Taking a closer look (macro)
While out fishing one weekend when I captured an intimate photo of this little guy. This particular subject was quite easy to photograph because I used the tips from my previous post about how to photograph insects (see link at end of post). It would have been even better to capture him in flight but I could not keep up with its sporadic movements and lock in focus to create the photo. I wasn’t planning on using the macro feature of the Tamron lens, however, when I couldn’t find an interesting subject to capture that day I decided to open my eyes and take a closer look. When ever I’m in doubt, I never fail to capture something interesting at the macro level. Learning to photograph this way has opened up an entire universe to me and I’ve come to appreciate the “little things” a lot more.
The world of macro
There a few different ways macro photographs can be created.
- Macro Lens: lenses designed specifically for photographing at close distances and has a 1:1 magnification
- Close up lenses: These are attachments that screw on to the front of a regular lens much like a filter. Can come in a variety of strengths and image quality can decrease.
There are a few other methods but at the moment, I have only tried the techniques mentioned above. I believe its mostly a personal preference when it comes to choosing which method you will make macro photos. At the moment, I have two macro lenses that I highly recommend. They are budget friendly and they get the job done for various shooting situations.
The Tamron 90mm
I’ve been using the Tamron 90mm for quite some time now and it has never failed to disappoint me when shooting macro at a close distance. I mainly use it for plant and texture photography. It has great auto focus and smooth manual focusing. I find it best to pair this with a tripod because it does not have image stabilization. Most of the online reviews rave about the tamron 90mm and is highly recommended. The 90mm is also a can also be used as a portrait lens.
The Tamron 70-300mm (macro feature)
This is my go-to lens for photographing insects. It has about a 3 feet focusing distance to allow room between me and my subject. This comes in particularly handy when photographing insects with stingers! The focus is fast and the images come out sharp – as seen in the photo above. Depending on your subject preference you may want to choose this lens as your zoom and macro lens. Its a bit bulky but the images created are worth it!
Close up Lenses (filter)
Close up lens attachments are great when first starting out with macro photography and if you are on a strict budget. I first used close up lens attachments to start my journey in macro photography while saving up for a dedicated macro lens. It comes in a variety of strengths for closer magnification of the subject and simply screw on to the front of the lens much like a regular filter. However, there is a down side, the image quality is not the best. There is a loss of sharpness and auto focus struggles to lock when the filter is attached. Manual focus may be a bit of a challenge also. Patience and a tripod is key when using close up lenses to obtain desired results.
There are other methods of macro photography including: Lens stacking, Extension tubes, bellows, and using a reverse lens adapter. I plan on exploring these methods in the future and comparing which one is best and the results obtained in the future.
I was amazed at the interesting details and patterns revealed in the dragonfly after I moved the image to a larger screen. I’ve never noticed the opacity of the wings, number of legs, and patterns in the body of the Eastern Amberwing until I took this photo. Getting started in macro photography is a great way to realize how amazing and beautiful nature can be, especially close up.
As the new season approaches and most of the insects are not as active, I wonder what other subjects will reveal their beauty through my macro lens? I hope that the information above gave you a brief insight on a unique perspective of photographing and noticing the smaller things around you.
Fun fact about the Eastern Amberwing – They mimic the actions of wasps to help deter predators
For my tips of macro photography (click here)
Tamron 70-300mm at 300mm (macro) 1/400sec f/9 ISO 200