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Field shooting for macro, starting at home

From: Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

Video: Field shooting for macro, starting at home

We finally decided to leave the studio, and head out into the field for some field macro shooting, because very often the things you run into in the field are a little more complicated. And, we almost made it out the door, but then we got side-tracked by the Lynda workshop here. This is where the crack team of Lynda set builders works to construct sets, and that involves saws, and screws, and lots of other things, very similar to what you might have in your own garage. And so, I want to talk again about just the ability to shoot around your own house, or just out on the street.

Field shooting for macro, starting at home

We finally decided to leave the studio, and head out into the field for some field macro shooting, because very often the things you run into in the field are a little more complicated. And, we almost made it out the door, but then we got side-tracked by the Lynda workshop here. This is where the crack team of Lynda set builders works to construct sets, and that involves saws, and screws, and lots of other things, very similar to what you might have in your own garage. And so, I want to talk again about just the ability to shoot around your own house, or just out on the street.

One of the really weird things about Macro shooting is you will often find interesting subject matter in places that you just wouldn't normally shoot. The other day, I found myself actually standing in the gutter of a street in San Francisco shooting some piece of garbage or something down on the street. As you get into the small world, you'll just find lots of interesting things. And, what I'm finding in here is texture. And, we haven't talked a lot about that. There is just a lot of interesting texture that begins to appear in macro shooting. Now, I don't have great lighting in here. It's pretty much just even fluorescent lighting, there are a few sky lights.

So, I'm not being drawn to a pretty place of light, or things like that. I'm just being drawn a line. This box of screws I'm finding very interesting; it's got a lot lines and repeating textures in it. You can find that sort of thing around the house. Another interesting thing you'll find in an environment like this are very familiar objects. I saw these pencils, these pencil erasers, and it's interesting to get close to the familiar. And, macro gives you a way of may be presenting it in a new manner in the way people aren't use to seeing. So, I want to talk real quick about how I'm shooting.

I've got my monopod, because it's pretty low light in here. It didn't look that way to me at first, but Macro is always going to be a little darker than you're expecting, because you are getting into areas that don't get a little of light. Obviously we were seeing that in the studio, but we were shooting very, very close. Here, I'm at a pretty easy macro level, and still having trouble with light, so I've brought my monopod. I have a choice of macro lenses. I still, even without deciding to go with the 100. The 180 would have let me have an easier time with the position of my camera and my body while trying to shoot back into the nooks and crannies of places. But it's dark enough in here that I really want the stabilization.

That's a real winning feature of this Canon 100mm macro is the stabilization. So, I put my ballhead on my monopod. It gives me a lot more flexibility than mounting the camera directly to the monopod. I also have to play with the height of the monopod a lot. Now, when you're adjusting your monopod, it's best to, as much as possible, work with the higher releases before the lower ones, because those are the ones you have easy access to. So, if I want to make an adjustment, I'm making it to the top of the monopod, not the bottom.

That gives me a little more flexibility. And, it's not that I clip the camera on here, and hold it in a particular position. I'll lean with the monopod; I'll tilt it around. The point is it gives me at least one axis of steady shooting. It's also something I can push against once I lock the head down, no matter what position it's in. And, that gives me a little more flexibility. So, I'm just going to frame up a shot here, on these screws. Now, of course, I've still got my depth of field issues that I'm dealing with. I'm at ISO 1600 at f/28 in here; I'm at 1/30 of a second.

So, even with stabilization and a monopod, I need to be careful about camera shake. And, what I'm doing in a situation like this is, even though I'm just shooting something that's ultimately just a texture, I still want to have some possible point of focus. So, in that image . . . . And, I'm just getting started here, so I don't really know what the final shot is yet, or if there is even a good shot here. In that image, there is one screw that's poking up, and I focus on the end of that. I've got very shallow depth of field. I'm hoping maybe that can serve as some kind of compositional anchor.

It's very, very difficult to tell what these shots are really going to look like because of the depth of field issues, just like we were finding in the studio. So, you've got to work them a lot. Even trying to review them on the back of the camera is not real telling, because even there, you're not getting necessarily an accurate view of your depth of field. Notice I'm working the handle of the ballhead a lot. I'm really moving the camera around a lot. The other thing I'm going to do is bracket my depth of field, because I'm not sure if I can really get the deep focus that I want, or where that focus should be. I'm shooting some at 2.8. And now, I'm going to stop down to 5, which gets me a shutter speed of a 1/5 of a second, which is awfully slow.

So, I think I'm actually going to even tell it to underexpose by a stop to speed things up. That gets me up to a 1/10 of a second. And, you can hear there the slow shutter. I'm far enough out that I can work the focus ring, and even autofocus, and still get some control of my focus without having to worry about just moving the camera in and out. But I have a feeling of all of these are going to be blurry. So, something I might do if I'm not sure if I can get the focus straight is start to use the burst feature on my camera.

I'm going to take it off of the monopod, and I'm going to switch really to just focusing by moving the camera in and out. I'm also putting my camera into high-speed drive mode. So, as long as I hold the shutter button down, I get bursts of images. And, what I'm going to do now is pick a point of focus, and push the button down, and push the camera through the scene, and with the hope that something in there will be good focus. This camera doesn't have a super-fast burst mode.

I'm shooting with the Mark II now. I kind of wish I brought my Mark III, because it's a little bit faster. And so, this is very often a way of . . . if you're not sure that you can hold the camera on the point of focus in drive mode, you're knocking off a bunch of images around that point of focus, and hopefully one of them is going to be sharp. So, all of these are things that I'm going to employ as I hopefully, one day, make it back outside. I don't have to worry about wind in here, so this is a nice way for me to start practice with handholding, and my monopod, and some found objects.

I'm trying different distances, because with this lens, like the 65, I can really move to different focus distances. I've got my hand always understanding where this focus switch is, because I'm also doing just some close-up shooting. So, being able to switch to the deeper focus modes makes a big difference. I found lots of nice texture in here. I really like this dark board that I've found, which has some cool texture, and just lots of strong lines. And, here you see me just playing basic compositional ideas. I like the piece of chalk that was down below it. There is this tool cabinet full of screws and things; this is where I found the pencils.

There is also these nice textures, and objects, and line. Again, don't pressure yourself. Think of this kind of thing as an exercise. Maybe you'll come out with a great shot. At the very least, you're going to come out with some really good macro practice.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up
Foundations of Photography: Macro and Close-Up

47 video lessons · 15260 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 3m 54s
    1. Welcome
      2m 17s
    2. What you need to know for this course
      1m 37s
  2. 20m 33s
    1. What is close up?
      2m 21s
    2. Understanding minimum focus distance
      3m 55s
    3. Comparing wide lens and telephoto
      1m 55s
    4. Understanding depth of field and focus
      2m 11s
    5. Working with extension tubes
      4m 30s
    6. Working with close-up lenses
      5m 41s
  3. 28m 7s
    1. What is a macro photo?
      4m 15s
    2. Understanding how to shoot macro with a reversed lens
      5m 37s
    3. Using a point-and-shoot camera for macro
      1m 55s
    4. Working with backdrops for macro
      3m 45s
    5. Practicing macro by shooting in the kitchen
      12m 35s
  4. 58m 38s
    1. Choosing a macro lens
      2m 4s
    2. Exploring macro lens features: Focal length
      3m 16s
    3. Understanding macro lens shutter speed
      7m 6s
    4. Shooting basics with a macro lens
      8m 24s
    5. Getting closer with macro lenses and extension tubes
      11m 13s
    6. Working with depth of field and macro
      5m 1s
    7. Understanding depth and composition in macro
      6m 43s
    8. Working with subject holders and support
      6m 36s
    9. Shooting with the Canon 65 mm
      8m 15s
  5. 13m 12s
    1. Working with macro stabilizing options
      5m 45s
    2. Working with sliders for macro
      2m 44s
    3. Working with a bellows
      1m 55s
    4. Working with viewfinders in macro
      2m 48s
  6. 52m 59s
    1. Working with direct light
      6m 13s
    2. Macro and the angle of light
      2m 24s
    3. Augmenting direct light with reflectors
      6m 42s
    4. Continuous lighting to add fill to a macro shot
      5m 55s
    5. Lighting your macro scene with continuous light
      4m 50s
    6. Lighting the macro scene with strobes
      4m 59s
    7. Setting up a macro-specific flash unit
      3m 21s
    8. Shooting with the Canon Macro Twin Lite
      7m 56s
    9. Shooting macro in a light tent
      3m 31s
    10. Shooting macro on a light table
      7m 8s
  7. 19m 44s
    1. Field shooting for macro, starting at home
      7m 5s
    2. Managing backgrounds in the field
      7m 39s
    3. Shooting macro water droplets
      5m 0s
  8. 56m 19s
    1. Creating a simple manual focus stack
      4m 40s
    2. Creating a focus stacked image with manual merge
      6m 17s
    3. Creating a focus stacked image using Helicon Remote
      11m 6s
    4. Working with a StackShot rail for focus stacking
      11m 46s
    5. Merging a focus stack with Photoshop
      11m 12s
    6. Merging photo stacks with Helicon
      6m 53s
    7. Understanding the aesthetics of depth of field
      4m 25s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. Next steps
      1m 5s

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