I really do think that macro lenses are magical and I love, not only the results, but I love to play with them. I can spend hours and hours crouched down in a garden exploring the endless possibilities for creativity. As always, I break most of the photography rules. I almost never use a tripod when shooting outdoors. I realize that just breathing changes the focus ground, but I’m OK with that. I often shoot in manual focus and I sometimes use my body to focus rather than the lens.
I move slightly forward and compose a shot and then I move ever so slightly backward and the scene changes in my viewfinder without even touching the lens. Yes, there is wind and my body sway to contend with, but I always seem to get results that please me. The soft dreamy quality of the shallow depth of field just makes the flowers seem even more delicate and beautiful. There are times when achieving a tack sharp photo is what I want.
But other times I prefer a slightly out-of-focus painterly look.
And sometimes I manage to get a combination of both looks in one image.
One of my favorite things to do is to purposefully stick my lens right into my subject – so close that leaves or vegetation literally touch the lens. This creates a soft, hazy filter effect. The more leaves in the way, the more interesting the result.
When I originally purchased my macro lens many years ago, it was for a specific purpose. I was shooting small objects in the studio, with the dreaded tripod and lights. I can’t say I enjoyed any of that shooting and never really gave the lens enough attention. It wasn’t until I brought it outside to just ‘play with it’ that I fell in love with it.
Do you own a macro lens? And if so, how often do you use it? What are your favorite macro subjects?