About a month or so ago, I started to explore macro photography. Technically, macro photography could be also known as close-up photography – but there is so much more than that. And if you remember from my Cornell Flowers post I was fairly unhappy with the results I was getting.
Then Karma suggested extension tubes – which might also be called the poor man’s macro lens. After some research and some hemming and hawing, I ended up purchasing Zeikos Extension tubes which come in 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm. I don’t pretend to understand the physics of how these work, but basically these donut like tubes extend the lens away from the camera, moving the focus point, and allowing for some serious close ups.
I have mainly been using my 55-200mm kit lens with the extension tubes. This allows me to focus while having a little space between the subject and the camera – perfect for gardens where I can’t set up the tripod in the middle of the plantings. I have used the 18-55mm a little – but you literally have to be set up within less than an inch from the subject to be able to focus!!!
I’ve played around with the different sizes, combining and uncombining in all combinations. There is definitely a learning curve with this – trying to find the right combination to get what you have in your mind’s eye takes a lot of practice. Also, the exposures can be a little off – I have taken many an under/over exposed shot when working with the tubes!! But I’ve found that checking the histogram, or sometimes just the digital image, will show the (obvious) adjustments I need to make.
One drawback is that when the tubes are on, you can only focus on something that’s close-up – there’s no switching from close to far and back again that I’ve heard you can do with a macro lens. I’ll have to let you know about that for sure when I get my rental macro for my trip in August.
All in all – this was a worthwhile investment. I’m able to take the shots I sometimes want to take, but since I’m not a full-time macro kind of gal, I didn’t have to make the huge investment necessary for the macro lens. And I can use these all summer on all my flowers (all the flowers in this post were taken in my own front yard) – not just when I have a rental in the house. Thanks Karma for the great suggestion!!