My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

To see all of my blog posts to date, click here.

Take a closer look with macro photography

   LOOK CLOSER: (Left) Macro photography allows you to get closer to your subject, so that means your subject fills the frame more than it would using a normal lens. Eyes, for example, can be seen in great detail. (Right) The Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM is a fantastic lens that gives the user a 1:1 reproduction of objects that would normally be too small to photograph. The lens also is a great performer when it comes to regular portrait photography.

LOOK CLOSER: (Left) Macro photography allows you to get closer to your subject, so that means your subject fills the frame more than it would using a normal lens. Eyes, for example, can be seen in great detail. (Right) The Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM is a fantastic lens that gives the user a 1:1 reproduction of objects that would normally be too small to photograph. The lens also is a great performer when it comes to regular portrait photography.

It’s a small world after all if you have a macro lens.

Thanks to a gracious friend who decided to let me borrow his Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM macro lens, I was able to spend the past week peering into a world that few can see.

Macro lenses allow a photographer to get much closer to their subjects and doing so allows for more detail to appear in the image frame.

 ALL IN THE DETAILS: This quarter was photographed using a light box and a couple of diffused box lights. Macro photography requires a lot of light in order to get a fast enough shutter speed and a decent aperture to bring out detail. The quarter in the middle is the same quarter shot with a 70-200mm lens at its minimum focus distance — meaning I could only be a few feet close to the quarter with that lens before it became out of focus. The quarter to the right is the same quarter as the one in the middle, blown up to the same size as the quarter on the left. The image quality is clearer on the left because a macro lens focuses so closely to its subject.

ALL IN THE DETAILS: This quarter was photographed using a light box and a couple of diffused box lights. Macro photography requires a lot of light in order to get a fast enough shutter speed and a decent aperture to bring out detail. The quarter in the middle is the same quarter shot with a 70-200mm lens at its minimum focus distance — meaning I could only be a few feet close to the quarter with that lens before it became out of focus. The quarter to the right is the same quarter as the one in the middle, blown up to the same size as the quarter on the left. The image quality is clearer on the left because a macro lens focuses so closely to its subject.

For example: the quarter on the left was taken with a macro lens and the quarter to the right was taken with my 70-200mm lens. The quarter to the right was made larger in photoshop to match the size of the macro version of the quarter, but you’ll notice that there are a lot of details missing.

The missing details are because the 70-200mm lens had to be several feet away from the quarter in order to focus in on it. The quarter in between these two quarters is how large the quarter was in the image frame when I shot the photo (no enlargement).

Compare that to the quarter on the left (which also wasn’t enlarged) and you’ll see how valuable a macro lens can be in taking images of things that are just too small to shoot with a regular lens.

A macro lens is built to have a substantially closer minimum focusing distance compared to other lenses.

When another lens’ focus is set to the closest point and the subject barely fills the frame of the image, it’s time to grab a macro lens.

The Canon 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM is well built and has fantastic image quality. That red ring Canon has placed on the barrel of the lens stands for “Luxury,” and it certainly is a luxury to use a lens of this caliber.

While the lens can shoot tiny objects and fill the image frame with their detail, the lens also is a fantastic performer as a regular portrait lens.

The f/2.8 aperture allows for a lot of light and for a beautifully blurred background.

Speaking of light: macro lenses require a lot of light when you’re getting so close to your subject.

The closer you move towards your subject, the less light there is to cover the area that you’re shooting. It’s wise to shoot your images during a bright day or under controlled lighting using a light box or a ring light that attaches to the end of the lens.

Overall, I love this lens. It’s a fantastic piece of glass that delivers great image quality.

While I must digress and return this lens to its owner, I definitely will be saving up to purchase one in the future. It’s a practical and fun purchase that allows the user to see deeper into a smaller world of photographic detail.