Thursday, 22 April 2010

Macro Photography

Macro Photography

A couple of weeks ago, I and my friend John thought of trying some macro photos. It was actually me who had asked John to show me some techniques on macro photography and he had accepted to it.
So we headed to a park near John's place and he shared with me some tips on macro photography.

Since neither of did not have a proper macro lens, we thought of using the kit lens with a macro ring. John had shared whatever knowledge he has in regards with macro. John gave a good session about the proper lighting, using of tripods, using of flashes appropriately and the importance of getting a macro lens and an extension tube.

Here are some of the photos that I tried during that time and later. All the photos were taken hand held, using the kit lens and a macro ring held in front of it.

Almost in all the photos the lens was only between 6mm to 8mm away from the subject.

A Jewel formed of dew drops


Close up of the stamen of a very tiny flower.


Moth sitting idle early in the morning


A Spider waiting patiently for its prey.


There are a few important lessons that learnt from this session or experiment.

1. FOCUS: This is what is going to make of break the photographs. Since we are photographing very tiny objects and that too very close from the subject, it is important that the focus is accurate. Even if it a 1mm error, it is going to show up really big in the photo.

2. TRIPOD: It is very important to use a tripod. Photographing hand held will not be a good idea, since as seen in the previous point, even a 1mm shake can cause the photo to go haywire. If you observe the photographs above closely, not all the photos are in sharp focus. This is because everything was shot hand held.

3. APERTURE: Most of the time we might have to use a narrow aperture. Depending on the lens the DOF may vary. We need good depth in the photo so we cover the entire intended subject. The SPIDER photo  is a classic example of what can go wrong if shot with a wide aperture. Only the head and the front legs are in focus and body and hind legs are not in focus. So we need to narrow down the aperture which also means that the shutter speed should be reduced to get enough light (depending on the light conditions). This again implies the need of a tripod.

4. LENS: This is the most important (IMO). It is always the best to have a good macro lens, if you are really serious about macro photography. That coupled with an extension tube can produce great results. Having a macro ring in front of the lens can be a make-shift option, but we will have to be mindful about the loss in quality.

5. FLASH: A macro ring can be quite handy when the lighting is low. This will also give give you the benefit of having a faster shutter speed. When shooting with a wide open aperture, sometimes, part of the subject might go out of focus. This means we would have to reduce the aperture to even f/11 or lesser. In these cases a macro lens can ensure enough light on the subject irrespective of the low aperture.

This is dedicated to my friend John Immanual for taking time to help me understand about macro photography and I cannot thank enough some members of the Olympus online community who gave me lot valuable suggestions on what lens to go for, if I am serious about macros.

So as someone who is serious about photography in general, I have decided to go for a dedicated macro lens along with an extension tube. Anyone willing to donate for this noble (????) cause can do so and the contribution will be accepted whole heartedly and the highest contribute will can get their portrait photo printed in poster size for free!!!!

Guys, just thought of finishing that lightly, as I thought the whole thing was just a lecture.. :)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting lessons that you learned from shooting macro photographs. One day I will shoot macro, and the lessons will prove helpful. My favorite of the macro shots that you posted was the first one -- dew drops.

I'm sorry; I can't contribute anything to your lens fund. I'm still paying off my recent purchases :-)

Cynthia said...

I liked the dew drops and the moth. Actually, my favorite was the shot of the photographer in the grass, LOL!

Thanks for the lessons, I want to try doing a bit of macro work outside when the weather improves and I don't have a macro lens either.

No spare cash for your macro fund though... I have my own lens fund that is in need of contributions. ;^)

Ram said...

@Linda: Happy to know that the post has been useful. Have never tried anything useful so far.. :)

@Cynthia: Thank you. Don't worry about the funds.. :P


molarbear's posts said...

Enjoying the post and the images...and going through it again...thank you! -Deepa.

molarbear's posts said...

But there ARE times when using a tripod is just not possible. This afternoon I saw a hairy little caterpillar going along a wooden way I could ever have used a tripod for that situation!

Ram said...

@Deepa: Good to know you are enjoying the post. I have tried to post something useful for a change.
As far as not being able to use the tripod, you can see if there are any solid surface where you can place the camera and focus. If that too is not possible, then try to hold the camera close to the body, like supporting it with the entire body to reduce the shake..


Swastik said...

Hey Ram, the photos are excellent , liked the dew drops one..its beautiful..never new abt Macro photography until I read ur column..very informative..keep up thr good work and send more of these :) cheers !

Ram said...

Thanks Swastik. More will come. Keep watching..


John Immanual said...

Ram, It was just a knowledge sharing. Thanks for the article dedication and your kindness. All i did is what i learnt from a friend of mine "Mr. Gowtham". :-)

The dew drop photo and the flower macro was the master piece in this lot. All the best for your macro lens and the extn tubes !!!

Ram said...

@John Immanual: Thanks a lot man! :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing Pics dude..

The Water droplets & the spider were just brilliant..

Ram said...

@rvnrahul: Thanks Rahul..


Shrinidhi Hande said...

Is the donation exempted from tax under section 80 XYZ?

Ram said...

@Shrinidhi: It will be exempted under section 420.. :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Oops!. Then I can't donate.. I'll buy an IPL team instead

Ram said...

That is alright Shrinidhi. Investing in IPL will take you to fame overnight! :)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

yeah! it will also invite a dozen income tax officials raiding my place overnight...

Anonymous said...

man!!! loved this! absolutely brilliant!

Ram said...

@Shrinidhi: Is that not good enough for becoming a celebrity overnight? :)

@joshiedaniel: Thanks a lot...


Ananda Rajashekar said...

Those were great clicks of macro! Kudos! gave a bird eye view, following you, will take it form here, keep it going!