Previously… Macro and Close-up Photography with Mike Atkinson

Society President Sally Anderson introduced fellow member Mike Atkinson who presented his lecture entitled ‘Close-up and Macro Photography’.

Mike started by discussing when close-up becomes macro – ie. life size on the negative or digital sensor.

Various methods can be used to achieve close-up and macro images and these include

  • close up dioptre lenses from +1 to +4 which can be used singly or in combination;
  • extension tubes which increase the focal length of a lens, eg. a 50mm lens with a 50mm extension tube gives a life size image;
  • bellows which work on a similar principle to tubes but are capable of more precise focussing, often better in a studio setting;
  • Cropping a picture;
  • Stacking lenses;
  • Macro lenses specifically made for close-up photography in 50mm, 60mm or 100mm focal lengths. The 100mm length allows for focus on an insect without disturbing it. Any of these lengths are suitable for flowers. Mike demonstrated x1 and x5 macro lenses;
    Microscopic photography.

Mike then demonstrated lighting arrangements for close-up photography with ring flash and then twin flash guns mounted on a bracket to get close to the subject. Some experimentation was needed to obtain the correct exposure.

With macro photography care is needed with depth of field as this is often as little as 2mm to 3mm. Attention to backgrounds is also required as an insect can often have the same colour as its surroundings. Mike illustrated this with images of moths photographed against the bark of a tree. Lighting could be an issue with exoskeletons of insects as these often are shiny and reflect natural or artificial illumination.

Part two of the presentation as a short practical session with members using the 5x macro lens.

Mike showed membes his moth trap from which he has been able to assemble a collection of slides and digital images of the many moth species to be seen in North West England. He then showed a selection of slides of moths and butterflies photographed using the methods described in the talk.

Bill Wilcockson thanked Mike on behalf of the Society for an extemely interesting and informative lecture.