In preparing new images for a talk I’m giving for NANPA’s Road Show in Boston on June 23-25, I was looking for a subject for some extreme macro pictures - where I combine my 100 mm, two extension tubes, and a diopter to get in close - really close. This technique creates wonderful abstracts - there's such little depth of field that you have a lot of colors blending and only the edges of things or one area may be in focus. My partner and I had just bought this gorgeous rose called Heart of Gold, and about three blossoms opened over the weekend. The colors were incredible in these flowers and I decided to play around with it.
Rose Abstract #1.
The first image shows you the rose as it looks normally. But in the others, there are various combinations of macro accessories. Abstract #1 is two extension tubes, a 12 mm and 25 mm, mounted between the camera body and my 100 mm macro lens, with a Canon 500D diopter on the front. This allowed me to get in really close to capture the glow of sunlight between layers of petals. I deliberately chose a wide open (f2.8) aperture for this picture, as I wanted it to be more like a painting or chalk pastel effect. I was excited about what I was seeing in the viewfinder, a bonus of photographing wide open - what you see is what you get!
Rose Abstract #3.
In Abstract #2, I used my 100 mm macro lens and the two extension tubes only, again choosing a wide aperture (f3.2), to render the droplets sharp on the petal. In Abstract #3, I chose an aperture of f8, to render the edge of the petal and the water drop sharp, using my 100 mm macro and the 25 mm extension tube. Both images work, but have a different look to them.
Rose Abstract #4.
Pulling out all the “stops,” I decided to put both extension tubes, and diopter back onto the 100 mm macro and get in very close again, this time focusing through some of the closer petals into the interior of the rose. Where you see the pale lavender/blue, was a shadow, softened by the blending of objects out of focus around it. This softness gave the whole picture a dreamlike effect, just what I was looking for in this abstract.
After about 1 1/2 hours, my back was sore, but I was totally energized by the results I obtained! Getting into extreme macro is a lot of fun, and a great creative workout. You have to move around, in and out on your subject until you see something that you really like. There’s no way to know what’s there until you get in that close - you just can’t see it with your naked eye. But once you start looking that closely, you find magic happening!
Have a great week everyone,