Tuesday, March 11, 2008
No matter what the weather, the light or the location, you always can get into the close-up world and find "the picture"
1 Try a beanbag. This is great way to support a camera when you need to get it low, such as photographing moss on the ground. You can get small ones that easily fit your camera bag.
2 Close-up seeing. Many years ago, I attended a workshop with the great photographer Ernst Haas.
He gave us a tremendous exercise to better see the photo possibilities around us. Go to a spot of nature, from a garden to an empty lot to a park, and arbitrarily choose a small area (20x20 feet is good). Then spend an hour there finding close-ups. Most people get bored after 10 minutes, but then they’re forced to look for images—and then find that, in reality, one hour just gets them started.
3 Use a round-the-lens reflector. Take a piece of white cardboard and cut a hole exactly the size of your lens. Put this over your lens and use it for shooting backlit close-ups. You also can buy reflectors that do this more conveniently.
4 Use a waist-level finder. You can purchase a waist-level finder for most SLRs (film or digital) that allows you to get your camera lower to the ground without having to smash your face into the soil. Another option is to use a digital SLR with a swivel LCD.
5 Temper your built-in flash. To use a built-in camera flash
(on any camera that has one) for close-ups, you need to temper it. Few cameras are set up to give a good exposure for flash when used at very close-focusing distances, plus the flash itself may be aimed poorly for such use. Put any kind of diffusing material over the flash to cut its light and make the light better for close-ups.
6 Use continuous shooting for better focus. As your subject moves because of wind, you may find it difficult to get the precise focus you need. This is the time to put your camera on continuous shooting and just hold the shutter down for a burst of shots as you work to find focus. You almost always will find that at least one of these shots will be perfectly focused.
But the most useful tip of all is to grab your camera and get outside. Set your focus as close as it will go and start looking for pictures. You’ll be surprised at all the subjects you can find almost anywhere you look.
Rob Sheppard is an avid macro shooter. You can get more macro tips from his book, The Magic of Digital Nature Photography. Visit his website at www.robsheppardphoto.com.
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