Nature Photography, Macro  Series

Boston Nature Center

Eduardo del Solar


This workshop will be structured for taking close up or macro images of flowers and insects (or still close ups at home).  Generally speaking macro photography is defined as close up shots of small objects that are made larger than life as a result of using a true macro lens or one with macro or close up capabilities.  While true macro lenses are great to have, close -up tubes can also take a normal lens and give it macro capabilities.


Close-up tubes

For those that do not have a macro lens, close up tubes are a very useful and inexpensive way to get close to your subject.

Close up tubes are hollow tubes, no glass in them, that allow for closer focusing.  You must buy one that fits your camera mount and it will fit all your lenses. There are two flavors to these tubes: (THESE ARE FOR A CANON MOUNT ONLY)

Manual. They have no autofocus, do not record exif data. About $15 at Amazon

Autofocus. With electrical connects to record all exif data, about $50 at amazon



Given the close distance from camera to object in macro photography usually we use large F stops like F8 to F13 to capture depth of field, sometimes even F22.  What this means is that macro photography, requires more light that other types of photography.  Thus a flash and tripods are usually required.  In addition to the regular dedicated flashes we use there are two macro flashes to consider: ring light flashes and dual light flashes.  Ring light flashes are a great budget introduction device, dual light flshes are a bit more money.  See links below for further reading:



Practical Suggestions to those wanting to improve their image taking.


1.    Make sure your images are technically correct: exposure, white balance, focus point, etc.

2.    Learn the operations of your camera, know your manual.

3.    Shoot in RAW and learn to develop your images.

4.    Learn what light is from a photographic point and use it to your advantage.  The histogram, including levels and curves, is your friend.

5.    Composition, or image making, rather than image taking, is a learning process that can be mastered.

6.     Shoot, shoot and shoot some more using all these steps.




Intro reading to understanding light

Camera vs eye articles.

Which is the winner?  Mr. Clark states the eye is a sensor with 324 megapixels, best present cameras are limited to about 30 megapixels.  Mr. Hughes claims the eye can have a dynamic range of 24 F stops while cameras are limited to about 8.   Read the suggestions at end of Cambridge in Colour article on how we may overcome these disparities.





What is a histogram and how do we use it?  This is a very detailed introduction to histograms, the best friend a photographer can have.  During the film era we used the Zone System, today digital cameras and all our software relies on it.  Learn how to use it in camera and during image developing to your advantage!  Levels and curves will improve your images, find why.



A few articles to read, from Gloria Hopkin’s:

1.    Composition: Getting Beyond the Snapshot

2.    Composition II: Composition in Nature Photography and the Elements of a Photograph

3.    Composition III: Composition in Nature Photography and the Elements of a Photograph

4.    Breaking all the Rules!

5.    More composition articles


Books on Composition

Photography and the Art of Seeing:  A Visual Perception Workshop for Film and Digital Photography, by Freeman Patterson



Free RAW converter



Camera Filters : Polarizers, Neutral Density and Graduated Density Filters

Neutral Density filters


Graduated Density Filters





RAW image

Specular Light

Zone System



Photographic Curve

Exposure Compensation