WHAT IS MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY?

WHAT IS MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY?
By Yehoshua Derovan

Photography is all about light. When photographers state this what they mean is that through photography we get to see the world as we know it in new light (or lack thereof). Landscapes taken at the right moment and time take your breath away, portraits that are full of genuine expression and lit in an interesting way allow us to glimpse into the human experience, travel and wildlife photography take us to places in the natural and human world we might never get to see for ourselves.

But there is one genre of photography that bares a real uniqueness to it – Macro photography (or close-up photography). What makes this fascinating type of photography special is the fact it doesn’t only illuminate in a new way what is already known, rather it discovers what the naked eye can’t see on account of it’s own powers. I for one find it really hard to not be amazed whenever I encounter a good macro photo.

MACRO TECHNIQUE & ESSENTIAL GEAR

Like in every other genre of photography a great macro image is composed of the delicate balance between artistic creativity being realized and technical know-how being executed. Before heading on to our main topic of technique we should mention that there are different subject matters within the realm of macro photography and they are not all equally “artistic” per se. Suffice it to mention that macro images include scientific applications such as in dental medicine and in forensic investigation work, and on the commercial end in jewelry adds.
The first technical term macro
enthusiasts encounter is magnification – describing the size an object will appear on your camera’s sensor compared to it’s size in reality. For instance, if you are using a 35 millimeter full frame DSLR (36x24mm) and you are photographing a subject that is 36 millimeters long and it appears from one edge to the other of the frame then you photographed at 1:1 magnification. This is achieved with macro lenses whose main characteristic is the ability to focus at a much closer distance than the equivalent focal length on a non-macro lens. Sometimes even 1:1 magnification isn’t enough and macro photographers add macro extension tubes to their macro lens to achieve an even closer image of their subject.

Getting this close to a subject creates one of the biggest challenges in macro photography, namely shallow depth field. The immediate solution one would think of is using a smaller aperture setting. Add to that the necessity to use very fast shutter speeds to negate camera shake (if shooting hand-held) and what you get is near impossible conditions for shooting due to lack of light hitting the image sensor. There are a few solutions available:
USING A TRIPOD
This will allow using a small aperture and slower shutter speed (somewhat like landscape photography). Some tripods (the ones insect macro photographer prefer) allow for very low minimum height by either removing the center column, flipping it or having it swivel on a 90 degree angle. It must be noted that using a tripod slows the process down and it might be extremely challenging to photograph live insects, for instance.

The use of a tripod actually enables the use of another technique – a focus rail and “focus stacking” in post-production. This method involves using a more moderate aperture and shooting multiple shots while moving the camera forward or backward hence capturing different fields of focus in each shot in the sequence. The image are later merged in dedicated software to achieve an image with an optically almost impossible depth of field.
USING LIGHTING
Macro photography has it’s own array of flash products. The main one being a ring flash (a circular tube of light surrounding the edge of the lens) which evolved from the fact that placing a flash in it’s usual spot on the camera hotshoe would cast a shadow on the subject coming from the lens. Other possibilities include using white diffusion panels in conjunction with a flash on the hotshoe or using the flash off-camera and diffusing it there.

Read The full Article On Israeli Lens Magazine Issue#13 Super Macro Photography

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Copyrights To Shikhei Goh©

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Copyrights To Shikhei Goh©

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Copyrights To Alejandro Ferres Ruiz @ All Rights ReservedWalking-red

Copyrights To Alejandro Ferres Ruiz @ All Rights Reserved

 

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