If you’re looking for an engaging hobby that gets you closer to nature or an opportunity for creative expression, macro photography may be a perfect fit. Macro photography is extremely close-up photography in which the image projected onto the sensor or film is as large or larger than the object being imaged. In other words it’s making things seem larger than life!
It’s challenging to get up-close and personal with the details of animals and plants. However, you can put yourself in the position to look up at a beetle or crawl into a flower through photographic equipment and techniques.
I interviewed library staffer and macro photographer Scott Brackey to learn more about this fascinating, rewarding pursuit.
Brackey said he had always been interested in nature photography. But the weather and light conditions, amount of equipment and distance to locations kept him from getting many of the images he wanted.
“I always admired the images macro photographers were able to capture,” Brackey said. “The range of possible subjects meant I was not always at the mercy of Mother Nature.”
Embracing a New Skill
Brackey found most of the information and equipment online using forums, YouTube and other online tutorials. He discovered others had already asked most of his questions about the process and equipment. So the answers were waiting for him online. Although there are many types of equipment you can use to get the necessary magnification, he found a Nikon 60mm 2.8 lens at a reasonable price. Brackey added it to his existing camera and just started playing around.
As for his favorite subjects, Brackey said, “Insects! They may not be the easiest subjects … but imaging them brings me joy. … They are marvelous in their diversity, complexity and adaptability. More to the point they look fabulous under a macro lens. With compound eyes, iridescent exoskeletons and fine anatomy one comes to appreciate and even cherish insects when viewing them eye to eye, so to speak.”
Brackey said the most satisfying thing about macro photography for him is, “Seeing the world from a new perspective.” He also enjoys getting out in nature and the opportunity macro gives him to discover things he would not otherwise have noticed.
Check out these books on close-up photography.