Sunday, July 22, 2012


     I was never fond of macro shots.  Most of the times, I get sick of Facebook pictures of close-up shots of flowers with cheesy captions in it.  People like them a lot!  I don't!

     But a lot of times, I end up having macro shots on my Flickr stream.  Something just happen to catch my eye, and I know these subjects are meant to be shot really close... like flowers!  Often times, I just got nothing else to do, or I just run out of ideas.  So I slap on my extension tube and voila!  Macro all the way.

     The thing is, since I never really delved into the macro world, I lack technique.  I just point and shoot.  Hell, I lack technique even on my favorite fields, let alone something I just play with occasionally.  Then again, I might just be misguided here.  I can't say much about the "misguided" part 'cause it'll be on my future blog (How I Started Photography).  But just to give a clue, I might just have the wrong impressions about macro photography.  So I'm still giving it a try.  I might as well use my extension tube, since I got one for free (I don't have a dedicated macro lens).

The Touch
I had took this just for fun.  Had a flower float on a basin of water.  I think I even have a blog about this, along with washing-my-face scenes after I was done with this subject.
     It was horrible at first.  Even a flower can't save me from shooting horribly!  But in time, I got a bit better (at least, exposure wise).  Somehow, I got a nice shot of a dead dragonfly and some people liked it.  And since I was under the "creepy is good" phase, I liked it too.

Life After Death
Shot of a dead dragonfly I found at work.  The time I was shooting, I had my personal assignment of shooting in B&W, but I couldn't resist processing this one.
     And then came this guy calling people in DPS(Digital Photography School) to join the Macroteers.  I thought, "If these macros keep popping up on my stream, then I might as well indulge." and thought maybe someone will open my eyes here.  I'm relieved a lot of the members don't use/have  dedicated macro lens.  I'd feel left out, if in case.

     And then comes DPS's assignment about shooting macro.  At first, I feel quite unfortunate.  During the previous assignments (e.g. Heat, SOOC, Backlighting, Self-Portraits, Headshots, Landscapes: Urban, etc), I was too busy to take pictures, all the while that those were mostly the fields I'm more comfortable with.  But I haven't been submitting any entry and now that I have a bit of time-- it's macro time!

     Nothing came to mind at first.  I tried to think of subjects and got nothing.  But when I asked myself, "Which lens should I choose to use the extender with?" I began to start shooting randomly at anything.  Pepper corns, my toe nail, my scar, and just random things I see nearby.

     Then I remembered I took a close-up lens with my little flashlight.  The thing about the flashlight is that I'm looking at the subject imaginatively instead of literally with a lot of details... something I think macro is about.

Inspiration = Moon
Looking through the viewfinder, I thought these little orbs looked more like a couple of different moons with each own characteristics.  Their own lighting and cosmic battle scars.

     Still, there was a time when I noticed what's really in those little lights if it's not so much illuminated-- details.  The scratches and cracks, the light source and what not.  It's there.  Thanks to my extension tube, all I have to do is look at it.

Batteries Not Included
A little closer look past the illuminating point, and I saw more of what this light is made of.

     The flashlight thing didn't set my mind to 'macro mode' though.  But it gave me an idea.  My room has nothing but a single, florescent, dim light, and my walls are all covered with black stuff.  I thought of mounting the subject over the speedlight or flashlight.  I couldn't find my little flashlight and I was too lazy to put fresh batteries on my flash.  So what's the next best thing?  My smartphone's camera's light.  But it was too small to mount anything on it.  So I used the flashlight app, to illuminate... a cigarette?  Well, that was the first thing that I saw.  It didn't work out well, though.

     Basing on my pictures above, I thought of doing the same with my phone's light.  As I point my lens to this little source of light, I fell in love with the flares.  I wanted details, but I wanted flares too!  But as I chimp on my LCD screen on every shot, I don't see any flare at all... well... okay, that's supposed to be very good news for a lens.  But I wanted what I saw through the viewfinder.  Oh, well.  Forget the flare then.

Robotic Flare
This is the best I could get out of the image when it comes to flare (through post-processing).  It was far less than what I saw through the viewfinder. 

Glint in the Eyes
A bit of cropping and some adjustments on Camera RAW, I got (a bit of) a small world of the phone.

     I easily got tired of this subject. There's nothing else I could do about it and I was too lazy to think (as I've said, I'm not so keen with macro).  So I thought of utilizing it for what it's really used for.  But to illuminate what?  Out of just lost thought, I drank the last of my coffee from its (plastic) bottle.  Looking at the bottom of it, I was attracted to the patterns on its molding.

The Butthole
Looking at a bottle's butt.

     I took about 4 snaps.  Looking at them on my computer, I noticed something that got me straight to memory lane.  A mark on the bottle that indicates what material it was made of.  Then it came to me.  Details!  I think this is where macro comes in.  Seeing what might not be noticed much/often by the naked eye, because it's just too darn small.

It Says So
I laughed when I saw the "recyclable" indication around the "pet" sign.  It looked like three dogs swimming around the letters.

     Some time ago, when I finally started taking pictures everywhere, with my point-and-shoot, I found a well-organized set of trash bins.  One for plastic, one for biodegradable, and one for bottles.

Recyclable Pets
I took this from one of my Facebook photos.  The discussion was from Friendster site which doesn't exist anymore.

     It wasn't a unique bin, either.  After noticing this one, I keep seeing the same labels on many trash bins.  But all my friends and I had the same reaction: "... pets?"  We didn't know anything about disposable/recyclable "pets."

Along With The Garbage
Another shot of a PET bin at a random place in Seoul (I think).  Got this from my Facebook photos.

     But yes, I saw that PET mark on the bottle's bottom.  To me, it was funny.  Maybe to other viewers, it's just that.  Nevertheless, I wanted to take pictures of it.  I have my tripods just a couple of steps away from me.  But my laziness was more dominant than "getting it right."  I pointed the bottle's opening to my phone's light, then pointed my lens to the bottle's bottom... err... okay.  My laziness was still stronger than comfort and precision.  But I've been reading other photographers showing off their nice macro pictures and add, "shot hand-held" and I say, "Fine!  I'll do the same!"

Everything Hand-held
I couldn't resist taking a picture of myself taking another picture.  It just felt funny.

     I don't think I will do this shooting-macro-handheld thing again any time soon.  Yes, I was too lazy to set up a tripod.  And I got a workout in exchange.  But I did get something else out of it.  A picture that reminded me of myself with a large group of my friends talking about a disposable pet.

The Pet
This is the original image taken straight out of the camera with no extra post-processing except converting from RAW to Jpeg.

     Post-processing was a bit stressful.  I like the above image as it is, and it's SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera).  But I was worried that there was a lot going on, the PET thing might not stand out much.  I ended up with a little too much photoshopping but I wasn't sure this would be my final entry for the (above mentioned) assignment anyway.  To me, I just had fun shooting this bottle's bottom.

I'm not liking it very much but I really wanted the "pet" thing to pop-out.

     In the end, I still didn't find much excitement shooting macro.  I'm willing to go for more pictures but it just doesn't feel as much as I do when I go out shooting in the streets at night.  But I'll keep shooting and writing and hope someone out there would enjoy viewing and reading what I blog about.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. I actually reading your articles here and enjoying your shoots. Although you keep sharing how you do it unfortunately it's not my genre... though I am so so into it loving and liking it... And I don't like to be just in here I want others to enjoy it also, appreciate your skill... I came back here to link again this and share it to my site... :)