focus. I ended up cutting it all the way back to the filter, so I just got rid of it. This technique didn’t really work for me – and I could have done it completely wrong! – but I was trying to get out of my comfort zone.

After the first successful try with macro photography, I wanted to try again. I stuck with flowers as the subject because I wasn’t sure what to expect with different types of flowers; the service berry tree flower was so small, but I wanted to see how a rose would photograph. I had some beautiful pink and orange roses, along with others in a bouquet, and got to work when I had enough light in the house.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t think the magnification would make this much of a difference… but it did. And the slightest amount of movement changed the focus completely – the depth of field I experienced with the 50mm flipped around was SO SHALLOW and moving just the tiniest bit backward or forward would change what I saw in the viewfinder completely.

But I do like what I was able to capture. These aren’t very good examples of macro photography at all, but I like them regardless. The colors are so bright and wonderful. The softness of petals is almost dreamlike. The textures that aren’t visible with the naked eye are so interesting. It’s different… and nothing like what I’ve done before… so I like them. And I hope to experiment again, maybe with some dried flowers next time or something that isn’t flowers at all. And this weekly prompt proves that you don’t need more equipment or new lenses to keep learning new things or get a different outcome.

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Jacqueline - Back in the day my macro lens was my most favorite. I lived in the middle of nowhere in high school so my photo walks were almost exclusively in the woods taking pictures of tiny stuff