A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Working With My New Macro Lens

Look these photos over and please give me some constructive criticism to improve my macro picture taking.
With these pictures I stopped the aperture down to a much higher number trying to increase the depth of field for it seems to be very shallow in taking close-up photos.
I am looking forward to learning more and I can benefit from your ideas and suggestions, especially those of you who have a macro lens. Yes, I did read the owners manual.

A cactus I have. It has these very fine hair-like spines. These are much worse to get stuck in your hand than a regular cactus stickers.

A flower that fell off an indoor orchid my wife has. I took the blossom outside and set it up for a photo shoot.

One of my wife's roses. This was shot in the shade which goes to show me that you don't always need direct sunlight for picture taking. I read this on another person's blog and thought I'd put it to the test.

This bee was very cooperative.

And so was Sinbad.

My thinking is these could be just a wee bit sharper. I am not relying on the auto-focus as much with this new lens. Instead I am focusing manually and think maybe it is my eyesight. Maybe I don't have the diopter adjusted correctly on my camera. Or maybe it is just the computer screen. My wife is always on me to switch over to a Mac but I resist.


  1. definitely can't help you on photo tips. i love the cactus shot (and hate those dad-burned tiny spines!) my favorite shot is the rose. just perfect...

  2. They are better than anything I would have shot. I tend to shake a bit on close ups. I love Sinbad's high five shot!

  3. If you're looking for a wider scope for dof, the cactus shot is just concentrated in one particular area and then loses as it goes out. It seems the closer you got to the subject (flower, bee) the better the dof. Your focusing looks fine. I'm impressed by the bee shot, you had to get pretty close to that guy, it looks great! That's funny though because I'm having a focusing issue too. The dioptre is too scientific for me and in fact I didn't know it could be adjusted in cameras!

  4. Love the macro shots, especially Sinbad's foot.

    I have trouble manually focusing too. I wear corrective lenses but have astigmatism so I rely heavily on auto focus.

    Are you using a tripod?

  5. TB - on the Nikon there is a little wheel by the viewfinder that adjusts to your eye. I don't recall what kind of camera you have.

    Mel - yes I have to use a tripod for this lens even though they say I shouldn't have to being a vibration reduction lens. At least close up to the subject a tripod is needed for it will go in and out of focus just by my inabailty to remain still. Now at something further away it may not be necessary. I haven't tried far away shots yet.

  6. The bee is very good sharp and nicely composed. A lower numbered Aperture would have thrown the background out of focus which would make it even better. Macro can be very challenging it is a fine line between getting it right and totally wrong. DOF is the most challenging part of macro and only comes with practice. When doing insect and butterflies it is often hard to get the whole insect sharp unless you are side on . Head on you need to focus about a third of the way down to get reasonable sharpness from head to tail. Check out this link it gives good info.

    And yes I did add moon and reflection.

  7. I have to say the rose is DELIGHTFULY elegant and has my #2 vote. Taking a photo of your cats paw is a very unusual shot, and WOW it has #2 vote for me. Very clever you are, and mastering that lense very well.

  8. Picturit - thank you very much for that link. It was very informative and I have saved it for future reference.

    Janie2 - thank you. Now tell me, how can I get your #1 vote? :)

  9. Without the bee you'd never know how big (or small) the flower is. My eye went immediately to the flower and then I saw the bee. Whoa! This lens is something else. Would like to have this lens AND a motorcycle.

  10. Well...I think your ready for National Geographic!

  11. I'm a big fan of macro and when I got my DSLR I ordered a macro lens right along with it. One of the charms of macro is the shallow DOF. You've started out very nicely with these. Often Having the background out of focus can really add to the image. It makes the eye focus on the real point of interest. Also you may want to look at some of the rules of composition or rule of thirds. I can't wait to see more.

  12. I've got a few macros on my blog and would also like constructive criticism. I love your shots especially the bee! I usually (if possible) shoot individual flowers indoors using light from the window sideways on (I'm sure there is better macro-speak!) and often use f22.

  13. well I think they're all great. I haven't a macro, so nothing technical to add in that regard. my fave of course is Sinbad's paw. and the rose. but his paw fur looks so silky and clean. it's a real heartwarming photo John. a keeper.

  14. Not much help from me about taking macro pictures..but I liked the picture with the bee and a small piece of Sinbad:))
    You have so many beautiful plants where you live John, always nice to see these pictures:)

  15. Over the holidays I tried to work with my macro shots. I am pretty sure they won't look as good as yours. But I am getting into it... slowly. :) I loved all of your photos. My favorite is the rose. Amazing shots!


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