We’re about to get close. Real close.
UnComfortably close. We’re talking MACRO, people!
Macro is a setting on your camera and type of photography (it is also type of lens for your SLR/DSLR, but that we’ll save for another entry). The possibilities with macro are endless. Hands down, macro is my favorite setting on my cameras. It allows us to capture life from a new perspective and help us find beauty in the smallest places.
SIDENOTE: Filmies, I have not done macro photography on a film camera so this post leans more on the digital side.
If you reach over and grab your digital camera, search the camera for an icon that looks like this:
It may be on a rotating wheel like this:
or on a click wheel like this:
When you activate this feature on your camera, you’ll notice that the screen will probably become blurry. The first time I tested out this setting, I was very confused and kept snapping blurry pictures until I gave up and looked at my manual, and I hate manuals. Turns out they’re really helpful, tedious, but helpful. The macro setting automatically focuses the lens when it is very close to a small object or a small portion of a larger object, unlike an automatic focus, which may not be able to focus clearly on a small subject.
In this photo, I used my macro setting on my DSLR to photograph a small portion of the roof of a hut built inside my favorite place to take a day trip in Washington DC, the Botanical Gardens:
In this picture, I kept my camera lens perpendicular to the floor and shot this photo straight on; no fancy angles necessary for me because the roof is built diagonally. By keeping my lens at an angle in relation to the object, the camera automatically focuses on the portion of the object that is closest to the lens. This created focus at the foreground of the picture, a soft focus in the center, and a blur in the portion of the subject furthest from the lens.
Here is an example of an extreme close up of a Pulsatilla Plant, courtesy of National Geographic:
I absolutely love this image; macro photography allows this photographer to capture the small fibers and tiny water droplets on the plant. I think macro photography is especially good for capturing the details mother nature created for our eyes to feast upon.
I’d recommend using your macro setting if you’d like to play with color, texture and focus. These three elements really come into play with macro and I think you will be surprised with the results when you see the world through a new lens (photography humor, ftw).
If you’re interested in learning more about macro photography, you should definitely visit Small Object Photography. This blog is great if you want to gain a thorough understanding of macro and are interested in learning some tricks of the trade.
Hope you enjoyed the first post in my week of words series!