or even between the rain.
Here we have a very old song, that still nearly everyone knows: “Wochenend und Sonnenschein” (translated to “Weekend and sunshine”). It’s recorded back in 1930 by the Comedian Harmonists, a male a-capella sextet. They sing about a trip to the forest with their darling. (you might find a recording on youtube – either the original recording, a snippet from the movie Comedian Harmonists or at least from Max Raabe, who is very good in their special singing style).
A sunny weekend is also very welcomed by a photographer. But, also a rainy day gives some opportunities to a photographer. Thus, yesterday I was out when the rain finally made a pause. I got my macro lens to capture a few of the wet blossoms. Although I used a macro lens with a focal length of 105 mm I have a least distance of 10 cm between the front lens and my subject. That’s quite ok in most circumstance, but not always.
What can I do, to come closer to my subject, or in different words, how to get the tiny blossoms a bit bigger into my frame.
There are at least two different ways. First, you can get a Close-up filter and screw it in front of your lens, or you can get extension tubes. An extension tube (usually they come in a set of three, each with a different size of 12, 24 and 35 mm) is to be mounted between you camera body and the lens. They don’t have any optical parts inside. They only enlarge the distance between the sensor and the front lens. While doing this, they also shorten the minimum distance between front lens and subject and enlarge the reproduction scale – says: your subject will be enlarged! Great, goal reached! (btw. there is also a flexible version of these extension tubes available: the bellow)
On the other hand, this has also a downside. In the same time, the reproduction scale is enlarged, the focal depth, that’s the size of the field that is sharp in you photo, is reduced.
This brings us to the most important part of doing macro photography: you need a sturdy tripod!
Moving your lens for only a millimeter can ruin your photo. This can be done by a heartbeat, a breath or simply by the usual (and normal) jitter of your muscles. When using the big screen on the back of your camera (live-view), the problem becomes even worse. To cope these tiny movements, use a sturdy tripod, disable the Image stabilization and use a remote shutter release.
When putting your camera on top of a tripod, the Image stabilization technique will result in unsharp photos. Why? There are slight moments inside the camera to compensate the human’s slight movements I mentioned above. When the camera is mounted on a sturdy tripod, than there are no movements to compensate. So, this results in unsharp photos.
Using a remote shutter is also meant to keep vibrations away from your camera. If available, you also should activate a small wait between folding up of the mirror and opening the camera shutter. This is also meant to keep vibrations away.
Enjoy the spring and take care!