close-ups

oldcraftyMarch 3, 2011

I've gone from trying to take successful long distance shots to trying my hand at close-ups. Please be honest and give me pointers as what I can do to improve. I had to get to within 2-3 inches of the flower, is that normal? I had it on the macro setting.

Thanks for any and all input.

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alisande

The focus on the second is better than the first, but still not as good as I'd like to see. Generally speaking, shooting close gives you a relatively shallow depth of field, so only certain subjects (or parts of subjects) are going to be in focus. The standard wisdom is to use a tripod if at all possible, as camera movement makes focus all the more difficult.

My first thought was that you should stay out of the sun. The noonday sun is poor timing for photographing most subjects. Flowers look their best in early morning light, or late in the day.

I'm surprised your photo covered such a large area if you were 2" away. I'm guessing the lens is wide-angle.

What camera are you using? If you want to get very close, I recommend acquiring a macro lens. Depending on your camera, you might add something like a Raynox super-macro conversion lens, or buy a separate macro lens if you're shooting with a DSLR. With either one, you'll be able to get farther from the subject while getting results that are very close and magnified.

I did not use a tripod for the following images. (Do as I say, not as I do.) :-)

Here's one taken with the Raynox on my Panasonic Lumix camera. See what I mean about the shallow depth of field?

And here's one I took with a macro lens on my Olympus DSLR.

The one exception to my "no bright sun" rule--photographing drops of oil on water.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:31PM
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Konrad___far_north

Checked out your shooting info. time was after 4PM, and in TV mode
which is OK, the only problem was that you have used too low shutter
speed, 1/40 second, this can cause blur when shooting by hand and
flowers/leafs move in the wind.
In these conditions you have to make sure the shutter speed is way up,
start around 1/250 and go up if not good. This is also important when shooting birds animals etc..whatever is moving.
Make sure the lens is in before you put it on macro.
My wife's pictures are shot at 1/640 second, using the SX10 IS [older model]

>I had to get to within 2-3 inches of the flower, is that normal?Yes, you can go closer, just about touching the subject.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 1:22AM
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taigen_gw

I am just learning about macro and DSLR. I first realized how much I enjoyed it with an Olympus step camera that had the macro program on it. It pushed me into buying a DSLR and a macro lens. I also just recently bought some extension tubes which help with a macro photos.
I agree about getting very close at times and using a tripod may be needed but not always practical.
Here are some learning shots I took on Sunday of a blue & gold macaw feather. Some of them are with just the macro lens and some with the 12mm extension tube.
As I said I am just stepping into this area but I am looking forward to getting outside and trying some shots. We still have very deep snow here.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:44PM
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Konrad___far_north

I really don't know what happened here, a very narrow band focused and
rest is blur, tell us what equipment you use, perhaps someone can help.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:30AM
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taigen_gw

Hi Konrad...using Nikon D5000 camera and Tamron 90mm macro lens. With some of the very close ones I used a 12mm Kenko extension tube.
I understand about the limited DOF in macro etc. but I too don't understand the "band" in some of them.
Thanks for any insight you have.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 7:33AM
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alisande

Taigen, I think the razor-thin DOF could explain it--especially if the feather is curved. You'll have fun with this equipment!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 11:25AM
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taigen_gw

Alisande...I do understand that there is only a small part of the photo that will be in focus for macro and even more so with the tubes. What I don't understand is why this appears to be a "band" across the photo insted of in the center area.
The feathers were not flat and actually some interesting effects took place in camera..creating waves etc.
I'm just curious if this razor thin band of focus is because of the tubes or something I am doing.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:22PM
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alisande

I haven't had any experience with the tubes, but my thought was that what appears to be a band could be, in fact, an area the same distance from the lens, therefore sharing a focal length.

When I do macro photography I depress the shutter halfway and then move the camera ever-so-slightly back and forth (forward and backward) until the desired part of the subject is in focus. Do your "bands" include the part of the feather you wanted in focus?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Konrad___far_north

Yes, one would think focus would be along the flat area, in center along the spine vertically, not horizontal where you have more curve.
Sorry, I'm not familiar with your set up.

How would it work when your'e farther away....this should have more
depth of field.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:44PM
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taigen_gw

I'm going to try and do some more of these this weekend with better lighting. I have no free standing lights but I will see what I can do to bump up the light.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 7:54AM
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taigen_gw

I got a chance yesterday to try a few more of these. It was brighter outside and I brought in some lamps with those energy bulbs. This allowed me to lower the f/ to f/14 - f/22.
I am also including a photo of the feathers. They are range 10 - 24" long and about 2-4" wide at their widest. My intent was to get a shot of the individual strands and their colours/make up. I think this second try better depicts that.
So what I have learned from this is when shooting extreme close up you do need extra lighting and to be able to compensate for it. Another interesting thing is that trying to shoot the blue side of the feathers was really difficult. The blue continued to have that strong razor thin line of DOF.
Anyway...here are a few of the second try.
Thanks again for all the input :)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 9:37AM
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alisande

Beautiful feathers! Yes, closing down the aperture gave you greater DOF. Do you think you had an easier time with the yellow because it reflects light better than the darker blue?

Is that sand in the feathers? Or did you salt them for some reason? :-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 12:07AM
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taigen_gw

Thanks Alisande, the lighting and stopping down the aperture did make quite a difference!

Yes I think the yellow reflects far easier than the blue. The blue I could have gotten if I used the tripod and remote to get the shot. That blue is very dark and seemed to absorb all the light.

The little "dots" or salt as you call it, you see on her feathers are what we used to call her dandruff! Very tiny indeed. So that give you an idea of how close the macro/tubes got to the shot.

Thanks for all the encouragement with this...it really has been a learning experience for me and hopefully for others in the thread/forum.

I will probably give these another try in summer....when I will have lots of light (hopefully) to get a good shot!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 7:23PM
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