Join Joseph "PhotoJoseph" Linaschke for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring textures as subjects, part of Photography 101: Shooting Macros and Close-Ups.
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When most people hear macro photography, the first thing that jumps to mind is flowers. But the world of macro isn't just about flowers, it's really just about anything that you can get close to to make an image of. And if you think about your own backyard, one of the great things that you'll find out there is textures, loads and loads of textures that, unless you're looking for 'em, you may not even realize exist. To find a good texture, you have to get down close. You have to get low, close to the ground, close to your subject, and try looking at it from different angles. You may find textures that you never knew existed.
So, out here in this great backyard that we're in, we're going to run around and see what kind of cool textures we can find and make a few images of 'em. I'd like to talk about the hardware that I'll be using. Today I'm shooting with a Panasonic GX7 which is a micro four thirds mirrorless camera. The lens that I have on here isn't even a dedicated macro lens. In fact, this is just the kit lens that came with an Olympus OMD camera. Also micro four thirds. This lens though has a macro mode on it. Now when I push the macro button and extend the barrel out. The lens automatically zooms out, and at that point it's actually more like a 100 millimeter equivalent for a 35 millimeter DSLR.
So if you're used to thinking in 35 millimeter terms then this is like 100 millimeter macro now. The other cool thing about working with a camera like this is, you have the articulated LCD, this gives you some great benefits. For example if I want to put the camera on the ground, instead of having to lay down on the ground and look through the view finder, I can just pop out the LCD set it down and look at it top down. It just makes it a lot easier to find things and frankly a lot easier on my back as well. Also, if you're going to shoot straight down on something, you're shooting straight down like this you can look at the LCD here or flip it the other direction and hold it out like so.
So lots of different options, and having the articulated LCD is a huge help to that. So, let's take a look at what we can find out here in this yard. The first texture that I want to look at, is actually right here at my feet. It's a piece of driftwood. Now, this is just an old piece of wood, not terribly exciting, is it? Well maybe it is. Let's get up close, see what we can find. So first things first, let's get the camera turned on. Make sure we're in that macro mode, and there we are. You're going to go ahead and pop up the LCDs so that I can just shoot straight down, without having to do any gymnastics to balance myself over the camera and look through the view finder.
Nice. See, the textures that we're seeing in here are really quite beautiful. And these are the kind of things you may have not noticed just walking by. It's not until you get up really close that you start to see these things. Let's take a look at the same thing from a different angle. Flip the LCD, put the camera down here, kind of an ant's eye view, if you will. And I'm just in auto focus mode now, just go ahead and let the camera focus And shoot those, textures in there. Now I'm currently in Aperture Priority Mode, because when I'm in Aperture Priority, I control the aperture, which means I get to control the depth of field.
Now, with macro photography you have a very, very shallow depth of field even in a big number like F8 or F10 you probably are still going to have quite a shallow depth of field in here. So, being able to control that, and letting the camera figure out everything else like the ISO and the shutter speed, can make this whole process a lot easier. And because we can review the images on the back of the LCD, we can take a look and see if we have enough or too much in focus and adjust the aperture accordingly and take another shot. So let's take a quick look at what I got here. Yeah, these are great. We got some pretty cool images in here.
Again just from this piece of driftwood right at my feet. All right, let's take a look at what else we can find in this backyard. Come with me. So, here we have a, pretty interesting piece of rock, it's kind of a slate type of a rock here. And looking at it from the top, it's got some nice color and nice texture to it, and this is what we mainly see walking by.
But if we get a little bit lower and look a little mo, a little more closely, you're going to see something a lot more interesting and that's right here on the side of it. If you look closely here, you'll see lots of different colors and textures running through this that frankly are a lot more interesting than the top of it. So let's get some shots of this and see how this looks. So once again with this camera, I can flip out the LCD, which makes it really easy for me to get the shot. I don't have to lay down on the ground, I can just flip it straight up like this, put the camera up close, focus, and get the shot. Now the first shot here, and again I'm in Aperture Priority and I've got an aperture set of F6.
Now F6 on this lens is as wide open as it gets, and that's going to give you a pretty shallow depth of field. And if you look closely at this rock, you'll see that there's multiple levels in here. It kind of goes up here, and then jumps back a bit. And then goes up a little bit more. So take another look at the shot that I just did. You'll see that, part of the rock is in focus, the part in the front, but then the part in the back is a bit blurry. That's not really what I want here, I want all of it to be in focus. So, I'm going to go ahead and change the aperture. In this case, I'm going to go ahead and dial it all the way from F6 to F22.
Now again, since I'm in Aperture Priority, the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed and the ISO to compensate. So let's take a look at what we've got here. Again, I'll just get down on the same position, focus on the bottom part of that rock Now, that we've shot it at F22, you can see that there's a lot more in focus, both the front and the back layer of rock are totally sharp. Now, that may be what you want or maybe it isn't, but that's the point. You need to experiment with it, play with it, adjust the aperture, get different layers of focus, levels of focus and see what looks great for that particular set up.
So let's go see what else we can find in this backyard I want to take a look at one more texture in this backyard. This bush here, and I don't really know what this is. But, at some point it's been cut off. And you can see it's starting to grow back. And frankly, it's not very pretty.
You might just walk right past it at first look. But, if you think of it from a macro point of view. Get down really close and look at it really close. You might find some interesting textures in here. So what I want to do here is put together the last couple of things we talked about in the last couple of sets. So we're going to change perspective, and we're going to change aperture, so I'm going to do four different shots. I'm going to shoot it from one angle with two different apertures and then another at two other different apertures. So let's start since we already at F6, I'm going to go ahead and do a shot straight down, at F6.
Auto Focus Mode is fine. We'll just find that spot, and, shoot it. Okay so there's one. And you can see here it's it's, kind of interesting. Pretty good shallow depth of field. Now let's open it up to F22 and see what kind of a difference we get. Okay, same shot, straight down again. So very similar image. But as you can see, there's more in focus. Some of the texture behind that first layer is sharp here. Now for me, I kind of like the shallow depth of field better for that one.
Now so far, I'm not in love with the shots that I'm getting. It's kind of interesting, but it's not really cool. But now let's change the angle, change the perspective, and see what happens. What I'm going to do here is, pretty much lay the camera down in this bush here. So you can see, if you look in front of the lens, there's bits of grass or whatever this is that are kind of coming up in front of the lens in here. And that's going to give me some really interesting out of focus stuff that's in front of my primary focus point. And this could be quite cool. So, we're already at F22, let's go ahead and shoot it there. So go ahead and focus again.
Fire that off. Take a look at that shot, and you know, it's okay. It's definitely a different perspective, but, we've got too much in focus here, so let's go now the other way. We're going to go back to F6 for this. So now we'll have a lot less in focus. And let's try again. Now that's much more interesting. Now we've got a shot that is really dynamic, it's the kind of thing you look at and you don't really now what it is, but it's cool. There's some great texture in there, some nice shadows. Parts that are in focus and parts that aren't. So, once again just play, experimenting, go out in your backyard and see what you can find, you'll be surprised at the world waiting for you in your own backyard.
In this course, photographer and educator Joseph Linaschke provides an introduction to the worlds of macro and close-up photography. After an overview of the gear you'll want for macro work, the course explores some subjects you may want to capture, from flowers to bugs, to pets. The course also explores tools and techniques for shooting macros and close-ups using an iPhone.
- Shooting close-up shots of flowers and pets
- Exploring textures as subjects
- Shooting indoors, in a miniature studio
- Shooting macros with the iPhone
- Using high-speed sync to get light in a macro shot