Macro Photography is a relatively new concept to me – I wasn’t aware of the term previously as I had never attempted to take pictures of this sort, but now that I know what it is it’s sort of captured my attention. If you don’t know what it is, macro photography is basically really really close up photos of things – from what I’ve seen, most people take macro photos of bugs and snowflakes. While the terminology is a bit confusing (why isn’t it micro photography? When I was in college, ‘macroeconomics’ was the ‘far out’ kind of economics, and ‘microeconomics’ was the economics of an individual company or industry. Don’t know why this seems to be reversed in photography), macro photography is basically a cool method of taking a picture of something pretty small, but still getting a lot of detail. You can also use macro photography techniques to take pictures of things that are actually quite big, but you take a photo of a really small section – generally this will reveal details/patterns that you never noticed.
Take a look at this photo of a block of wood above. When you look at it from a far, a piece of wood is just a piece of wood, but up close (and with the right camera settings and the right equipment), photographs can reveal previously unseen or unnoticed patterns. The photo below reveals the patterns on the surface of the wood which I think are quite remarkable. It allows you to kind of ‘see’ the wood in a new light – the see the individual fibers that make up the bark, and how they form to make the piece of wood as a whole.
This is a photo of a dandelion, but I think it’s pretty stunning. The close up view of the dandelion reveals detail that you wouldn’t normally see – and the lighting in the photo is warm and inviting as well. Flowers are another thing that people like taking macro photos of. The only criticism I would have of this particular picture is that the colors are kind of one-note – normally, if I were taking a photo, I’d be shooting for a greater variety in the color palette.
So, on to technique. If you want to take a macro photo, how do you do it ? Not that long ago, to take reasonably good macro images, you needed some pretty expensive, specialized equipment – at the very least, you would’ve needed a specialized add-on lens of some sort to increase magnification on your camera. In today’s increasingly technologically advanced world, this is no longer the case. If you have a reasonably good DSLR camera (not a point and click, and definitely not your damn smartphone), you’ll probably be able to find a macro setting on your camera that will serve you reasonably well for any macro photos you might want to take. Once you’re on this setting, depending on how good your camera is, it should be pretty straight forward. If you’re a pro, there are probably more adjustments you want to make to your camera, and you may even have a specialized macro lens just for shooting macro images, but since I’m not a pro I guess that stuff is beyond me for now.
Hope you found this info about macro photography somewhat interesting, thanks to Paul Hubbard for the help with the content!