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Up close and not so personal...humble beginnings at macro photography.

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

A celebration of little things!

For my first photography assignment of the year I decided to try my hand at close up photography, mainly so that I’ll be ready to capture those little bugs when they appear with the change of season. I don’t own a macro lens and at the moment don’t intend to spend the 300 or so euros needed to buy one, so I took the cheaper option and bought some macro filters. These came in a four pack of x1, x2, x4 and x10 magnification lens filters. I made a start in my own back garden and met with varying degrees of success, ranging from a close up but blurry image, to a sharp image that wasn’t quite ‘close up’. I was soon to realise some of the issues that arise with macro photography. For a start there is the focusing issue, which will take time and practice to master, but an even greater problem is that of camera shake. The closer I came to my subject the more camera shake I experienced, resulting in an image like the one below.

I will have to consider investing in a tripod for future macro work!

The photographs below were taken in my garden on a calm January day after a rain shower.

Raindrops keep falling…

What I particularly like about close-up photography is that it doesn’t involve travelling to find a beautiful landscape or an interesting view. In close up photography the interest is in the tiny detail and creative images can be produced in ordinary places. Macro photography, where the subject is reproduced at its actual size, can produce even more detail and more interesting images. There is something magical about seeing a tiny part of a subject and playing around with different options instead of focusing on the whole subject. It is akin to being let loose in a small world, and that’s the fun part. It also involves lots of movement, getting in close, moving out, finding the best focus, and often finding something unexpected or finding something in an unexpected place.

This garden ornament in a friend’s garden provided another opportunity to get up close.

I will use close up photography as a way to learn more about photography in general - about timing, focusing, avoiding camera shake and working with a scene to get some dynamic images. With some luck I'll have learned some of the skills necessary to start shooting bugs and insects later in the year.

In the first of these images the flower was in focus, while in the second the leaf was the main focus.

I realise how much of the small stuff we miss as we hurry around every day; raindrops on leaves after a shower, little flowers surviving through the winter, the beautiful patterns of decaying plants. Even dead plants have their beauty!


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