I had never really tried my hand at macro photography before (small things, close up) and when my friend Sam invited me to join him on a macro photography course run by Going Digital I decided it would be a great opportunity to try something new. Often travel and humanitarian work requires me to be quick with photographic decisions. There is rarely time for setting up a shot or spending an hour getting the light just right so macro photography posed a very different challenge for me. It also meant getting to grips with certain elements of my kit I rarely have to think about. It was also good fun just spending time with my friend Sam and seeing how two people could take the same very simple subjects and take completely different shots. Stand out learning points from the day:

  • I still have a lot to learn with my kit and should spend more time trying out new techniques.
  • The Live View mode on my Canon is something I NEVER use when travelling (battery drain) but for macro was pretty useful!
  • Tripods are extremely helpful tools. I need a better one (I borrowed my friend Sam’s for this course, mine is very heavy and not at all practical for the field)
  • Macro is a great technique for a grey day as unlike most other forms of photography it can be great whatever the weather.

Here are some of my experimental shots from the day.

Sam and I spent a lot of time working with one leaf. This effect was gained by back-lighting the leaf with white card placed behind it. A tripod was required to keep the camera still enough to get a sharp well-lit image.

The same leaf but this time with a black card background made for a different feel.

Final version of the leaf; this time purposely messing about with the exposure and over-exposing for a high-key style.

A very creepy crow skull! Actually only the size of my thumb but looks far more menacing in macro. Simply used a table lamp to light this one and Sam held a reflector to bounce back light to slightly reduce the shadows.

Creepy Skull Part 2!

We also had a go at some macro wildlife photography. This is an Angle Shades Moth up close.

A very cute little harvest mouse. I am not sure I would have the patience for finding these moments in the wild but it was good fun learning to use lenses and filters I have not used before.