First foray into macro photography

I visited Huntley Meadows Park on 30 November 2014 for my first foray into macro photography. I field tested a new Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom digital camera and Canon 580EX Speedlite external flash (fitted with a Sto-Fen OM-EW Omni-Bounce, an inexpensive plastic snap-on flash diffuser). The Raynox DCR-250, like other close-up filters and extension tubes, reduces the minimum focusing distance between the lens and subject.

The following photograph of a male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) was taken at maximum telephoto zoom (24x) without using the Raynox close-up filter. The camera was positioned near the mininum focusing distance from the subject, in this case approximately six feet (~6′). The photo was cropped from the original size of 4,000 x 3,000 pixels (12 MP) to a pixel size of 2,690 x 2,016 (5.4 MP), in order to enlarge the subject and improve the photo composition.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

ISO 100 | 107mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | f/5.1 | 1/800s

The same dragonfly perched on my pant leg a while later. The next photograph was taken at ~12x zoom using the Raynox close-up filter. I estimate the “working distance” between the camera and subject was approximately three-to-six inches (~3-6″). Now that’s what I call a cooperative model! The photo is uncropped from the original size of 4,000 x 3,000 pixels (12 MP) and edited lightly.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

ISO 100 | 56mm (~300mm, 35mm equivalent) | f/7.1 | 1/80s

Dragonflies have the finest vision in the insect world. The compound eyes in the largest species have as many as 30,000 simple eyes (ommatidia). Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 281-282). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The next photo shows another male dragonfly perching on the boardwalk. The picture was taken at ~6x zoom using the Raynox close-up filter. The working distance was an estimated six-to-10 inches (~6-10″). The photo was cropped to a size of 3,407 x 2,555 pixels (8.7 MP) to refine the photo composition.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

ISO 100 | 27.9mm (~150mm, 35mm equivalent) | f/7.1 | 1/100s

The last photo shows an unknown species of grasshopper. The picture was taken at ~12x zoom using the Raynox close-up filter. The working distance was an estimated three-to-six inches (~3-6″). The photo was cropped to a size of 3,593 x 2,693 pixels (9.7 MP) to refine the photo composition.

Unknown grasshopper

ISO 100 | 56mm (~300mm, 35mm equivalent) | f/7.1 | 1/160s

The Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter is a relatively inexpensive solution that enables my Panasonic superzoom digital camera to be used for macro photography. Set-up is quick and easy — the filter simply clips on the front of the camera lens using a universal adapter, just like a lens cap. Depth-of-field is very shallow! A cooperative subject, good light, and a lot of patience are essential for success.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “First foray into macro photography”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Fascinating results, Walter–you were able to get in really close and capture some great details in your images. I have read about the Raynox, but didn’t know anyone who had used it. I’m always interested in experimenting with new macro methods and this might be fun to try myself.

    • waltersanford Says:

      I own two other cameras in addition to the Panasonic, as you know Mike. Well, three if you count an old Canon PowerShot G9. Although I have sets of extension tubes for the Canon 5DM2 and Fujifilm X-T1 digital cameras, I use them rarely. I don’t like to change lenses in the field, so I’m reluctant to remove a lens in order to add extension tubes between the camera body and lens. As you also know, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 is my “walking around” camera — it’s almost perfect for the subjects I like to shoot. Except it couldn’t do true macro, that is, until now. I think the Raynox is an ideal solution. Let’s say I’m walking around shooting telephoto shots when something small catches my attention — I just reach in my pocket, clip the DCR-250 on the lens and boom, I’m ready to shoot macro! Hard to beat for ease of use.

  2. donna213 Says:

    I came to your blog because a reader on my blog often talks about your work and puts it on Facebook. I am glad I did find your blog as you do wonderful photos of insects, plus you know all about them. I like macro photography, but often I am lax in knowing what insect I am photographing.

    • waltersanford Says:

      Welcome to my photoblog and thanks for the kind words, donna213! My overarching goal for the blog is to combine photographs, including artful photos whenever possible, with information. Once a teacher, always a teacher!

  3. Marie Keates Says:

    Great photos. Wish I had a macro lense

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: