Macros and Close Up Photography

Post 2 – Options for shooting close up

We really enjoy using a 105 Nikon macro lens.  It’s sharp, and once you make friends with it, the creative options are endless.

Glasswing butterfly, Belize © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Glasswing butterfly, Belize
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

This butterfly is about 1.5 inches tall.  The transparent wings enable you to see right through to the background.  It is very important to position yourself so that the background enhances, not distracts.  By using my 105 macro, I was able to be back far enough not to scare the butterfly off the leaf and to pick a depth of field that got the butterfly sharp and the background in soft focus.

Golden orb, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Golden orb, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

This spider was about 8 feet high in a tree.  Another technique we like to use is extension tubes with a long lens.  Extension tubes are hollow, allowing that sharp 400mm lens to bring in subjects close that are too far to reach with a macro lens.  Depth of field is a bit trickier, but my goal here was to put the background blooming tree out of focus for a nice painted background.  Remember, extension tubes are hollow, tele-extenders have glass and serve a different purpose.

Crocodile, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Crocodile, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Extension tube attached to a 80-400mm lens at 400. They can also help you keep your distance!

Jaguar prints, Belize © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Jaguar prints, Belize
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Sometimes, the wide angle lens is needed when all the edges of the paw print need to be sharp to define the print.  Prints of the elusive jaguar is a regular find on our way to Caracol, Belize.

Leaf cutter ants, Belize © 2014 Bob Harvey

Leaf cutter ants, Belize
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Night photography of leaf cutter ants with backlight from flash, extension tubes on the 28-300mm lens.

Pineapple, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Pineapple, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Extension tubes on a zoom lens enables you to select the composition most pleasing to you.

Heron feather, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Heron feather, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Frigate bird, Galapagos © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frigate bird, Galapagos
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

 

Drops on a leaf, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Drops on a leaf, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Butterfly, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Butterfly, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Leaf, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Leaf, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frog, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frog, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Remember to always be on the lookout. Sometimes great subjects are almost invisible while you are hiking down a trail.  Take your time, look around, and explore different techniques for capturing small subjects.

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