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If you've been following along doing any macro shooting of your own, then you should already have discovered that camera and subject placement is critical when you're building a composition. Now, this is true with any kind of photographic composition. But at the macro scale, it gets down to millimeters of placement of both your camera and your subject. You've seen how I have my geared head here for rotating, and panning, and tilting the camera. But as I've been trying to get things positioned, I've been sliding my subject back and forth. If I'm needing to get something in focus, I could, of course, move the tripod back and forth, but making a fine motion of this whole tripod is really tricky.
Fortunately, there's another piece of gear you can employ to help you with that, and that's a slider. This is a geared rail that I can mount my camera on. And, by turning these knobs, I can slide it in different directions. So, this knob slides it back and forth this way. This knob slides it back and forth this way. Now, as I turn this, you may not be seeing much motion, and that's actually good. This is geared so that it takes me a lot of turns of the knob to get much movement on either axis. That means that I can make really fine adjustments.
Here is what I'm talking about. I've gone ahead and put my camera, or my tripod plate, on the slider. I'm going to just mount it here on my tripod. And now, my camera attaches to this normal tripod screw right there. Let's get rid of this cable release here. So, I am just going to mount this, just like I would mount the camera to any other tripod attachment. So, I screw this down here. Now, I've got full control over the camera. I can pan and tilt with my geared head. And, if I decide, "Well, I need to be a little bit closer," then all I do is slide the camera forward.
So now, I've got a way of making really refined focus adjustments, simply by turning this knob. If I need to truck to the left or right, I just turn this knob, and I can get some little adjustments. So, when I'm in really tight trying to refine a composition, the slider is really the missing element that I haven't had access to so far through this course. I've got all my motions of the camera. Now, I can also go forward and backward. Really aids focusing. Really aids composition. And, they're not that expensive. This is a Velbon Slider that I really like. It's very sturdy, very well-made. I really like the motion of the rail.
This is around $100 from Amazon; it might have been, like, $125. If you poke around on eBay, you'll find some extremely inexpensive sliders, some like around $20 or $25. I have not looked at these; I don't know what kind of quality they are. If you're just wanting to maybe dabble in this a little bit, maybe that's a better way to go. But if you're doing a lot of close- up studio work, check out the slider.
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