Any Macro Photographers On Board?

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Jun 21st, 2005, 01:29 PM
  #1
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Any Macro Photographers On Board?

I am really starting to get into DSLR photography and just purchased my 4th lens, a Sigma 180mm f/3.5 Macro lens.

Macro photography is geared towards insects, reptiles and other smaller wildlife and flowers, basically.

I would like nothing more than to capture a dung beetle, millipede, puff adder, Mozambiquen spitting cobra, etc. Well, maybe I'll use my 80-400mm at full distance for the puff adder and spitting cobra.

Out of all the photo albums I have seen posted by Fodorites, I do not recall too many photos that were likely taken with Macro lenses. But, if there are any Macro photographers reading this, I would love feedback on what you would recommend to a beginning Macro photographer. I have posted on Fred Miranda as well, but I have the highest respect for my fellow Fodorites, so thought I would also ask here.

Thanks!
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 12:07 AM
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I love close ups not only of insects but of grasses, leaves, textures of bark on a tree and all sorts.

Unfortunately, it's not always easy to get close enough to the subject from a game drive vehicle but you can still get great close up studies of objects and insects using your long zooms.

As usual, make sure you ask the driver to turn off the engine to reduce vibration and camera shake.

When on bush walks and in and around camp you can get much closer to objects and could use a macro lens more easily.

In terms of recommendations - one would be to think about viewpoint - when taking things low to the ground, get on your belly and get the right viewpoint. Don't shoot everything from normal human eye-height.

Also - PRACTICE! Go into your garden at home and practice getting the most out of your equipment - get to know instinctively the closest focus distance without having to consciously think about it and so on.
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 10:55 AM
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Roccco,

I do a lot of macro work in Bots - I'd strongly suggest a tripod; without it, you'll be looking at very shallow depth of field images and this is not at all suited for close-up work.

Longer exposures will mean far better depth and, even though you've purchased a fast lens (f3.5), you'll still need to stop down to get your best images.
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Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:23 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback!

I am having no luck in resisting all these new toys for my Canon 20d. The only thing stopping me from going out and splurging on a 16.7 Megapixel Canon DS1-Mark II is the fact that its CMOS Sensor is full frame and I would feel cheated by not having a 1.6x extra zoom that the Canon 20d provides (yeah, that and its $7,500 pricetag!).

Each time I take my dogs on a walk early in the morning, I take my camera along. So far, it is just mostly pictures of my dogs, a few birds and some landscape shots, but I did manage to get a couple shots of a coyote that was stalking us...unfortunately I had my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens when I should have had my 80-400 lens instead!

Photography may finally give me a chance at being an "arteest."

I don't know which flash to get but just to tide me over for now, I will probably get the Sigma 500 Super Flash, but for Macro photography, I know I will likely need an alternate flash once I get more serious.

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Jun 23rd, 2005, 12:37 AM
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You're welcome.
I really wouldn't splash out more and more cash on more and more bits of equipment until you reach a level of already getting good results out of what you now have.
Make sure this SLR lark is going to work for you and give you the results you hanker after before going nuts!
Good to hear you're practicing.
Would recommend finding some more difficult subjects than your dogs:
Birds in the garden - if you can get a good image of a wild bird, you're doing well.
If the coyote was wild, which I assume it must have been, that sounds like a great practice subject too.
Zoos and pets are good to practice technical stuff but less so on practicing the art of getting a good shot when you may only have a few seconds window before the animal is gone!
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Jun 23rd, 2005, 01:57 AM
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Very occasionally, I get to feel like an "arteest", he he he!

Today I sold a print (via kavey.dpcprints.com) of buses at westminster in London.

I've also sold a couple of matted and signed prints of Tomboy (that baby lion cub) privately recently, which was thrilling.

I know I can't make a living, or even anything close, but even if I can make enough to pay for a new lens now and then, I'll be happy.

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