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Author Topic: Nonmacro macro  (Read 2085 times)

sdwilsonsct

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Nonmacro macro
« on: July 29, 2013, 11:21:12 AM »

Something that has puzzled me for a while is how to make an interesting image of a small (10 cm high) plant, along with its habitat.

I see lots of this type of image (a subject in context) for big stuff like trees in fields, models on beaches, people on the street, etc, but not so many for small subjects.

Here I used a 100 mm lens, shallow depth of field and lots of time trying to find a composition. I have a square crop that is ok but not very different.

I guess a macro lens would make the subject bigger, but they seem to have rather long focal lengths. I gather there's no such thing as a 24 mm macro.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 12:38:20 PM by sdwilsonsct »
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 03:07:16 PM »

I guess a macro lens would make the subject bigger, but they seem to have rather long focal lengths. I gather there's no such thing as a 24 mm macro.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Hi Scott,

A macro lens only makes things bigger because it allows to focus from much closer. They often have normal to longer focal lengths, because those are easier to optically correct (also for flatness of field, in case reproductions are the goal), and because that leaves some working space in front of the lens (also useful for more frontal lighting).

I've found that the Canon TS-E 24mm II also allows to be used very close-up and personal (although leaving very little working space). The interesting thing about a wide-angle macro lens is that it allows to show a subject in its natural surroundings. The short focal length forces to shoot from a short distance to get enough magnification of the main subject, and it also has the effect to shrink the size of background features and the larger DOF retains some more background detail instead of total blur. The Tilt functionality is obviously very useful to gain more control over placement of the plane of optimal focus.

Attached 4 small examples, just a test to show the effect and detail/DOF. First an overview that shows how much context can be given to a subject and a crop of the in-focus detail. Next an example of the addition of tilt, and an animated example of the level of detail versus background blur at f/11 and f/16 (which loses some detail to diffraction).

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 03:10:23 PM by BartvanderWolf »
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2013, 02:16:59 AM »

Many thanks, Bart. I need to spend some more time seeing how close I can get with my wide t/s lens. Indoors is a good place to start investigations. I have some matchboxes. :)

I did try the wide lens on this subject, but it seemed to produce too much of the midground rock in this particular case. But every case is different.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2013, 03:35:06 AM »

Many thanks, Bart. I need to spend some more time seeing how close I can get with my wide t/s lens. Indoors is a good place to start investigations. I have some matchboxes. :)

Hi Scott,

Always handy, as they don't scratch the front lens surface when you bump into the subject at close distance ;) .

Quote
I did try the wide lens on this subject, but it seemed to produce too much of the midground rock in this particular case. But every case is different.

Indeed, it exaggerates perspective because a subject in the center of image is so close and the rest of the world is relatively far away, but still in somewhat of a recognizable focus. Also the subjects at the edge can seem to be apparently stretched, due to projection distortion on a flat sensor plane, but that can help some subjects to draw the attention towards the more central features. Like all lens choices, one has to be selective and 'match' it with the subject.

Cheers,
Bart
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wolfnowl

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 04:46:51 AM »

Scott - have you considered either macro lenses (filters) or extension tubes for your existing 100mm lens?

Mike.
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2013, 07:01:18 AM »

Scott - have you considered either macro lenses (filters) or extension tubes for your existing 100mm lens?

Mike.

Hi Mike,

Hmmm... this might work: thank you. The lens is a 24-105 mm zoom. The manual says an extension tube will decrease the minimum focusing distance from 450 to 177 mm at 24 mm focal length.

Anyone tried this? Extension tubes on wide-angle lenses? I know the last time I looked into it there are limits, but going from 450 to 177 mm sounds good.

framah

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2013, 09:50:10 AM »

How about using a tele photo lens and zoom in on it. Step back about 8 to 10 feet and then fill the lens with the flower. I've done that often when shooting mushrooms.
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Rand47

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2013, 05:56:21 PM »

Quote
Any suggestions? Thanks!

Yup!  Leave it alone... lovely image.  The context provided by the framing emphasizes the little flower's tenuous grasp on existence.

Rand
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 04:01:41 PM »

Framah -- yes, that's where I was headed with the posted example shot at around 100 mm. Guess I can try longer as the scene dictates.

Rand: thanks!!

pluton

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 12:38:27 AM »

Sometimes you can find a wide angle prime lens that focuses unusually close;  the Nikon 28mm/2.8 Ais comes to mind.
Front supplementary plus diopter lenses generally are weak with wide lenses, and tend to wipe out sharpness at the sides of the frame, even with the prime lens stopped down.
Extension tubes work with wide angle prime lenses fairly reliably, but with one caveat: the wider the lens, the thinner the extension tube is required.  When you get  down to 28/24/20mm, the required extension often becomes smaller than any available tube. 
Zooms add an additional issue:  extending a zoom throws off the calculations the designers made to keep zoom and focus controlled, and the result can be a situation where you end up using the zoom ring to set focus...crazy, eh? 
As has been mentioned , the 24mm tilt shift lenses, from both Canon and Nikon(and Samyang?) focus exceptionally close.
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graeme

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 10:13:31 PM »

Yup!  Leave it alone... lovely image.  The context provided by the framing emphasizes the little flower's tenuous grasp on existence.

Rand

+1
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sdwilsonsct

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2013, 02:48:12 AM »

As has been mentioned , the 24mm tilt shift lenses, from both Canon and Nikon(and Samyang?) focus exceptionally close.

Yes, this has its place. Here's one from the weekend taken with a 17 mm t-s. I'm reasonably happy with the "plant in its context" result.

And thanks, Graeme.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Nonmacro macro
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 06:39:18 AM »

Yes, this has its place. Here's one from the weekend taken with a 17 mm t-s. I'm reasonably happy with the "plant in its context" result.

Hi Scott,

That's a good example. The main object has prominent magnification, and the angle-of-view and Depth of Field pull in a lot of information about the surroundings.

It must have been scary though, getting so close (~5 inches? at minimum focusing distance) to the subject with the protruding front lens surface ..., although you shot this one from a bit further away, it seems.

Cheers,
Bart
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