Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's a Small World

Photography can be as exciting and varied as the world around us. It can also help us see new worlds that we never knew existed, right under our noses. That is the world of Macro Photography.

Macro is a continuing adventure to find the small, the insignificant, the unseen. And then to make it visually appealing. Study this image for a moment and come up with some ideas about what it is and how it was created. All will be revealed below.

Tick tock.  Tick tock. Any ideas yet? Write a few down before reading further. In all honesty, I never expected the subject I used to end up looking like this.

OK time's up. It is a macro shot of............... [wait for it]................... a rainbow-colored plastic wind twirler. You know, one of those things you hang from your deck that twist in the wind. It came from a dollar store and measures about 6 inches across.

Here is the set-up. It was very simple, created on my kitchen counter.  
Nothing fancy. But the lighting is key. It was shot at night in a dark room. The only light source was a small LED light made by Promaster and sold by Hunt's Photo and Video 

This little baby is a real powerhouse. It provided enough light for me to be able to handhold the camera. While I use a sturdy tripod when needed, when shooting macro I much prefer to handhold.  That allows me to get in exactly the position I want quickly, and not have to fiddle with moving the tripod, adjusting its leg height, and so on. It is so much easier to be free and be able to handhold the camera.

I also like that it is rechargeable AND has a dimmer switch so you can control the amount of light as needed. For more information on the Promaster LED 120SS light, contact Gary at Hunt's at 781-662-8822. (Mention you heard about it here, and get very special treatment.)

But back to the shot. Once I placed the wind twirler on the blue paper, and set the light off to the side as shown, I tried several different camera angles and positions to find something that looked good. The macro lens allowed me to get very close to one of the bars of the twirler, and by using a very shallow Depth of Field the rest of the subject became just a blur. The light reflecting off the shiny plastic created the soft dots of color.

The overall feeling is that you are looking into a distant tunnel, when in fact the entire twirler is only a few inches in size.

So go to a dollar store in your area, or find interesting objects you already own, and start creating your own unique macro images. If you want to participate in a full immersion macro workshop, come to the Outer Banks of North Carolina May 23 - 26 for the popular Macro Mania Workshop. We will shoot macro and beach scenes in the mornings and afternoons, and indoor macro set-ups indoors at mid-day. We'll have fun in the sun at the beach, and you will learn great new and creative macro techniques! There are still a few spaces left. Details at

Shutter Speed 1/100 sec.  Aperture f/3.2.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS. Camera: Canon 7D Mark II.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Look at [a] picture as a graphic representation of a mood and not as a representation of objects."  --Wassily Kandinsky

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