Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ultra-Macro Photography Upgrade

Some people pay hundreds to be able to photograph tiny subjects such as snowflakes, but now you can do it for $5.
Taken with a jeweler's loupe and a digital camera

I recently read an article about a man who took photos of snowflakes by taping an extra lens on the front of his camera. Naturally, I was interested. I had always enjoyed taking close-up photos of things, but I hadn't been able to take very many high-quality photos of anything as small as a snowflake.

After reading the details of his method, I had an idea: instead of using an expensive lens like he was using, I could use one of the cheap plastic jeweler's loupes I already have (available on Amazon for about $5).

I had tried using loupes to take close-up images before, but without much success. After reading the article, though, I realized that there was a trick I had been missing: after taping the lens on the front of the camera, I should have zoomed in all the way before taking the photo.

At first, it seems to make the image very blurry, which was why I had never tried it before. But if you put the camera just the right distance from the subject, it comes into almost perfect focus.

Again, all you need to do is tape the lens on the front of your camera. Make sure it's centered, of course. Then, simply zoom in using optical zoom, and position the camera the correct distance from the subject (it should come into focus). Then take a photo.

I tried taking a photo of my camera case zipper (see photo to right), and when that worked nicely I started taking photos of other things.

Here are a few of the close-ups I took – see if you can guess what they are! (Answers at end of post.)






Part of the beauty of this photography method is that the magnification of the subject can be controlled by zooming in and out. Here are two photos of the same rose, with different magnifications:
So far, this setup has been very useful to me for taking photos on small scales. I hope you find it useful as well!

Photo subjects:
1. An ordinary computer monitor. The blotchy appearance was actually present on the computer screen.
2. Paper towel.
3. Blue denim.
4. An areole on a saguaro cactus I brought home after my trip to Arizona a year and a half ago.
5. A piece of cereal. You probably never saw a Cheerio which looked that big before!

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