Daily Macro View
Benefits of Macro
You don’t have to travel far for macro
Macro subjects are everywhere. You can find them at the local parks, in your own yard, and even inside your home. I have two great parks within twenty minutes of my house, and probably ninety percent of my images are photographed in those parks. A few of my best selling images were shot in my backyard. Most people have flower gardens in their yard, so they can walk outside their home and shoot. This close convenience saves on fuel, wear on our vehicles, and time when we just have an hour or two available. In the winter here in Michigan, I do most of my shooting indoors. I buy flowers from the local florist and also go online to order from websites that sell feathers, mounted butterflies, sea shells, and slab agates, all of which can be arranged into artistic compositions.
You can shoot with just one lens
You don’t need a whole arsenal of lenses for macro photography. I got by with one lens for seven years before I added new lenses. I shot for those first seven years using a macro lens in the 180mm range. If you are starting out as a macro photographer and are limited on funds, a mid range focal length lens like the Tamron 90mm will work well for all purposes. If you plan to shoot live subjects such as butterflies, dragonflies, and other small critters that will flee if you are too close, go with the longer focal like Tamron’s 180mm macro lens. If you like to handhold your camera, try the light and fast shooting Tamron 60mm macro lens. Plan on shooting the majority of your shots with your camera mounted on a good sturdy tripod with ball-head.
Subject matter changes every month
With the four seasons, we have an ever-changing environment month by month and sometimes day by day. I can revisit the same areas every couple of weeks and find new subjects. It is a constant cycle as nature transitions from life to death. Depending on where you live, your seasons may vary and the environment may be totally different from the rest of the country. Learn about the subjects and life cycles of the plants and critters in your area, and make sure you are in the field when subjects come into season.
Shoot any time of day
Landscape and wildlife photographers have limited control over lighting and tend to shoot in the early morning and late evening which offer the best light. Because of the small subjects macro photographers work with, we have the ability to control our light by using diffusers and reflectors, so we can shoot any time of the day. I carry a 12” diffuser which I use to control harsh overhead light from hitting my subjects, and a 12” silver/gold reflector for bouncing light into shaded areas of a subject. I will occasionally hand hold a special LED box light that is tuned for daylight to add light where needed.
One of the challenges for a macro photographer is working with depth of field. Because we are shooting very close to our subjects, the depth of field is very shallow causing out of focus areas in our photos. The closer we get to the subject, the less that will be in focus. We can use this shallow depth of field to our advantage in creating artistic compositions. If you like soft focus dreamlike images, shoot in the lower f/stop range and use this shallow depth of field to produce some beautiful artwork. If you have a subject with interesting lines and textures, you can set your f/stop to the highest numbers in order to bring everything into focus. We have the ability to cause everything in an image to be in focus as well as to use a more shallow focus range for creative effect.
Your own personal art
The ability to create personalized art is an important benefit. Every image on my website is an original. These subjects were present for only a brief moment in time, until the environment erased them forever. None of my images can be reproduced again because the subjects do not exist anymore. Mountains, rivers, and lakes exist day after day and can be photographed over time by many photographers. Because my subjects have been eliminated by Mother Nature, the photographic images now exist as my own originals.
Each year, more and more nature photographers discover the benefits of macro. The internet has allowed us to display our images on the many websites geared to nature photography; macro is growing and becoming a very popular pastime. Take some time and explore all the local parks and your own backyard. Enjoy the fun and unique experience that macro photography provides.
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