Photography Project: Photographing Tulips with a Macro Lens

Macro image of edge of a tulip petal

A friend of ours brought over a pot of tulips, which I placed on the dining room table. A couple of days later, it occurred to me that I should pull out my nemesis, the Canon 65mm lens, and prepare to do battle. I have a love/hate relationship with this lens. It requires patience to use (of which I have very little), and the ability to see past the obvious. Below is a progression of images I made over the course of the week, that illustrates how I worked past the obvious into new territory. At the end of this post, I have also included a few images I made with my iphone. I often get asked how to take unique images with a mobile phone, so I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose images made with a DSLR and an iPhone.

The Setup: I positioned the flowers near a west facing window and made these images early in the day. The Canon 65mm lens can provide up to 5x magnification and does not have a focusing ring. It is almost impossible to use if the subject is moving, and if the camera is not on a tripod. I find it helpful to use focusing rails which allow me to make minute adjustments sliding the camera back and forth until I can achieve focus.

Macro setup with Really Right Stuff focusing rails

My first surprise was realizing that tulips have small bumps on their petals. As I started working the subject from typical to more abstract, and as the flowers started to die, I was able to push outside my comfort zone. My second surprise was how much more I enjoyed photographing the withered blooms than the fresh blooms.

Close up of tulip stamen and pistil
Underside of tulip flower
Tulip stamen peeking through petals
Abstract image of curl of tulip petal
Edge of withered tulip petal

iPhone Images: The following images I made with my iPhone and the Moment macro lens. I am a huge fan of taking macros on my iPhone with or without an additional macro lens. In these images you can get a feel for how close you can get to a subject with your mobile phone. Note: none of these images have been processed.

Closeup of tulip stamens and pistil made with iPhone and Moment Macro lens
Closeup of withered tulip petal made with iPhone and Moment Macro lens
Closeup of withered tulip petal made with iPhone and Moment Macro lens

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