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Saturday, 1 May 2010

Macro Time

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 200mm Macro lens @ f/9, 1/500th sec, ISO 320

Summer is just around the corner, which means insect photography is too.

If I could only do one kind of photography, it would be close up photography of insects and other invertebrates. If you like wildlife photography, but you've never tried macro, I recommend you give it a go:
  • It's easy to find a subject to photograph. This means the chances are high that time spent out with a macro lens will be rewarding. The diversity and sheer numbers of insects dwarf that of other animals. Even the average back garden has plenty in it!
  • In comparison to say, bird photography, it's cheap to buy a high quality macro lens. Consider a pro-spec birding lens like a Nikkor 600mm f4 - these go for about £7k in the UK. While something like a Sigma 50-500mm is great value for non-pros, it's just not in the same league as the 600. On the other hand, even Nikon's top of the range macro, the Nikkor 200mm f4 AF, costs only a fraction of the 600 (in fact, it's about the same price as the Sigma 50-500mm). Lenses like the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR or the highly regarded Sigma 150mm f/2.8 are cheaper still. 
  • Macro is difficult. Even just judging the depth of field and getting the focusing right is non-trivial, to say the least (c.f. photographing a bird on a stick). Be prepared to take and discard a huge number of images to get the shot you want. If you like a challenge, macro photography will keep you interested. 
  • Unlike bird photography (again!) there's no need to carry around a heavy lens or tripod. Just a single, relatively small, macro lens will do.
At the end of May, I'll be spending 4 days at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire, UK ( This site is famous for the diversity of the invertebrates found there, which include a large number of rare species. Last year I ended up photographing a large number of bees on flowers. Pretty as they may be, it's time for some less common subjects!

Nikon D700 + Sigma 150 mm Macro lens @ f/5.6, 1/400th sec, ISO 320

1 comment:

  1. nice bee and flower shot. If you like macro, check out my site