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It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.
After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.
The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.
So, in the last movie, we switched from the diffuse, soft, even, wrap-around lighting that we've used for the whole course, to a shaft of direct light like you might find streaming through an open window in your house. As you saw, it created a lot more drama on the surface of the flower. We had real shadows and a lot of nice highlights. And as I moved down here, I got some nice backlighting effects, and some cool rim lights on the stamens, and things like that. And, I hope you've had a chance to play with that sort of thing. I hope also that while you were doing that, you played with some other alternatives.
Look what's happened here. I've moved basically 90 degrees. I've come around to the side, and I'm finding something very different. I've got all this nice side lighting on the flower. You can probably see in here there is highlighting up in here. There is shadow down in here. I've got a lot of texture on the surface of the flower. Let me grab a quick shot for you. I framed up a shot here that I like. I'm at f/16, so we've got some depth of field. Here you can see, again, a lot more drama on the stamens than we were getting with our even light. So, over here on the right side, they're all lit up. On the left side, they are shadowy.
We are starting to get into something that I think is interesting, but we're far from finished. We are going to do more to it. But before we do, I want to encourage you that when you are working with a macro subject in a shaft of direct light, don't forget to work it. That means move around, try lots of things, get in closer, get further away, but also, work the lighting angles that you can find. See how the flower changes as you let one part get backlit and another not? See how texture changes as side lighting brings out more relief on the detail of the textures on the flower? It's very important, even if you are struck right away by, "Wow! This shot looks great." Definitely take that shot, but don't ever stop exploring it.
Work all 360 degrees, if you can do it. So, I'm liking this, but I'm actually thinking now, we're having a pretty traditional direct light problem, which is we have too much contrast. Now, in most photography, you always want more contrast, particularly landscape photography. You are always aiming for all that nice, crunchy detail. Here it's a little harsh. These shadow areas are too dark. I like the light on the highlight areas, but I'd like to lighten up some of the shadows somehow, and maybe downplay a little bit of the texture. To do that, we're going to begin to augment this light.
For the first time in this course, we're going to get away from purely natural light. And now, we're going to take some natural light, and bend it to our photographic will. We'll start that in the next movie.
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