Macro photography made easy

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  • 7/28/2019 Macro photography made easy

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    A yellow bee tle on rain dropcovered grass, 60mm Micro lens. Circular Polarizer Lens (C-PL) filter, tripod, long exposure, high f-stop

    Andrey Antov, PPSAHamden, Connecticut

    Why spend all that money on long-zoomed lenses,heavy tripods, powerful flashes and expensiveplane tickets? Why use your vacation time to travelto a remote destination so that you have a coupleof hours to shoot something someone else hasalready photographed?

    A tarantula spider with a gulf frititlarybutterfly. Set-up in the hotel room,60mm Micro lens, C-PL filter, tripod, long exposure, high fstop, blackbackground, window light

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    Some of the most am azing images I have eveseen, pictures with great composition and co lorpalettes, are ones taken from a close-up setting.They are also the types of photos that require thleast of your time, money and travel.

    There are several reasons for going macrorather than into landscape and bird photographyis cheaper, the objects are easily accessible, thecomposition can be manipulated according toyour preferences, and there are better chances orepeating the pictures. In addition, one can shoomacro with the least sophisticated equipment noonly outside, but also inside the house.

    Next time when you leave your house whileit is raining, thinking that it is bad weather forphotography, take a close peak at the grass outsiWhat do you see? Crystal-clear droplets on briggreen blades of grass. If you are patient, you canlook around and find an insect or another smallliving object staying still under the drizzle waitifor the sun to come ou t. Do not waste your timego home and pick up your camera, put on your jacket and ski pants (if you do not have those, dnot panic, place a large plastic bag on the gro unLie down on the grass, spread your tripod and tyour time to create the right compo sition. The

    PSA Journal August 200

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    fled spotted new t, cloudy day in the forest, 60mm Microlens, C-Pi filter, tripod, long exposure, high f-stop, blackbackground

    insect will still he there and the light will still bediffused and even. In other words, no need to rush.No need to worry and stress ihat the object will flyaway. No need of deflectors, flashes and all that

    Green grasshopper on thorn's flower, sunny day, 60mmMicro lens, C'PL filter, tripod, short exposure , ow f-stop,black background positioned between the subject and sun

    heavy equipment. Keep the f-stops low (f2.8-5.6)or just enough to achieve the nicely blurred greenbackground. Focus well on ihc object of interest

    - that small and brightly colored insect. If you aretoo close to the arthropod, aim for its eye. If theconditions allow, try to get as many other parts infocus. Make sure that the lens is pointing awayfrom the rain, if not, use a white or transparentumbrella to protect yourself and the equipment.

    Once the rain stops, while the clouds stillprovide you with diffused and even light, bringyour colored paper backgrounds and tind aninteresting tlower or another small object. Placethe sheet of paper behind it. In this case, youcould use the highest t-stop in order to have ail thedetails in focus. It will be perfect if the background

    Ceanothus moth. Set-upat home, 60mm M icrolens, C-PL filter, tripod,long exposure, high f-stoblack background, windlight with small mirrorsareflectors

    PSA Journal August 2009

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    Jumping spider with a house fly, at home set-up, 60mm Micro lens, C-PL filter, tripod,long exposure, high f-stop, grey background, aluminum foilused as a reflector

    Halloween Pennant, sunny day, 60mm Micro lens. C-PLfilter, handheld camera, short exposure, low f-stop, natubackground (blurred green grass)

    is far enough from the object so its surfaceunevenness will not be detected on the ima tripod and a low shutter speed (correspoto the high f-stop) with a self-timer or a rerelease control {when manually triggering shutter. low speed brings lots of vibration)

    Once the rain stops and the sun comes ojum p into your car and drive just as far so can and tind a meadow or a place with flow

    Red-bandedleafhopper, cloudy

    day, 60mm Micro lens.C-PL filter tripod, iongexposure, high f-stop,

    black background

    Any mention of productsor services in this article oranj-wliere else in iePS AJoiiniul diics not constitute ancntlorsemeirt or approval oftJiose items.

    24 PSA Journal August 2009

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    Walk among them (without causing any damageto the plants). Even if you do not see anythingworth photographing, stay still and patiLMitly wait.Soon, insects will stail flying and landing on theblossoms surrounding you. You will almost neversucceed at such an ambush if you were aimingfor a heron or a tiger with your 40()mm zoom. Bypaying close attention, you will be able to estimateroughly how m uch time each bug spends drinkingnectar betre flying away. Once you figure thatout, press the trigger just before the little crittertakes off. After a few times of consistent practicewith the same type of insect, you might be able to

    take a picture of the bug flying above the flower.Again, keep the speed high, the backgroundblurred (1 stop low); focus on the moving objectand the blossom. Position the lens surface parallelto the triangle fonned by the flower, the bug andIhe direction of the flight. Before leaving themeadow, take a live small beetle (or other critter)in one of your no longer used 35mni film boxes.Bring a twig with leaves or some interesting floweras well.

    Once you go back home, clean the area aroundthe largest window in your house. This will beyour "m acro studio." Place the flower from the

    meadow in a vase with water and position anappropriate color background behind it. Set yourtripod and camera. Take a few images of the plantuntil you achieve the right camera settings. It willbe best if the window is not behind the camera butat 4? to 80 degrees angle to the axis of the lens(with the lens facing away from the light). Thebackground should be set in such a way so youcould avoid the shadow of the plant. If the color ofthe paper is black, then the side facing the camerashould be in a shadow (to make the backdrop asblack as possible). Once you are comfortable withyour quick set up. you could play with a mirror

    or a small reflector (white piece of material or analuminum wrap) to illuminate particular parts ofthe object. Later on you could bring the beetleto the picture. Let it craw! and when it stops, setthe trigger. Please, do not forget to release the[iiiniature model once the session is over.

    Later in the evening, you could re-assess theimages you have taken during the day. If you seesomething that does not look great, do not worry.All of these photos you have taken during the daycould still be repeated as long as it rains again, aslong as there are flower meadow s, and as long asthere is light coming through your window.

    Locust borer, 60mm Micens. C - P L filter, handhelcamera, short exposure,low f-stop, naturalbackground (blurredgreen grass)

    A n d r e yA n t o vP

    Photos Andrey Antov, PPSA

    PSA Journal August 2009

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