A Flower by Any Other Name…

As we start to move into cooler weather the car show season is almost over and Transportation Thursday’s is going on hiatus, being replaced with Anything Can Happen Day until spring. If you need to get your weekly car photography tip, head on over to my car photography site—JoeFaraceShootsCars—where every Wednesday new tips about cars and photographing will appear.

No matter what approach you decide to use for macro photography—macro lens, extension tubes, or close-up filters—you’re going to need a few other tools. Which ones and how much to spend depends on your love of macro photography and your budget. Remember the closer you get to a subject the more any camera movement is greatly magnified. You may think you can hold 1/15th of a second shutter speed for a normal shot but when you get close to a subject, as in flower photography, that same shutter speed might produce a soft image. To get started, you’re going to need a sturdy tripod and not that flimsy thing you bought at Crazy Charlie’s Flea Market.

TIP # 1: But a tripod is not always enough. When focused at the most critical distance you cannot easily move the tripod back and forth in precise increments (at least without a lot of wasted effort) to produce the closest and sharpest possible focus. That’s why I often mount Adorama’s Macro Focusing Rail Set atop my tripod.

The Macro Focusing Rail Set accepts standard 1/4×20 threads and easily fits most tripods. The set consists of two six-inch rails that permit movement in four directions (right, left, forward and backward) and provides fine focusing adjustments. Positive locking knobs assure rock-steady focus. While not inexpensive ($179.95 but ) this precision device makes macro photography easier and more precise and it doesn’t get much better that that.

TIP #2: Using a macro lens lets you get close but achieving a pleasing composition requires a good view through the viewfinder. A right-angle finder, such as Pro Optic’s is the perfect accessory to make macro shots. Their Right Angle Finder II ($69.95) has nine elements in five groups and an angled prism for crisp viewing. There are 1X and 2.5X magnification settings and diopter corrections of plus or minus four. The viewfinder rotates through 360 degrees so you can put the camera in position to make the shot and still be able to see the image for precise composition! It even comes with a nice case.

Author: Joe Farace

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