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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.
The key to getting a macro photo is being able to get your lens in really, really close. To do that, you need a very short minimum focusing distance. You've seen how extension tubes let you get your lens closer to a subject. I've got here something that's basically a variation on an extension tube, and that is a bellows. Now a bellows is a bit . . . sometimes a bit heavier, a bit clunkier, and a lot more fragile than a set of extension tubes. The advantage of it is that it's got tremendous variability.
I can actually find the exact level of extension that I want with very fine control. So, what I've done here is I've mounted a 50 mm lens on the front of this very small, very lightweight bellows. And with that, I can extend just exactly to where I need to get the cropping that I want. So, I am going to just set this here, and grab a shot real quick. I'm employing all of the things that you've seen me do, working with a normal macro lens. I'm using live view to keep my hands off the camera.
I have got ISO 800 here. Now, when I do this, I lose aperture control over my lens, because I've broken the electrical contacts. You might be able to find a bellows that actually delivers those electrical contacts. I went for cheap, and it didn't come with any. So, I am just working manually here; this means that the lens is basically wide open at f1.8. There are tricks that you can use to close the aperture down. If you want to learn more about those, check out my Reverse Lens Mini Course to see how that works.
So, I am just going to grab a shot here. And, there we go. I'm in real tight with what is nothing more than a 50 mm lens. So, a bellows is another version of an extension tube. Personally, I prefer extension tubes, just because they're more durable. They're a little bit easier to work with. But if you are doing a lot of studio work, investing in a nice bellows gives you a lot more flexibility.
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