April 17th, 2015
As a follow-up to yesterday's post, I'd like to discuss some of the more technical aspects of macro photography. For those of you unaware, macro photography is extreme close up photography of small or large subjects. Macro subjects can be really anything, but my favorite ones are of natural origin. Flowers and insects are my most frequent subjects, but on occasion I take macro pictures of food, snow, or other things. Backgrounds vary as well, like the makeshift shaded area I made with my pocket knife in the second to last picture.
Capturing macro images is not a simple point and shoot process. This is due to the limits on minimum focusing distances. Together with the lens's focal length, this determines maximum magnification, paramount to macro photography. Some non-macro DSLR lenses will have nicely short minimum focusing distances, like the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS (see table #2). Macro extension tubes can be used for normal lenses. Otherwise, the use of a macro-specific lens, of which Canon offers several, can be used.
As for exposure, one of the main characteristics of macro photography is limited depth of field, so using maximum (or close to) aperture is usually best. Anything higher and the background becomes distracting. If you find that you can't get enough subject sharpness at wide apertures, but too much background detail at narrower ones, try doing focus stacking. The benefit of focus stacking is that by using wider apertures, backgrounds are left out of focus, the stacking gives more subject focus, and light entering the sensor is much higher than in narrow apertures.
That being said, some of the best results come from rule-breaking anyway. So experiment, and see what works best for your macro photography.
Thoughts about macro photography? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Hope to see you back next time!