I’ve been doing more macro and close-up photography lately. It’s something I’ve always loved. The details of the natural world just fascinate me. I like small critters. Some of them are so feisty! And I love wildflowers! Yes I know I don’t look the part, but why can’t a big ugly guy like to play in a field of flowers?
I think I also like the challenge of macro. All that bending and stooping kills my back. The wind blowing flowers around frustrates the heck out of me. Butterflies flying off just as I’m about to press the shutter button. Things like this are what I live for!
So I thought I’d do a few posts on it, starting this week. A caveat: I’m not trying to be exhaustive or complete. To explain all the things you need to think about and do while getting close with your camera would take an entire book!
First off, is there a difference between macro and close-up photography? Though the answer to that is yes, you really don’t have to worry about it. Essentially, true macro is done very close to your subject and with high magnification. Generally it uses a dedicated macro lens. Close-up photography comes in when you move a bit further away, with less magnification. It can be done with extension tubes, close-up filters, or while using the macro settings on some lenses.
Why do macro and close-up photography?
- It’s fun! You can spend hours in that “flow” state where you lose track of time. Afterwards you have that pleasant and incongruous feeling of having worked hard, but you feel strangely refreshed.
- This is a great way to shake things up, to break out of creativity ruts. Awhile back I did a post on ways to keep your photography fresh.
- Close-up photography teaches observation skills. When you’re always on the lookout for macro opportunities, you naturally start looking low as well as at eye level, you shift your focus close as well as far, you think small- as well as large-scale.
- You don’t need perfect light for this. Yay! While light is still an issue, as it always is in photography, with macro you can afford to be much less rigid about what light is acceptable, especially when compared to traditional landscape photography.
- You get a deeper and more complete appreciation for nature doing macro & close-up. I often want to take those fellow photographers aside and show them this other world that they’re walking right over on the way to yet another traditional large landscape.
That’s it for now. Next week we’ll dive into all the tips and techniques for successful close-up and macro photography. Have a spectacular weekend!