Photography Project: Photographing Super Close

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“Why is there a weed in the kitchen?” Peter asks with that worried tone that indicates he’s either afraid it will contaminate our food, or something worse, that I am trying to figure out how to incorporate it into our new Vegan diet.  I recently used a gift certificate to become the new owner of Canon’s 65mm Macro lens.  This has to be the most challenging piece of equipment I own.  Born with a stubborn streak that rivals that of a two-year old, and not one to quit easily, I have spent the better part of the last week fighting to conquer it.  The lens appears to be winning.

This lens is a true macro and has the ability to photograph a subject at 5 times it’s normal size – a grain of rice can take up the entire image (at least that’s what they say).  It does not have a focusing ring, you focus by moving the camera (or the object) back and forth until it becomes sharp. The real challenge is that the range of sharpness is minute and can be lost with the tiniest shift.  To add insult to injury, the lens itself is very sharp and will pick up every spec of dust on your sensor.

So I placed the dandelion near a window.  I did not shoot directly into the window, but rather at an angle so I would not have a silhouette.  I put my camera on a tripod with focusing rails, and then focused by adjusting the rails.  Live View was essential.

Here a couple of images.  I have committed to learning how to use this lens (rather than sending it back), and will probably spend time with it everyday until I feel like I can use it with some level of confidence.  Right now, I suspect I’d have more luck fixing dandelion flowers for dinner and getting Peter to eat them,  than taking a full-frame picture of a grain of rice.

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