Seeing Things Close Up

It is one of those surreal moments each year when I am reminded by WordPress how long I have been running Aperture64. This blog started out as an experiment at a time when I was making many changes in my life. What better way to deal with my worries than to bury my head in the sand with a photo blog. It is amusing for me to think back three years because part of me says that nothing has changed, yet to be honest a lot has; not including the number of followers.

Concentrating on photography one of the biggest differences is the use of macro lenses and extension tubes in my work. Something I have been experimenting and homing the skills of  for the last 2 years. I will not profess to be the best but I feel I am getting pretty good at finding a creepy crawlies and becoming a voyeur of their world (?). Zooming in on the minute details of life and the world is great, yet I am reminded daily by my other lenses that zooming out and looking at the wider picture is also not a bad idea as well.

Unlike other macro images I have shared recently, none of these images are focus stacked all are single images shot with a Macro lens. All images were edited in Adobe Lightroom.

Some tips for getting close up;

  • Keep your eyes open and your camera ready. This means that I have to have the macro lens or extension tubes attached to the camera ready to go. Sometimes this will mean missing other shots because I have the wrong lens on my camera at the time. Of course be prepared and take other lenses just in case, as you never know what you will come across.
  • Being prepared also means having your camera ready, most of the pictures above were taken at about 1/125 at f/8 with 800 ISO. I got these settings from quite a bit of experimentation, and close up this has given me regular consistent results. In saying this adapting to your surroundings and chimping to make sure your exposure is right, will keep your success rate high.
  • Have an idea of what you want to shoot when you go out exploring. On spring/summer mornings and afternoons I would think about going bee hunting; heading to an area full of flowers in bloom camera ready. Ladybirds this year came quite late more in the summer than spring. Spiders though I find most often during the autumn.
  • There is never taking too few photos, memory cards are cheap and getting cheaper, when getting close up I would suggest taking as many photos as you can to make sure the subject is sharp. If you are not ready to or able to focus stack, try and get the eyes sharp.
  • The best tip however is, just go out there and take some pictures. Also don’t worry if you look like an idiot lying in the grass with a Ladybird in your sights. Those who laugh will be the same that go “oooh aaah” when you show them the picture.
  • Do you have any tips on getting close up? Let me know in the comments below.

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If you wish to get notifications when I post on my blog, you can follow me on Twitter@apertureF64, on or alternatively be emailed by subscribing below. All images are the Copyright of Benjamin Rowe , ALL RIGHTS Reserved unless credited to another photographer. For more information please read my Copyright Statement

8 thoughts on “Seeing Things Close Up

  1. Congrats on three years. I think I’m closing in on two and, as you say, nothing has changed much (except maybe the quality of my work has- I think- improved a bit)! As for your macro advice, “…the best tip however is, just go out there and take some pictures” goes for any type of photography; as well as, “…keep your eyes open and your camera ready.” These posted shots are great. What was the ratio between what you shot and what was usable or in focus?

    • Most of these pictures were at about 1:1 magnification if except the fly on the leave which was about 2:1. My working distance is about 10 cm and the area in focus is about 1-3 mm depending on how close I was to the subject.
      There is a lot of advice in photography which is cross compatible.

  2. Glad I found this post and congrats on 3 years Ben!
    I can relate to.. and love what you said, about looking in closely and then needing to see the bigger picture.
    Macro is like that for me too. Keep up the great blog Ben and wonderful photography. You inspire us 🙂

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