What Is Macro Photography

Posted: July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized
What Is Macro?
We think of the term “macro photography” as filling the frame with small subjects.
Shooting within a close distance to the subject.
There are three styles that fall into the “macro photography” category.
We simplify it by lumping all three under the one term “macro photography”
If I’m shooting multiple subjects or larger subjects along with it’s surrounding area, we are really shooting “close-up” photography. The majority of what I shoot would fall into this category.
You see in this image, I’m framing multiple subjects that covers a large area. You can shoot this with your traditional macro lens, or in many cases your standard lenses, depending on the minimum focusing distances of the lens. The minimum focusing distance of my Tamron 18-270 lens, or my Tamron 16-300 lens, would allow me to shoot this subject. So I don’t necessarily need a macro lens for this shot.


If I wanted to shoot this same subject, but move in for a closer shot of just the rain drops, I pull out my macro lens, which is designed to focus in closer, and get us into that 1:1 “macro” range. Once we hit that 1:1 minimum focusing distance of our macro lens, we are now working in the next style, “macro”.


This is also “close-up” photography. I’m shooting a large subject with a surrounding area, and this was easily done with my standard Tamron 16-300 lens.


If we can shoot close-up photography with our standard lens, then why do we need a macro lens? You don’t need a macro lens, if you are only going to shoot “close-ups”, but if you need to get in closer then the “close-up” range, then you will need a macro lens, unless you want to add on extension tubes to your regular lens, which will allow the regular lens to focus in closer and into the macro world.
Even though a regular lens will focus into “macro” ranges with extension tubes, the tubes are a big inconvenience, as each tube only works in a certain range, and you will have to add and subtract tubes as you change distances from the subject, causing you to have to take off the lens each time you change tubes, and also exposing the camera’s sensor to dust when you change tubes. A big hassle, so much better just having a macro lens.
If we are shooting a combination of close-up and macro styles then it’s best to carry a macro lens because it will cover both styles, “close-up” and “macro”.
Here is a section of a small feather shot in the “macro” 1:1 range.
How do you know when you are in the 1:1 range of your macro lens?
It will be when you are shooting in the minimum focusing distance of the macro lens.

These Stamens of a flower are in the “macro” 1:1 range.


As we cross over into the magical land of “micro” photography, it becomes a very tricky area of macro. We are now moving past the 1:1 range into the 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 5:1 magnification.
This style is when you see an image posted of tiny bugs heads filling the frame. I never do “micro” as I’m not really after bugs, and the very minute areas of the subject I tend to shoot, would become very abstract, and not good sellers for print sales.
With the very high magnification needed to produce “micro” images, it becomes very difficult to work with because of the extreme shallow depth of field. This is one area not for the faint of heart.
I have only produced a couple “micro” images.
This image below is a tiny part from the center of a Gerbera daisy. As you can see the depth of field is very little, so most good “micro” photographers do what is called “focus stacking” where they shoot many shots at different focus points and then use a “focus stacking” software like Helicon Focus to merge all the sharpest parts of each shot into one fully focused image.
It can sometimes take up to 50 shots to get all the points of focus through out the subject, so that’s what kind of shallow depth of field you can expect.
So how do you get into that “micro range”.
You can do what I did and find a 50mm standard lens and a reversing ring that will screw on the front of the 50mm to the front of your macro lens.
You could use extension tubes or close-up filters added to you macro lens that will allow you to focus in closer to the subject.
Canon makes a macro lens called a MP-E 65mm. It will go from “macro” 1:1 range, up to 5:1 for your super “micro” world.

Here is another example of working in the “micro” style. This tiny section of a dragon fly wing, and I added some extension tubes onto my macro lens for the higher magnification.

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Fine Art Macro – From Capture Through Creative Post Processing
I’m excited to offer this brand new macro workshop that is designed to teach you how to create fine art macro images rather than snapshots that just document a subject.
There is a big difference between shooting snapshots and creating something worthy of hanging on the walls of your home. You will receive in-depth learning about the subjects that work best for fine art photography, and how to compose the subjects properly.
Once you learn how to create a fine art macro image, I will teach you how to take it to the next level through post processing options in Photoshop, Nik Software, Topaz, and Smart Photo Editor. I use simple methods that create artistic looking images without getting complicated.
I see so many images posted on the internet that have nice subjects, are composed well, but don’t have the finishing touch of post processing. It’s a big part of digital photography that is as important as the art of capturing an image with the camera.
I’ve had so many photographers ask when I’m going to teach a workshop on the creative side of post processing and here it is. You’ll see the whole process from capturing the subject in the field to the artistic processing that takes place in the digital darkroom.
There will be a few tips on equipment, but this workshop will be mainly about image making and creative processing. You will bring your camera, lens, and tripod as I will have set ups to shoot in the classroom.
If you need a sleeping room at the hotel they have a special rate “Mike Moats Workshop” of $99 for Friday and Saturday nights.
Locations for this new workshop
Cost only $159
Staybridge Suites, Chantilly, Virgina, March 19th and 20th
Sign up at http://www.macrostoreonline.com












Locations for this new workshop
Cost only $159
SpringHill Suites, Warrenville, IL February 6th and 7th
Hampton Inn, Skokie, IL March 5th and 6th
Sign up at http://www.macrostoreonline.com
You may have heard the old saying “the best camera is the one you have with you”. Well on an out-wash from a glacier near Seward, Alaska, all I had was a small point and shoot Canon G16, and made this great image of a cool abstract pattern in the sand.
It’s not about the camera, it’s about identifying good subjects, composing them well, and good post processing. All those topics are in my new Workshops for this fall and next year. If you don’t see one near your city, keep checking back as I am working on new locations for 2016.



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I am offering a free e-book of 50 pages from my Tiny Landscapes soft cover book.  Please read instruction to receive your copy.  In order to receive the e-book you have to email me a macrogeekmike@yahoo.com   and I will send you back your email with the e-book.  Please don’t comment on this post saying send me the e-book, you have to send me an email and I will reply with the e-book.

Free Tiny Landscapes E-Book

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized
Free 50 page Tiny Landscapes e-book. Just send me an email and I’ll send you back the PDF of the e-book.  macrogeekmike@yahoo.com

Give Yourself Options

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized
In my Macro Workshops I teach about “giving yourself options”.
Whenever I would find a subject to shoot, I would study it, decide which way was best to compose the subject in the frame, and than shoot it.
One day I was processing an image, and I wasn’t happy with the way I had composed the subject, and now had a different vision on how I wished I would have composed it.
The problem is it’s to late now, I couldn’t get back out there to re-shoot the subject that day, and by the time I could get back out in a few days, or a week later, the subject may have changed, or it could have been erased by the environment.
I realized that I needed to take the time to compose subjects in a variety of ways to give myself options, and I’ll decide later when processing the image, which composition worked the best.
So give yourself options, and shoot many different compositions of a subject.
Here is a good example of a subject that I couldn’t decide which way to angle and compose the dark center line of the plant, so I framed it in six different options, and I will decide later which way was best.
Want to know which one I liked best.
I still have decided, but at least I have options.

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You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com
To see my processing videos click here
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When we think of a job that requires hard work, stress on the body, getting dirty, we call it a Blue Collar job.
When you look at what we go through as macro photographers, it sure is the blue collar of nature photography.
Hard on the back, knees take a beating. we get dirty from head to toe, sounds like blue collar to me.
We’re a tough bunch us macro photographers, and proud of it.
Looks like this macro lady will be doing some wash when she get home.


I keep my Chiropractor in business with the stress on my back.


This shots not to tough on the body, but just got to watch out for the ticks and spiders crawling inside your pant legs.


This isn’t bad but sometimes you have to contort your body in funky positions.


I should call the guy from the “Dirty Jobs” show, and take him into the musky smelling, mosquito infested swamp for a day. :)


I wonder if macro photographers get paid as well as the landscape photographers do? The blue collar workers usually have to work harder for less pay.
But that’s okay we do it because we love it.
It puts us in closer touch with mother earth.


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