Macro Photography

Strawberry photo taken with Nikon 105mm Micro with PN-11 extension

I am just beginning in macro photography and thought I would share what I have learned on my own and on the web.

A good place to initially learn about macro photography is to visit Philip Greenspun's page on macro photography. His straight talk about what macro photography provides an excellent introduction to the topic.

A good book on macro photography that everyone seems to mention is John Shaw's book, Closeups in Nature.

John is a professional photographer who is well known in his field of nature photography. He has written several books on nature photography.

Simon Coombes also provides a great resource on his page, Macro Photography. Click on any of the links on the bottom left of the screen to get Simon's take on topics from the basics to stalking your subject.

For many beginning in macro photography money is often the limiting factor. You can spend a tremendous amount to obtain a state of the art system or spend less by purchasing extension tubes or close up lenses and using them on your existing equipment. I know of a photographer who does not use macro lenses, but relies only on extension tubes alone.

For anyone who wants to start I suggest getting a good camera that has features such as manual focus, manual override of aperture and shutter settings. Many of the major manufacturers such as Nikon and Canon fit this bill and some lesser ones too.

The next key piece of equipment is a rock solid tripod. Without a good tripod it is difficult to focus and deal with the very shallow depth of field that is available when doing close up photography. The tripod is the one piece of equipment that you do NOT want to skimp on. I suggest getting one that can be made to be very low to the ground, which is critical for photographing wildflowers or small critters like insects. Many of the higher end tripods do not come with a head, so the purchase of a tripod head that allows you flexibility at several positions and is very solid is a sought after feature in selecting a tripod head.

The last piece is dependent upon how much you want to spend. You can purchase a macro lens and they come in many sizes such as 60mm, 105mm, and 200mm. As the lens gets larger so does the purchase price. A macro lens is often the best equipment for macro photography, but for those who do not have money to burn some extension tubes and close up lenses may be the answer.

Does an extension tube make a difference?

You be the judge.

This photo above was taken with a Nikon 105mm Micro lens at a distance of about 8 inches.

The same scene at about the same distance with the Nikon 105 mm Micro lens, but with a PN-11 extension tube, which is 52.5 mm in length.

There is no magical secret to creating good pictures with macro photograpy, but rather a simple truth -- practice and lots of it is the key to being successful.

Macro Photography Links

Macro Photography Primer

Macro Photography by Simon Coombes

Nature Photography Forum

Bob Atkins Information Page

Photo Net -- Interactive Forum

Macro Photography Threads on Photo Net

Macro Photography article

Underwater Photographs by Jim Kasson

Jim Kasson's tech info on macro photography using Nikon equipment

Affordable Macro Photography

Close-Up Photography The Inexpensive Way!

Macro Photography Gallery

Lots of Links for Nature and Outdoor Photography