For our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year again — days are hotter, nights are shorter, and the air is stuffier. With the changes in weather, two different creatures are beginning to emerge from their deep winter slumbers: the insect and the macro photographer. As macro photography grows more popular, a key question arises: what is the best way to light a bug’s picture?
I’ll admit it — I was a bit late to the party. While everyone else has been enjoying the brand new D750 and D810, I have been happily stuck with my aging D7000.
Being a student, I am on a student budget. This means that I buy used technology, and I buy old technology. I have nothing against this, though, since older DSLRs are truly dependable machines, and they still are capable of producing wonderful images. Over the course of two years, I have taken 50,000 photos with my D7000, and it doesn’t look a click over 10,000.
My wife is an avid gardener and for more years than I can remember, I have accompanied her on a wide range of garden tours and other such outings. While gardening is of little interest to me per se, I do find some enjoyment in capturing images of flowers and foliage. And, on the odd occasion I have shot videos of private and public gardens.
Our readers frequently ask us about extension tubes for macro photography. Since I am not much into macro myself, I have not explored this area of photography enough to qualify to write about it. While I have done some macro photography for product shots and ring shots in weddings with my Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR lens (a very sharp lens that I absolutely love), I have not explored its full capabilities and I have not tried to use extension tubes and bellows to do crazy things that you can achieve with a true macro setup. Meanwhile, our readers have been gracious enough to fill in, and I have recently received the below post from one of our readers, Usama Nasir, who talks about what extension tubes are and how they are used in macro photography.
Yesterday, I spent some time looking at the infamous “Stages of a photographer” chart again. The graph starts out with a blue line – the one that marks “How good you think you are” – at the top of the scale. It mentions that the photographer, at an early stage of his/her photography career shoots mostly flowers and cats (or anything else that’s pretty, cute or more or less easily accessible). The green line marks the actual quality of the photos, which is at the very bottom of the chart. It all makes sense – at one point, we all thought our work was, well, pretty.
The drive from Montana to Washington was beautiful. I really wanted to stop in many different locations and take more pictures, but I had a set and compressed schedule that I did not want to change. It was rainy and wet at Mount Rainier, which is quite normal at this time of the year. The snow was everywhere though and it turned out that I was there too early. Should have done my homework. I wanted to take pictures of wildflowers, but because of the high snow accumulation this year, there were very few areas in the park where you could find them. Apparently, the best time to be there is late August to early September. Oh well! I still managed to take some good waterfall pictures though: