I’ve talked about the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens before; as a reminder, the gardens are best known for their lotus blossoms. They are so well known, that they attract amateur and professional photos every year. It’s very hard to get a unique shot at such a well documented location (just look through our Flickr group and you’ll see what I’m talking about). So when I saw A. Drauglis’ photo above, it just called out for special attention.
Most people when they photograph lotus blossoms focus on the petals; or, at the very least, include them in the shot. A. Drauglis’ photo completely eliminates them from the shot, deciding to only focus on the stamen. Not only does he focus on only a small part of the flower, he gets a macro shot which gives the feeling of looking inside the body of a living creature, not the outside of a flowering plant. The warm, pleasing pinks and oranges just draw the eye in; while the soft focus on the stems makes the viewer think it’s part of a dream. Truly a unique shot and well worth pouring over.
Macro photography can open up a whole new world. While the macro level of measurement is simply what we can see, when used to describe photography the word describes an extreme close-up of very small item. And as you can see from Kim’s picture, it can show an amazing amount of detail that is nearly invisible to the casual observer. I’m not even sure what type of flower this is, but from this perspective it looks like something that evolved on another world.
A photographer can do macro photography using a number of different tools and techniques. The simplest and most direct way is to use specialty macro lenses. The draw back of these lenses are they are very expensive. A simpler way is to use close-up filters (basically magnifying glasses that screw onto the camera lens) to magnify a zoom lens. While this way is significantly cheaper, it’s also reduces the quality of the image. Yet another way is to achieve macro photographs is to reverse a zoom lens on the camera; think of it like looking the wrong way through a pair of binoculars. This is obviously very cheap as you are using a readily available lens, but it is complicated to get everything working right. These are just a few ways, so if you’re interested in trying this, check out the link at the start of the paragraph. It can open a whole new world of photography to you!
DC1_9191 by Spodie Odie
When I first became interested in photography I was obsessed with doing macro work. A friend of mine who is a Nikon guy (the horror!) showed me the results he was getting with his macro lens and I was sold right away. Not long after I purchased what is still one of my favorite lenses, my 180mm macro lens, and to the flower gardens I went. I got some strange looks as I walked around my neighborhood with a tripod, a giant lens, and a shutter release cable, however when I made journeys to the National Arboretum or to Kennilworth Aquatic Gardens, I found photographers decked out in camouflage with gear that put mine to shame.
If you find yourself getting hooked on macro photography, be prepared to buy some serious gear. This great shot by Spodie Odie was taken with a Nikon D300 and what I’m guessing is their 60mm micro lens. A tripod is a definite must for macro work too because the closer you get to your subject, the more every tiny move is amplified. Using a shutter release cable and mirror lockup (if your camera supports it) allows you to minimize the amount of camera movement generated by the shutter opening and closing as well as the shake in your hands. If you really want to go off the deep end you can buy extension tubes and special macro flashes which can achieve some amazing results. Soon you’ll be seeing detail in nature that you never knew existed before.