Sunday, September 12, 2010

CoffeeShop Tutorial: Nifty Fifty Macro!

If you have been following my blog for some time you realize that I am a bit frugal. And I honestly believe if you are shooting for yourself (and not a professional high-output photographer) you can capture beautiful images with simple inexpensive equipment, as long as you understand the basics of photography. 

Right now I shoot with an old beat-up Canon Rebel XT. Yes, it even has some cracks in the body by the shutter-button. But it still works (it was my first digital camera) so I haven't the heart or the money to replace it. My favorite lenses are my Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and Nifty Fifty. The 28-135mm lens I have had for years and years and used it originally on my Canon Elan (a film camera). I have had the nifty fifty for over two years and it is still working flawlessly.

I honestly have a passion for photography and I am constantly playing with my camera.  So imagine how excited I was to find this great tutorial on Photojojo.  I have always wanted to do some macro photography but didn't want to invest in another lens.  So imagine how thrilled I was that I could just simply take off my $100 nifty fifty, turn it around, and hand-hold it on  my camera and shoot decent macro shots! 

This was one of my first images I photographed. I was focusing on the metal thing and this ant happened to run by and I managed to capture it.  It was 100% luck, but  I love this image.  I especially love the soft bokeh
and the little tiny highlighted hairs on the ant's metasoma (I had to look this up). 

You can use any lens to shoot macro.  I had my camara in manual mode and adjusted the ISO and exposure until the images looked properly exposed in my camera.  I love the shallow-depth-of-field (I shot with a wide aperture).  You can't auto-focus, you just move in until your subject is sharp.  And for every focused image I would have five images that were fuzzy because of movement (mine or my subject due to wind).

I am a macro-addict now.  I could not stop taking photos.  I know I won't get the sharp results of a real micro lens, but I actually love the "arty" images I was able to capture. You can see a small sample of my work below.


From top right: army guy, cicada, pressure setting on a sprinkler, metal thing on post for barbed wire, flower, end of metal toy shovel, rainbow scarab, wooden blocks, mushroom, berries, bark, toy gun, metal screen, flower, army guy, ant

27 comments:

  1. I'm still trying to figure out how to shoot my Sony with the lens off to try freelensing - you need to try that next - gorgeous artsy!! For some reason with a Sony it won't let users shoot without the lens on, no way to override - I thought I read something about using a piece of puddy somewhere but not exactly sure where? Anyway, these look really cool!! Fits my budget ;)

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  2. Wow! I really LOVE your micro shots! They are so artistic! I am super excited to try it!
    Also, I am new to your blog and I just want to say "Thank You" for all of the awesome tutorials and actions! You are so generous and sweet!
    I am not new to photography or editing in photoshop, but I love your stuff!

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  3. thank you for sharing this..great photos & I love micro:)

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  4. I saw this on Photojojo, too, and tried to recreate it. What a bummer that my Nikon d40 won't let me shoot without the lens on! I wonder if I'm doing something wrong....any ideas?

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  5. I love playing with this method and have tried it quite a few times, but when I mentioned it on one forum a few people freaked out a little and warned about wrecking the lens, getting dust in the camera body or on the sensor.

    All valid points I guess, and a good reason to be careful - but I would rather use what I have on hand, regardless.

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  6. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  7. You mean *macro* photography?

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  8. Oops, micro corrected to macro! Too many years of staring down a microscope caused that unfortunate typo!

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  9. Cool, Rita! I'm excited to try this. I do have a macro for my Nikon, but another thing to try, yes please!

    And the terms Micro and Macro are inter-changeable. My Nikon 105mm f/2.8G says Micro on the lens. Just fyi - you are right both ways. :)

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  10. Wow! I will have to try that!! Great shots.

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  11. Very cool photos!! I'm addicted to macro as well!

    I tried turning the lens around and almost dropped the lens and camera - I'm such a klutz. So, I haven't tried it again. I might give it a go, though, maybe on a soft surface.

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  12. Way to go! Your images are wonderful and your sense of exploration is inspiring! Now I'm tempted to try this, too, although just in reading the tutorials, it sounded overwhelming to me. Thanks so much for all you share. I really love the army man shots!

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  13. I do the same "ghetto macro" technique with my 18-55 kit lens and nifty fifty. I've tried it with a few of my other lenses too, I can get super magnified with longer zooms! I LOVE macro and someday would love to buy a macro lens but until then the ghetto technique is working.

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  14. Wow! Great shots! I'm usually not a commenter but have followed your blog for a little while. You rock--love the tutorials and actions! Thanks so much for that and this tutorial--can't wait to try it!

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  15. You can buy an attachment called a reversing ring that fits on the filter thread of the lens and the body of the camera. This removes the problem of dropping the lens and may also solve the problem one of your readers has with the camera not taking an image.

    Oh and thanks again for your amazing actions I love them!
    Julian
    www.jjportraits.co.uk

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  16. So cool, Rita! Thanks for sharing. I had seen these types of tutorials before but had never attempted trying. Thanks for the inspiration, now I have one more thing on my to-do list!! :)

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  17. I saw that post too, but breezed right by it. But now that I've seen what fun things can be done, I think I will give it a try. I love the name "ghetto macro". Thanks for the inspiration.

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  18. Amazing, I like macro. Your photos are very good, I think. (:

    Greetings from
    http://www.mazeofillusion.blogspot.com/

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  19. I use the macro setting on my camera and a zoom lense. zoom all the way out and get close. The detail I got on some tiny hand-painted-under-a-magnifying-glass figures was amazing.

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  20. I love macro photography. I have gotten some pretty decent images with my 18-55mm kit lens, but I usually have to switch it to manual focus to do it.

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  21. Hey Rita I have been an absolute Macro junkie since I started shooting a couple of years back. First I just got up rally close then I was able to purchase through Ebay really cheaply a macro lens, it isn't super macro but it is great. So I have taken hundreds and hundreds of macro shots, I love love love the macro effect. I even have a magic macro set on my flickr, so I am sold and yours are great. Have fun experimenting

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  22. Rita. Amy (Artistically Amy) and I have been shooting macros in a similar fashion, using an overhead projector lens in front of my 18-135. It really works nicely at 135mm, and gives an unusual effect as in your shots. I have never tried turning around my lens, but as others have mentioned, my Nikon will not fire without the lens on, so the OHP lens is a nice alternative. Jeff

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  23. I'm going to have to take my 50mm and try this!!! Love the shots you got.

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  24. @Beth - I have the D60 which is very similar to your camera and it can be done. Just be sure you have the camera setting to M, set shutter speed with your thumb dial and aperture on the lens itself (this is assuming you're using a lens with an aperture ring).

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  25. Cool! I also have a Nikon..so...but would like to find the attachment that will allow this, another person commented with that info. Your macros are great1

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  26. Has anyone tried this with an XTi? I took my lens off and turned it around. The image was totally blurry. Anyone else figure this out??
    Thanks,

    Lisa

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