Close-up and Macro photography

Tiny things in my environment have always fascinated me – from examining bugs in my bug box as a small child, to the delight I experience at observing a snowflake on my window (albeit with accompanying sadness that it’s melting away…). I think I surprised myself by not studying a science at university, but in the last few years I’ve started combining my interest in photography with my love of nature and obsession with snowflakes.

Close-up and macro photography are difficult without the correct equipment, although with ingenuity it can be achieved, as Alexey Kljatov has abundantly demonstrated (go look, his photographs¬† taken with a point and shoot camera plus an interesting use of a lens are amazing and really quite inspirational). I’ve followed a perhaps more conventional route, with a conventional telephoto lens first: the bumblebee has been admired often, as well as the ‘honey bee’ which I discovered after a year was actually a drone fly –¬† my interest in looking at nature didn’t quite reach correctly identifying nature;

Drone fly on bolted parsley.

The, now notorious amongst friends, ‘honey bee’ that I discovered about a year later was actually a drone fly.

Bumblebee on a thistle

Bumblebee on a thistle


 

For Christmas 2014 I was gifted a set of extension tubes. This happily coincided with a cold, frosty snap that made me grateful for the Canadian winter clothes I’d bought on a (summer) backpacking trip when I was a student – photographing ice crystals is a chilly business. Over those few days I spent a lot of time outside experimenting with my nifty-fifty and extension tubes and although no photo was pin-sharp and they were a bit dark due to the tubes blocking light, a fire was lit as I was able to photograph more closely and in more detail than before:

Ice on some moss

Ice on some moss, or some other small plant

Ice on lavender

Ice on lavender


 

Ice crystals on a clothes-peg

Ice crystals on a clothes-peg

Spiky ice crystals

Spiky Ice crystals


 

Snowflakes were rather more challenging, and I’ve yet to capture a sharp snowflake photo, in part because I live in Scotland not Russia or northern Canada, and snowflakes tend to melt quickly when they do fall. In 2015 I bought a 100mm macro lens, and although I haven’t had much time to experiment (it was a busy year), experiments have begun – although I leapt straight into macro lens + extension tubes:

 

Abstract photo of a cobweb

Sunlit cobweb in a bush, taken from below

 

As well as using my dSLR, I love experimenting with what my phone’s camera can achieve up close:


Insect

Insect on a flower

Spider and wasp

Spider in a web with a trapped wasp


 
I plan to update regularly via my blog. I’d love to dabble in some super-macro and composite macro shots, but for the meantime I’ll be experimenting and learning to use my equipment. I’m a beginner with ambitions, and trying not to run before I can walk.