On February 4th, 2017 I taught another “learn and shoot” workshop for West Photo, my favorite “brick and mortar” camera store. Held at Bachman’s Floral, Gift and Garden headquarters, the location offered my twenty-two students a ready supply of interesting macro subjects. As a special surprise for the participants, I invited my biology student, and neophyte herpetologist, to join us on location. Armed with four tree frogs and two geckos, she provided some live models for the shoot. Lasting nearly five hours, it appeared that everyone gleaned a little something they could add to their toolkit of image-making tricks.
My lessons included discussions about vision and intent, macro-techniques and stretching depth of field in the digital darkroom. Following our day-long shoot, I noted four aspects of my talk that seemed to resonate the most with the participants.
- Shoot for you and be intentional about what you want to photograph.
- Live view is your friend! Use the camera’s live view mode to magnify the subject and ensure that the point of interest is in sharp focus.
- The inconvenience of a tripod is worth the hassle. By working slowly to adjust the legs and square the subject, the shooter becomes more thoughtful and in tune with the image making process.
- Simple tools and little tricks are still valid in the digital era. Extension tubes are an inexpensive way to make any optic a macro lens, and the hand attached to your arm can help you parallel your subject to the sensor’s plane.
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