Introduction to Macro Photography Presentation

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    Introduction to MacroPhotography

    Dan Finelt

    April 2012

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    Contents Introduction

    Equipment

    Techniques Examples

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    Macro Photography:

    Definitions Macro photography refers to taking pictures of

    small things at close range.

    Traditionally, macro photography is defined asany photo in which the subject has at least a 1:1ratio with the photo negative (or sensor).

    This means that the image of the subject on thenegative (or sensor) is exactly the same size as the

    real life subject. Therefore, 1:1 is often referred toas life size.

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    Macro Photography:

    Definitions (Continued) Working distance refers to the distance between

    the end of your lens and your subject.

    As lens focal length increases, so does the workingdistance.

    Normally you want as much working distance aspossible.

    To keep your distance from live subjects

    To give you adequate room to set up your lightingFocal Length Work ing Dis tance

    200 mm 12.4(316 mm)

    100 mm 6.3(160 mm)

    50 mm 2.2(55 mm)

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    Macro Photography:

    Definitions (Continued) Using a macro lens results in a very shallow

    depth of field.

    Since we are dealing in inches and not feet in amacro photograph, very high f stops (i.e., f22,f32, etc.) are required to capture sharpnessacross the subject. This is especially true if the subject spans across

    more than the plane of focus. While f11 might be fine for a portrait, it will result

    in a fairly soft image in a macro photograph.

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    Macro Photography

    Tools of the Trade Tripod

    Macro Lens

    Extension Tubes/Bellows Diopters

    Teleconverter

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    Equipment: Tripod One of the biggest challenges in macro

    photography is obtaining really sharp images.

    Any movement of either the camera orsubject will result in less than tack sharpimages.

    Therefore, a good tripod is essential for

    macro photography. A ball type head works best for macro

    photography.

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    Equipment: Macro Lens This is the best optical choice for macro photography.

    The lens is corrected to focus to 1:1, meaning that theimage youre photographing is the same size on yourfilm (or sensor) as it is in real life.

    Advantages: They often have finely tuned optics, making them very sharp lenses. They are often fast lenses, so you can have quick shutter speeds

    without loss of sharpness.

    Drawbacks: Its a prime lens, so one more lens to lug around. You may have another

    lens of the same focal length. Theyre expensive especially at longer focal lengths, which I prefer.

    You dont need one to get a good macro image.However, if you become hooked on macro photography,you will eventually buy one.

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    Equipment: Diopters A close-up lens (or diopter) enables the camera to focus

    closer than it normally can. This means that the image willappear larger in the frame because you can get closer to it. Inother words, close-ups allow you to magnify the image. A

    diopter is, in fact, a magnifying glass. Close-ups can be stacked. When doing this, the highest

    powered close-up should be the closest to the camera.

    One problem with stacking is that the quality decreasesbecause there is more glass. Another issue is that as the

    magnification increases the depth of field decreases. Withreally high magnifications, the depth of field becomes paperthin.

    Still another important issue with close-ups is that you need toget so close to the subject (i.e., a close working distance).

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    Equipment: Extension

    Tubes Adding extension between the lens and camera

    body will let any lens focus closer. Magnification = Total extension / Focal length

    Total extension is the sum of how much your focusingbarrel has moved the lens out from its infinity focusposition, and any extension tubes you add.

    The longer the focal length of a lens, the larger theamount of extension needed to reach the macroregime. A 300 mm lens would need 300 mm of total extension (~1

    foot) to go to 1:1.

    Extension tubes come in different lengths and maybe stacked to achieve longer extension.

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    Equipment: Bellows Bellows let you continuously vary the

    extension. Reverse mounting a lens (mounting the lens to

    the bellows by the filter ring) yields more workingdistance at higher magnifications.

    But you have to manually stop the lens down priorto making your exposure.

    So a lens will need a mechanical aperture ring(versus electronic control) if you plan to use it ona bellows. For Nikon users this means no Glenses.

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    Equipment:

    Teleconverters These multiply the focal length of a lens

    without affecting the closest focus distance,thus multiplying the achievable magnificationby the same factor.

    They suffer from light loss, which makesfocusing more difficult. 1 f-stop for 1.4x

    2 f-stops for 2x

    There is some loss in image sharpness.

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    Equipment: SummaryMethod Magnification Cost Working

    Distance

    Pros Cons

    Macro Lens GeneralPhotography to 1:1

    $500 to$1,000

    Better with105 mm vs.

    60 mm

    Easy to use Costly

    Extension

    Tubes

    To 1:1 on a 100mm; 2:1 on 50 mm

    $100 to$200 fora set.

    Poor with anormal lens;good with atelephotolens

    Inexpensive;works with allyour lenses

    Focusing maybecomedifficult at highmagnification

    Diopters 1:1 with a telephotolens

    $50 to$100

    Good usinga telephotolens

    Small, light,low costaccessory

    Narrowmagnificationrange

    Teleconverters Multiplymagnificationdepending uponselectedteleconverter

    $200 to$600

    Best Continuousfocus

    Light losshampersfocusing

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    Equipment: Miscellaneous Cable release or remote trigger

    Mirror lock-up on your camera

    Both will help reduce vibration from thecamera which could result in loss ofsharpness.

    Reflectors and Diffusers

    Electronic flash

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    Useful Tools in the Field Spray bottle containing water

    Use to enhance subjects such as a morning dewor after a rain shower effect.

    Tweezers

    Remove distractions present on a subject such asstray grass, pollen, etc.

    Knee pads Need I say more

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    Macro Composition/Technique Two kinds of macro images (at least in my

    opinion) and variations between the two:

    Isolated Subject Here you have a subjecta flower, bee, etc., set

    against a background that is pleasing orcomplementary to the subject.

    Foreground Design

    The frame is filled with the design of a particular flower(or other subject).

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    Example of Isolated Subject

    1/100 at f29, ISO 400

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    Example of Foreground Design

    1/100 at f25, ISO 200

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    Techniques: Lighting A great composition can still look boring if the

    lighting is flat, or harsh if the lighting is to bright.

    The best lighting is in the morning or evening, where

    shadows are not harsh.

    Mid-day photos can make harsh compositions withblown highlights.

    Cloudy days (and even drizzly days) are highly

    preferable. Nothings better than a cloudy, drizzly,windless day. You might be miserable, but yourphotos will be great.

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    Lighting - Continued Macro photography has a small enough subject

    area that you can exert control over your lighting.

    Even in the harsh mid-day sun, you can use a

    diffuser to cut down on harsh shadows.

    A white umbrella makes a great diffuser.

    To add light on flat days, you can use a white, gold,or silver reflector to add some contrast.

    You can also use fill flash. As a guideline, set yourflash to under expose by 1.5 stops.

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    Technique: Depth of Field In macro photography, you have precious little to

    work with, even at f/16.

    Its often difficult to keep enough of your subject in

    focus while still blurring your backgroundthe moreseparation between your subject and background,the better.

    You can use shallower depth of field to blur out

    unwanted elements, floral imperfections, etc. You can also use it to your advantage to select your

    subject and distinguish it from other objects.

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    Technique: Patience Explore your subject fully.

    If you find an interesting subject, spend a lotof time there and take a lot of pictures.

    Look at the subject from different angles andpoints of view. Try to exhaust all possiblevantage points.

    Im surprised how many photographs I canfind if I slow down and look for some time.

    Be aware of any background distractions.

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    Technique: Capturing the

    Image The big challenge is getting your image sharp where you

    want it to be sharp and blurry where you want it.

    I gave up on autofocus for macro photography. Just

    focus manually; its a lot simpler. Find an angle that gives you enough separation between

    foreground and background.

    Keep your camera parallel with the plane of interest, sothat you can get your whole subject in focus.

    Bracket depth of field. Take lots of images at several f-stops and see which ones you like best later.

    Be patient, especially on cloudy, windy days, and useyour mirror lockup function (1/10 1/30 sec).

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    Key Takeaways Camera, tripod, cable release, mirror lock up,

    lens that can focus close up alone or withattachments.

    Besides the camera, the tripod is the most importanttool in macro photography.

    Dont take short cuts.

    Macro photography demands more precision than

    many other forms.

    The equipment can slow you down, force you tobe more patient, and youll take better pictures.

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    Simple Macro Composition

    Checklist Simplify your image as much as possible.

    Fill as much of the frame as possible withyour subject.

    Over-compensate for sharp focus.

    Experiment with various angles to find themost aesthetically pleasing.

    Be very aware of the background (which willbe out of focus) and eliminate anything thatwill be distracting.

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    Technique Examples

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    Depth of Field 1/200 at f32 with flash1/200 at f6.3 with flash

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    Depth of Field1/10 at f22; ISO 200 1/4 at f32; ISO 200

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    Depth of Field

    1/800 at f9; ISO 200 1/250 at f16; ISO 200

    1/400 at f13; ISO 2001/2000 at f5; ISO 200 1/400 at f13; ISO 2001/2000 at f5; ISO 200 1/400 at f13; ISO 2001/2000 at f5; ISO 200

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    With and Without Fill Flash

    1/8 at f22; With1/8 at f22 Without

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    With and Without Fill Flash

    1/15 at f22; With1/15 at f22 Without

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    With and Without Flash

    1/160 at f40; With0.8s at f40 Without

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    The Problem with WindBlur

    Try again when the winddies down.

    If the wind persists, you

    have a few options: Increase shutter speed/ISO,

    but will give up depth offield and more noise.

    Try and block the wind.

    Look for a similar subject ina protected location.

    Have a beer and comeback another day.

    1s at f36 and ISO 200

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    Plane of Focus

    Black backgroundcreated through flashand extremely high

    aperture number. Note the focus is on the

    caterpillar on the leftsmouth. This results inthe caterpillar on the

    right being less sharpbecause it is in adifferent plane of focus.

    1/125 at f52 With Flash

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    Patience Pays Off