Going Macro

I got a new lens. A 100 mm prime for macro stuff.

I then proceeded immediately to Butterfly Wonderland. I did not pass Go. I did not collect $200 (which would have been helpful cuz the lens was a little pricey, even used on ebay.)

Only afterwards did I realize that I know very little about how to actually use a macro lens–specifically just how fine the focus would be. In butterfly terms: you might get the proboscis in focus, but then the eye wouldn’t be. To get really spectacular macro photos requires focus stacking: essentially, taking a bunch of photos of something with slightly different parts of that something in focus and then asking Photoshop to kindly blend them into a single picture made up of all the focused bits. (If you want to learn more about macro focus stacking–and see some awesome end results–check out this book by my friend and teacher, Amy Horn.)

The bad news? I ended up tossing most of the pictures I took that day. (And I took far fewer than usual because there seemed to be far fewer butterflies in the Wonderland that day–my photography partner, Mary, agrees.)

The good news? I am SOLD on this lens and on macro photography. You discover detail that you could never see with your naked eye. Who knew, for example, that a monarch’s proboscis would look like a black licorice wheel?


Here are a few more of the keepers:



This one isn’t macro, but it is focus-stacked and of one of my favorite butterflies aptly named a glasswing.


Where the macro really came through, though, was with reptiles and amphibians, who don’t fly around. Check out the detail on this little frog.


And in the reptile exhibit, even shooting through glass in low-light conditions, I ended up catching more detail than I ever expected.




I then proceeded immediately to the Desert Botanical Garden, but that will have to be another post.



4 thoughts on “Going Macro

  1. So, should we go to the Flag Arboretum and butterfly exhibit next week?  Do a little macro shooting? Amy Horn, PhotographerHorndesigns Photography928.699.3456http://www.horndesigns.com Now available, The Art of Macro Photography PDF, order here! Instructor, Arizona Highways PhotoScapesSenior Lecturer, Northern Arizona UniversityFriends of Arizona Highways Magazine Foundation 501 (c) 3 

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