Up close and personal

What you get when first attempting the 'reverse lens' technique to get closer to the subject. Jane McLoughlin©

This morning I took myself off to a little workshop on close-up & macro photography. The workshop was run by ABC Open as part of their Up Close photography project. Now, I already have entered the competition (see my entry here. Feel free to comment, I can handle criticism!). But I quite like the idea of looking closely at the world around me and taking a look at small details that by themselves, tell a story. So while I wistfully gaze at the macro lens on display at the local camera shop and saving my pennies, I make do with the lenses I have at my disposal. But I know there’s so much more to learn, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend the workshop.

The workshop touched on a range of subject matter. Developing one’s ‘photographer’s eye’, composition, depth of field and focal point were all discussed. The most interesting discussion was the inexpensive and relatively easy-to-use gear to allow the camera to get closer to the action. The first was the use of extension tubes to allow a standard lens to mimic a macro lens. Unfortunately there were no extension tubes at the workshop for me to have a play with. That may have to wait for another day, if I can lay my hands on an inexpensive one. 

Using a magnifying glass in front of my 35mm f1.8 lens. Jane McLoughlin©

What was available at the workshop was a magnifying glass and a loupe to place in front of the lens to give greater magnification. The loupe, in particular, produced spectacular results when workshop participants placed it in front of a compact digital camera lens. I also had fun using it over the camera in my mobile phone. It was too small for the SLR lens unfortunately. The ‘reverse lens’ technique was also discussed at the workshop. An old Pentax 35-70mm zoom was looking lonely and forlorn on the table so I grabbed it for a ‘rough and ready’ attempt of reversing the lens. The result was the shot seen up top (the ‘telescope’ look at a flower style). Clearly I have a way to go to getting a handle on this technique! If nothing else, I like the colours.

The workshop finished up with a 15 minute shoot outside the building with the idea of capturing images ‘close up’. The loupe, magnifying glass, etc. were utilized by others so I concentrated on ‘close up’ rather than ‘macro’.     

A closer look at some clever engineering. Jane McLoughlin ©

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