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The Everyday Sling might just be the perfect pack for not carrying too much gear, combining comfort with Peak Design's signature modern style.
In the first article of this series, 'The What and Why of Macro', I talked about what macro photography is and explained why I shoot macro in the wild. My next goal, which I will tackle in this article and the next one, is to introduce you to the elements I consider paramount in a macro image. I'm not necessarily referring here to the criteria for judging an image, but rather to the fundamental things a macro photographer should try to bear in mind when producing it.
So what is the number one, most important element in a macro photograph? The easy answer is that there aren't any. There are several qualities a macro image should have, all of which are important. To make things more complicated, photographers don't always agree on which ones those are. However, when I think about macro photography, the first aspect that comes to my mind is detail. Detail is almost what makes macro what it is, in the sense that shooting up close is the very means to obtain what the macro photographer wants to show the viewer: the unseen-yet-everywhere-present elements of the miniature world. What got me first interested in macro photography was my fascination with insects and my desire to unravel their mysteries and see them as they truly are.
|Caption: An example of a detailed shot. Too small to really examine closely |
with the naked eye, this robber fly is rendered in extraordinary detail with a
You might rightfully claim that I haven't done much by simply asking for detail. The meaning of the word is quite clear, but how do we obtain it? More precisely, what determines the level of detail desirable in a macro shot? In this article I will list the top factors.
First and foremost, focus is paramount in a macro photograph. This may seem obvious, but focusing is more problematic in macro than it is in any other field. The reason is that one of the consequences of shooting at a close distance is shallow depth of field (DOF), so shallow in fact that it is often quite hard to get accurate focus.
|Here, although focus is off by only |
1-2mm, the fly in this image is soft,
and theimage unusable.
|Limited DOF caused this robber fly |
portrait to lack important detail in the
proboscis and antennae areas. Even
the eye is only partly in focus.
In most cases, as with all other kinds of animal photography, we want good focus and sharpness on the eyeof the insect that we're shooting. But with depth of field of less than a millimeter, getting any part of the animal in focus can often be quite a challenge.
Accurate focusing and sufficient depth of field are thus especially significant in macro photography. Depth of field is so fundamental that I'll dedicate an entire section to it in a later article. As for focus, for now I'll just say that when shooting macro, we have to focus very carefully and accurately, because even the slightest movement, either that of the camera or that of the subject, can throw the image out of focus. I use manual focus exclusively, since AF simply isn't reliable or accurate enough for my needs, or is not available, at least with some of my favorite lenses. When focusing is technically difficult, trusting your eyes is always better than trusting the AF sensor, especially when one can use magnified live-view to focus perfectly.
|Live view shooting can free us from having to bend over to look through |
the viewfinder, and help us achieve better focus by enlarging the viewed area.
In addition to focus and DOF, light is key in a macro image. Naturally, overexposing an image or underexposing it completely will result in blown-out highlights or blocked-up shadows, both of which harm detail, but there's more than that. Hard directional light can produce excessive contrast, or cause a part of the object to cast a shadow on other parts of it and harm detail, even if the overall exposure is 'correct'. This is especially noticeable when the subject is very hairy, has protruding body parts or both (which is very common when your subjects are invertebrates!). Thus one must also consider the quality and direction of light in order to capture sufficient detail.
|Very harsh sunlight caused this (otherwise technically acceptable) image to severely lack detail in many places due to excessive contrast.||In this shot, soft light allowed this praying mantis larva to be shown in all its beauty and detail.|
While the aspects of correct focus and quality of light play a similar role in macro as they do in most other kinds of photography, the next two aspects are quite different in that sense. As I've mentioned before, in order to achieve a good level of detail when shooting a tiny subject (in other words - if we want the subject to be big enough in the frame), one must shoot from a very close distance, even when working with relatively long focal length lenses. Thus proximity is another important aspect. Since your subject is likely to be very small, shooting from too far away would result in the subject filling only a very small portion of the frame.
|Shooting from a very close distance is challenging, but can produce amazing results.|
Getting close to an invertebrate can often pose a challenge. If you've ever tried to approach an insect with a camera in your hand you'll know that often, your nervous pray will run or fly away the second you get close enough. Yet we must get close enough if we want to get the shot. This is a problem, but one that can be solved using a little knowledge of animal habits, behavior and activity levels during different times of the day, in combination with a level of care and delicacy when approaching them. I'll talk about this in more detail in future articles.
The final important condition is that of stability. In other fields of photography, like landscapes, for example, the sharpness or level of detail isn't compromised if part of the scene (a tree branch, or blade of grass) moves by one millimeter. This is because one millimeter, compared to a huge subject such as a lake or a mountain, is a meaninglessly small amount of movement. But if the entire width of the subject is only five millimeters a movement of one millimeter during exposure would result in severe motion blur, destroying the image altogether.
|Although very slight, subject movement has badly compromised critical image quality in this photograph of a spider only a handful of millimeters in size.|
Note that stability is only required in relation to other image parameters. By this I mean that if you shoot a relatively long exposure, you have to use a tripod (not to mention your subject, which must be perfectly still). But if flash is your main light source, the very short duration of the actual light burst can freeze even moderate subject movement.
Aug 10, 2014
Aug 3, 2014
Jul 14, 2014
May 25, 2014
The Canon EOS R is the first full frame mirrorless camera to use the new RF mount. We're well underway putting it through our range of standard tests – take a look at how it compares to the competition and our thoughts on using it so far.
When the Fujifilm X-T2 arrived, it was more than just a modest upgrade to the already impressive X-T1. While the new X-T3 hasn't changed the overall design of the camera, this model is way more than a minor refresh: it's a major leap forwards.
What's the best camera for a parent? The best cameras for shooting kids and family must have fast autofocus, good low-light image quality and great video. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for parents, and recommended the best.
What's the best camera for shooting landscapes? High resolution, weather-sealed bodies and wide dynamic range are all important. In this buying guide we've rounded-up several great cameras for shooting landscapes, and recommended the best.
What’s the best camera costing over $2000? The best high-end camera costing more than $2000 should have plenty of resolution, exceptional build quality, good 4K video capture and top-notch autofocus for advanced and professional users. In this buying guide we’ve rounded up all the current interchangeable lens cameras costing over $2000 and recommended the best.
|Saddle Bronc by Gerry Frederick|
from horsing around
|diamonds are forever by summicron|
|Reflections by Birdman50|
from No 6
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.
Luna Display started its life as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. Now, it's available to purchase directly online.
We sat down with the Google Pixel camera team to learn about key new camera features on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and an explanation of the sophisticated software advancements that power them.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the cameras in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and newer dual-camera models infringe on a patent that was granted in 2003.
Nikon's Coolpix P1000 has moved the zoom needle from 'absurd' to 'ludicrous,' with an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm. So far, it's a fun camera to shoot with – if a bit over the top.
Like the LG V40 ThinQ the A9 combines a super-wide-angle, regular wide-angle and tele camera, but adds a depth-sensor to the mix as well.
The FAA has issued a warning to drone pilots in anticipation of disaster response following Hurricane Michael, noting that fines for interfering with emergency operations can exceed $20,000.
According to a report from Fortune, Apple acquired Danish masking technology startup Spektral in December 2017 for "more than $30 million."
Insta360's latest model comes with a range of features that allow for the creation of unique action cam footage.
The Photogrip can be used as a camera grip, mini tripod or phone stand and comes with a detachable remote.
At a time when manufacturers are adding triple and even quad-cameras to their flagship smartphones, Google is sticking with one main camera. But given the sophistication of the company's computational efforts, we think it's the right approach for now.
DPReview is hiring! We're seeking three Software Development Engineers at a range of experience levels to join our Seattle-based team.
The University of Dayton Research Institute created a video detailing what damage is caused when a drone strikes the wing of an airplane.
Lenovo's upcoming high-end smartphone will be the first model to feature four cameras on the back.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL offer a second front-facing camera and a host of improved computational features such as digital zoom based on super-resolution capture, better depth mapping and a fill-light effect for low light portraits.
Canon has ported a large chunk of its Digital Photo Professional (DPP) Raw processing software's feature set to iOS and launched the DPP Express app.
The Panasonic LX100 II offers a higher-resolution sensor over its predecessor, but it's the addition of a touchscreen that makes the Mark II so gosh-darn enjoyable to shoot with. We've got some fresh samples from Panasonic's new premium compact camera.
Sony has announced a new "Alpha Female" program, a creator-in-residence opportunity that will award six-month grants to five female filmmakers and photographers.
The new 490, 492 and 492LCD are targeted at amateur photographers and come with a 4kg/8.82lbs payload.