Why Do I Love Macro Photography?

Anyone who has visited my flickr gallery would know that I am an avid fan of Macro Photography (specially insects). Some people find my passion for shooting insects difficult to digest. What is so tempting about photographing insects that I can spend hours together behind a small creature to get that best shot? Well, it’s the beautiful patterns, or I should say the designs that the insects are gifted – and we are not.  These minute details are which I keep trying to capture as I can not admire those with my naked eyes.

Coming to macro photography, it is not as easy as it seems.  First you have to work with not-so-cooperative insects and second you need a powerful lens to capture them.  Also, either you need some sort of support to steady the camera (a tripod or a monopod or something where you can rest your camera) or you got to have very very steady hands.  I don’t have a tripod yet, so I try to utilize my hands as much as possible.

Here are some tips for macro photography –

  • Know limitations of your camera – each camera a minimum distance beyond which it can’t focus.  For example in normal macro mode, my Canon S3 IS can focus at 1 cm but not less than that.  In Super macro mode, it can focus at 0 cm too, nice.
  • Have enough light – for macro photography, you need to zoom a lot to get closer to the subject and hence need much more light than shooting at wide angle.
  • Get a tripod (I need to get it too) – As you are working at far end of telephoto range, a small shake can give you a completely blurred image.
  • Get a good macro lens – Normal point and shoot cameras are generally not equipped with good enough lens for macro photography.  You need a lens which can enlarge the image and still retain the sharpness.  I use Raynox DCR-250 lens on top of my Canon S3 IS.  This lens enlarges the image 8 times and is very good at retaining the sharpness of the subject.
  • Keep away from Bumble bees 🙂

Below are some of my favorite macro shots that I have taken over last 3 years.

 

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis
Dragonfly
Quietly sitting Dragonfly
Flower
Flower - I don't know the name
Butterfly
Butterfly

And finally this video.  It’s much more fun when you can capture such wonderful macro videos. I wish I had a tripod.

You wouldn’t appreciate these lovely creatures unless you bend down on your knees and get to their level to see their world.

My First Attempt At HDR

One fine evening (some 9 months ago) I wake up in the evening (Yes, I do that) and what I see from my balcony is a beautiful scene created by mother nature.  Immediately thought came in mind to capture it forever.  But the moment I click, I don’t see the same beauty on the LCD panel of my not-so-expensive camera. If I try to capture the details in the sky, I miss out the details on earth and vice versa.

Then comes the thought to try something different, which I haven’t tried myself before.  Set the camera to exposure bracketing mode to take three different shots at different exposures (-2, 0, +2 in my case) and click click click.  I get three different images with different exposures.

I transfer the images to my Mac and use Photomatix to bind them one over another.  Photomatix does a great job (after some tweaking here and there) and it gives me this wonderful image which exactly looked like the scene outside. Bingo. I like the natural looking image I got.  I have seen some overly processed HDRs which look like some abstract art.  Here my motive was to get the image which looks as real as possible and to my surprise, I did succeed to most extent.

View from my balcony
Trying my hands at HDR

The original images used to create this HDR can be viewed here.

Here is one more attempt at HDR.  The image below was created by binding two separate images, which were not shot keeping HDR in mind (didn’t use exposure bracketing for these).

One more attempt at HDR

If you want to read further on HDR, there is a good Wikipedia article you can read here.