Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Get complete creative control over your close-up photography with these versatile flash and mounting systems
If you're seeking to heat up the WOW factor in your images, macro photography may become your favorite pursuit. Viewers are captivated by larger-than-life images of very small things, especially when the photographs reveal fascinating details in commonplace subjects. I think of macro as one of the last frontiers of nature photography that involves equipment and techniques generally available to anyone with the curiosity and the will to undertake it.
In the early years of SLR photography, photographers attempting macro images in natural settings were limited by the need to maximize both light and magnification. Since the light falls off as magnification is increased, those early photographers were engaged in a delicate balance that, in effect, limited the closeness and the depth of field they could achieve in their images. As electronic flash units became more sophisticated, nature photographers began to use them to gain enough light to increase magnification and enable smaller apertures, with resulting added depth of field; that is, more light makes it possible to get more of the subject in focus.
But it's not just about more light. It's also about the direction of the light. My earliest recollection of a flash bracket for macro photography was a single flash positioned just above the lens. It was promoted by John Shaw and Larry West in their workshops and books and marked the beginning of my fascination with flash brackets and macro photography, and also my search for a better light system. I found the results of a single flash to be too contrasty, with heavy shadows behind the subject suggesting that the photograph was taken at night rather than, as was usually the case, in a sunlit field of flowers.
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