Friday Field Trip Subject – Macro Photography

To remind all of you, the field trip is this Friday, July 7th, at sunrise. We will be doing some macro photography, in case you were wondering. This first field trip will be done around the house, in your front yard, back yard, garden or other area near home. I am going to use the Zinnias that we planted not too long ago, and are still small. I will also include some pictures of the baby hummingbirds. They have their eyes open now!

I am using a Nikon Coolpix 3100, which is a small point and shoot digital camera, about 3.2MP with a 38mm-115mm zoom. I will be shooting most of the shots at the close-up setting.

If it’s not windy, I may get some shots of the Desert Willow near the wash (a ditch in Arizona), and maybe even some outside shots of the house. Early morning is a good time to photograph people and buildings. Now, let’s cover some tips on macro photography. For those of you with 35mm cameras, you want to use a macro lens or an extension tube or two. Or, if you have the right setup, reverse a 50mm lens and use that.

For those of you not familiar with macro photography, it is taking pictures up close of objects, usually small objects. You will need a tripod for this work, since any little movement of the camera will cause unwanted blur in the picture. Once you master the close-up technique, you can do things like blurs and zoom blurs all you want, for effect. But for now, let’s try to get some nice sharp photos.

First, put your camera on a tripod. Then find the angle that you want to shoot. Remember the lessons on lighting. If you want to bring out the texture of a plant or other object, shoot at 90 degrees to the sun. For normal lighting, use a 45-degree angle from the front. For a backlighting effect, shoot with the light coming from behind the subject.

For all shots, you will need to decide whether to use flash or not. If you are shooting toward the light, you will need to use some fill flash. Otherwise, you will get a shadow of the object. Experiment with different lighting and angles and see what effects you like. By the way, if you have a cable release for your camera, use it. Anything that helps minimize camera shake is important in macro photography.

Once you have taken some photos, send up to two to me and I will post them in the gallery on my site for all to see. We can then discuss the pictures among the group. Remember to get a good night’s sleep Thursday night and bring extra batteries and enough memory. See you early Friday morning.

For your local sunrise time you can fill in this form. (P.S. Multiply your local elevation by 0.305 to get meters). See you about 5:00 a.m.!