Macrophotography is a photographic world within a world, and one that holds an almost infinite variety of subject matter and themes. It is a place where a few square centimetres of moss become a jungle, or the beauty of an insect’s compound eye can be discovered. With so many subjects available, it is not hard to see why some photographers are drawn in… me included. Years ago, I assembled a full macro system to support my leaning and development needs and found most of my photographic effort was being spent capturing things that usually go unnoticed. As my own techniques developed, I soon learned that there was much more to macrophotography than simply magnifying a subject. Within a year I had gained a host of peripheral gear that assisted in my efforts, some of which was critical to success. Based on my own experience, I have put together a list of equipment that you may wish to consider if thinking of branching into the world of macro.
Coming from a traditional film background, I enjoyed the large bright viewfinders of Olympus’ original OM System and it was one of the attributes that made the OM1 so successful back in the 1970’s. My migration path over to digital eventually saw me drop the viewfinder concept altogether, as I embraced Leica's X1, X113 and T cameras. Generally speaking I was happy composing pictures on the camera’s rear screen, but it does have limitations.
Shoulder style camera bags are something I have never really got on with, having a preference to spread the load evenly across my shoulders. But it hasn’t stopped me from trying a few out over the decades – from Billingham’s beautifully tactile products to unknown budget brands… I have owned a few. Except for the Billingham, none have stayed with me more than a year or so, and the Billingham only survived longer as it had become a repository for seldom used gear.
Over the years, our loft has become a dumping ground for a whole pile of stuff that, through nostalgia, laziness and lack of space, has reached tipping point. Its steady encroachment from the outer reaches of the eaves, subsequent invasion of the central area and onwards toward the loft hatch means that I can no longer climb into it. From the top of the ladder I peered in, surveying the landscape with the aid of a small torch, while cold air rushed down into the house, carrying with it the roof space’s signature smell of slightly damp wood, age and insulation. With Howard Carter like trepidation I scanned the shadows for spiders, mice and a plethora of other fictional creatures which exist only in horror films.
One of our favourite effects is a digital version of Michael Orton’s method of creating images with a dreamy atmosphere. Put to great use by many film photographers, it lives on in the digital age and is easy to apply. To see some examples, check out our Orton Technique collection here.
NOTE This article assumes that the image has been fully processed to include correct colour, sharpness etc. This article is accurate as of Adobe Photoshop CC 2019.
Panoramas can be easily created in both Photoshop and Lightroom. The process in Photoshop is slightly more complex but offers greater control over the final result. Unlike Lightroom, Photoshop cannot stitch RAW files and will require your images to be in JPG format.
NOTE This article is accurate as of Adobe Photoshop CC 2018.
A beautiful golden sun was setting across an equally beautiful sea, its azure colour a reflection of the heavens. The purple tint of cirrus high in the atmosphere contributed to a scene unashamedly cliched, but irresistible to photograph. Stepping back several meters, I added an unspoilt golden beach to the composition. Good enough to release the shutter? Yes, but it could be better; walking slowly along the beach were a young couple. Arm in arm, they were lost in the moment and each other. I paused, allowing them to walk into my scene, now an exercise in sunset contre-jour and blissful romanticism. The decisive moment had arrived, and I committed to celluloid a beautiful moment that faded with the setting sun.