Dabbling in close-up photography

A couple weeks ago, I picked up a brand new Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens from Amazon to shoot with. Being used to various zooms, it was a bit of a change in shooting style going to a non-stabilized prime lens. Once I got used to it, I found that it produced far sharper images, wonderful background blur, and beautiful portraits. The somewhat short focal distance got me to thinking… how good would it be for doing close ups?

To find out, I signed up for a macro photography workshop at Daniel Stowe. The instructor walked us through some tips and showed us some (expensive) equipment that would help, then it was off to the field!

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My first attempts showed how sharp the lens is. These were taken at f/5.0 (and cropped a bit). I’m sure if I worked at it, I could get my reflection in those water droplets… Just as a quick note, all of the photos in this post will display the full sized counterparts when clicked. 🙂

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Taking close ups pretty much meant leaving the camera in manual focus mode, setting the minimum distance and moving the camera until I got a good lock. That was a bit of a challenge for some shots given where the object was. I also had to keep the aperture fairly small to keep a decent depth of field.

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For objects that could move, I didn’t have too much choice, program auto mode, go!

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Same went for butterflies and bees. The former wasn’t as difficult, but the latter gave a much higher failure rate.

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This one in particular should be blown up! The lens continues to amaze me with the sharpness of detail it was able to give the sensor. Makes me want for something with a bit higher pixel density… Maybe I’ll be moving off the D50 sooner than I thought?

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One of the last shots of the day was fairly difficult to get. Since the lens was fixed length, I had to drop the camera into the grass and try to peer through the viewfinder. With the limited view of the display, I could barely see if I had a good focus lock on the grasshopper. A dozen shots later, this is what I wound up with!

This isn’t the end of my photograph adventures for the weekend! Tomorrow I plan on going back first thing in the morning and bringing Rin for another lovely outing at the garden! This time though, I’ll have a couple new things to play with, including the tripod-mountable stand from Dollfie World, the new Dollfie carrying solution, and Rin’s new outfit!

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7 thoughts on “Dabbling in close-up photography

      • I doubt you’d be so lucky. I read it all through the “Blog Surfer”, which even when I forget to venture beyond wp.com hosted blogs, is always there. I just may not have anything to say.

        Amazing, to find someone online who says nothing when there is nothing for them to say, eh? 😉

    • I’m pretty happy with it, though I’d still like to get a proper macro lens that can get to 1:1 (true macro). I just don’t feel like putting that much money into it, especially if I’m buying less figures and more dollfies…. 😄

  1. Impressive macro shots, definitely if you see they’re achieved with a 50mm! What’s the minimum focus distance? Looks like you were able to get in quite close to your subject.
    (I haven’t been able to get that close to bees. Mostly due to the fact they don’t let me… ^^;; )

    • Minimum is 0.45m, which is about 1.5ft. Bees aren’t too hard to get close to as long as they’re keeping busy with the flowers. Hard to snap one where they’re actually in flight though!

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