Welcome to the world of small. Photographing Nature from the insect’s view allows you to magnify and digitally capture small items naturally occurring in the outdoors. Subjects lending themselves well to close-up photography include:
wildflowers fungi berries moss/lichens ferns moving water leaves ice feathers frost insects
Before continuing with this article though, I must define two terms that are erroneously used interchangeably, close-up and macro. Close-up photography refers to photos of subjects life-size and smaller. On the other hand, macro photography refers to photos greater than life-size. The information in this article is limited to close-up photography. The Canon EOS 80D bundle camera brings out the best close up nature digital photography.
Equipment-wise, close-up photography uses many of the same items, such as the digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, tripod and cable release. However, it also uses some specialized accessories such as close-up lenses, extension tubes, supplementary lenses and reversing rings.
The close-up lens is the best all-around lens for this type of photography. It provides a wide range of image magnification and a good working distance, however, it is also the most expensive of all the close-up options; for serious close-up photographers, it is worth the price.
The next best, and probably the most widely used is the extension tube. Extension tubes inserted between the camera and lens. Because of their relative inexpensiveness, they are a good choice with no image degradation and wide magnification range. However, the manual tubes do require exposure compensation. You can purchase extension tubes individually or in sets; the most common sizes are 12mm, 25mm and 50mm. To increase magnification even further, consider stacking extension tubes.
Supplementary lenses are the least desirable option in terms of optical quality. All they amount to are magnification filters that screw onto the end of a lens; they are:
easy-to-use, inexpensive don’t require exposure compensation.
But, they do add an extra thickness of glass and can degrade image quality.
Reversing rings are the last close-up option. These are small rings used to couple a regular lens backwards to the camera body. As with supplementary lenses, they are inexpensive easy-to-use and don’t require increased exposure compensation either.
In close-up photography, a few other accessories are indispensable, namely the diffuser, reflector and grey card.
The diffuser comes in handy when you want to tone down a harsh light falling onto your subject; use it by placing it between the sun and your subject.
A reflector bounces light onto the shadow side of the subject this opening up the shadows on that side of the subject. If you choose to buy one, consider one with solid white on one side and gold on the other. The gold adds a warm yellow light to a photo replicating how the sun would shine on it.
Because manufactures calibrate digital cameras to adjust the exposure to middle-tone gray, metering off a middle-tone or 18% reflective grey card will result in a correctly exposed scene. Using a grey card makes it easy to get a correct exposure when faced with very light or very dark subjects. To get accurate results, be sure to have the card in the same light as your subject.
If you have never tried close-up photography, it is worth trying; it opens another whole world unseen to most people including you. Using the tools and techniques discussed in this article will help you produce stunning close-up photographs.