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Macro Photography

In the past shooting close-up images was in the area of true professionals. It required expensive equipment and large SLR photo cameras with special lenses capable of taking photos in true 1:1 ratio. In simple words it means that the object you are photographing appears in the same size in camera's sensor as in real life. Well, contrary to what we might think today with all those cheap compact and digital SLR photo cameras to take truly astonishing photo of amazing micro world it still requires not so cheap lenses and matching specially designed flashes.

Nikon P500 in 'action'

However, new digital photo world in its 'blooming' era in previous decade brought something else to the scene. Something equally important and with quality far beyond we used to in previous 'analog' world. Actually, two new things are introduced in the business - computerization of the camera and large worldwide competition between leading manufacturers. First one brought simple process of taking photos without expensive photo laboratories and the latter lots of competing photo cameras in different areas with photo sensors and lenses cheaper and better every year. Having 'flower icon' representing macro possibilities is today standard for all compact cameras and smartphones. Of course if photo system in your device has macro mode that doesn't mean it really contains true macro lens. But it surely means you are perfectly capable to take a photo of a really small object in so called close-up photography. Same is with me, in the past years I owned couple of high-end compact cameras with embedded lenses but still with near-to-macro lens functionality. This usually means it can't fit true life size of the object in the inner sensor but with couple of tricks you can do the magic and own magnificent macro album.

Following photos are almost all taken with Nikon Coolpix P500 and Canon PowerShot S5 IS. Both cameras are not digital SLR (single-lens reflex) which means they don't have opportunity to look the object through the lens at the time of shooting and also can't replace original lens with any other specially designed for macro photography. Of course they are also not equipped with macro-flash but still I am proud of my collection of close-up photos. At the end, taking these images are lots of fun and requires special 'macro' eye and couple of skills not usually required for ordinary photographer, especially when you need to sneak behind some insect without disturbing its peace.

So, let's start with, of course, flowers. These images don't need any explanation. They are just great and probably the easiest to make. Just mount the camera on tripod, point to the flower, wait for wind to stop moving it and shoot. If some bumblebee steps inside for a lunch in a moment of your endeavor, the better photo you get. My favorite in this group is no doubt a dandelion. The last one is one of those flowers from a cherry tree that usually come to life in early spring and they are more than beautiful. Of course, if you ask my nose it would completely disagree. It hates blooming flowers in early spring and demonstratively block all air flows in its vicinity. I hate when it does that.

Now, when we are done with flowers, when it came to macro photography, I couldn't resist not to play a little with, of course, water. My first staged photos with using fast shutter speed was one glass of water photographed in moments when couple of drops disturbed the surface. After couple of tries and errors, my left hand that was in charge of shutter button synchronized with right one (in charge of dropping water) and after dozen of photos some got out extra ordinary. Especially those with water ripples and reflecting bubbles caught in the air.

Couple of months ago in post "Nerdiness or Geekdom" I wrote about cheap plasma night lamp I found in local Chinese store. It was perfect for another macro close-up experiment. Since it was taken in dark environment, resulting photos and the 'macro' video, you can see in the linked post, didn't end perfectly smooth and instead they are somewhat grainy but still with couple of images plasma filaments starred extraordinary and if image is not used in its full size, like in below three examples, they are perfectly okay, even though they are taken with camera not handling well in dark situations.

Next three macros are from the Christmas tree. Maybe these don't really belong to this category simply because I didn't take these by using camera's macro mode but instead with large zoom from the distance. However, they are also close-up images even though they cover the biggest area of all photos in this post.

I have many macro pictures of various mushrooms. In the mountain village where we spend weekends and holidays there are lots of varieties of different mushrooms. Both, poisonous and eatable. In following table first three are some exotic non-eatable mushrooms followed by the mushroom called amanita caesarea (in second row) - one of those the most delicious ones we can find in nearby forests. It took me 10 mins to find its proper latin name as in Serbia, at least in this part where we live it is simply called "jajara" which means egg-like mushroom. Indeed, they grow in white egg-like shells and they are not easy to spot in forest soil if they are small in size (when they are best for frying pan) and especially before they break shells and go out with their orange umbrellas.

And now the challenge of all macro-photographers. The insects. You can have the most expensive equipment possible and yet this is all worthless if you don't have enough patience to chase them, hunt them or ambush them. With me, only couple of percents of these photos are pure success. Others are just foggy or blurry or grainy failed attempts ready to be deleted directly from the memory card the moment after clicking the button. I simply can't choose the best photo among these I selected for this post. Perhaps the one in the middle showing European Hornet, the most dangerous bee in this part of the world. They are big and if attacked by the swarm you are as good as dead. This one was harmless though. Maybe because of big amount of grapes he ate on the set.

At the end I selected couple of close-up images of various greenery from my mother's garden. Like flowers they always look amazing in their deserved place in macro albums.

Many of my close-ups are also taken with smartphone. Like the tadpole (baby frog) and green dragonfly in above section. They were taken with my HTC 8X I chose especially because of its OS and great camera.

To state the obvious, it's the photographer's good eye capable to capture the moment and I don't mean only through the lens. These images don't need many words for a company. They are pure art.

Macro Photography
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