Sunday, September 11, 2011

Extended Versions

       Did I mention I got a three-sectioned extension tube from that John guy who sold me his bag and tripod?  Yeah, I only heard about extension tubes and not really looked into it.  But it got me curious so I placed it on my camera.  During these times, I am getting more and more fond of the nifty-fifty lens (Canon 50mm 1.8 II) so it's what I attached to the tube.

       At first, I was wondering why everything was so darn blurry.  No matter where I point the camera, it's either totally black or just a cloud of blurry white.  At that time I was thinking "tele-converter" and not "extension tube".  So it's my fault for not reading.  It only came to me when I was about to set my camera down to check online, when I happen to glance at the viewfinder and saw a bit of detail.  That's when I realized that it takes to get close to see something.  OMG it's a MACRO!!! Yeah, that's what I exclaimed once I got the lens-tube combo to work.  It's awesome!  And I got really excited even by merely looking through the lens without thinking of taking shots...

       But then, came thinking about taking shots.  Now, honestly, I am not a fan of close-ups.  I'm just not.  It's about as common as sunsets, and I don't like common.  But macro is a different league.  I realize it now.  So I'm trying on taking shots of whatever I see.  It's night.  It's low-light.  I would have been glad with such setting if I was thinking about my regular night-shots.  But not this time.  I got my little flashlight to help me and I first chose a sleeping fly (or maybe dying, it's just not flying).  It didn't work out.  Next would be ants.  They move too fast.  Finally, I found a tiny spider.

       I'm gaining more and more respect for such photography.  Right at that time, I'm really struggling to get the focus just right.  With no control over aperture, I could only rely on whatever light is around the subject.  Nothing but an ordinary little spider.  I couldn't even just point and shoot.  No, it takes a lot to get just the right focus.  And then comes how bright it should be.  My nifty-fifty had to be so close, it's about to touch the spider.  It's already bothering the subject since the lens invaded its webbed space.  So the spider is all curled up and showing its belly now.  Not a good show but at this time, I'll take what I can get from it.  Needless to say, it was difficult and I got unimpressive macro shots.


       After downloading, tweaking, and adjusting the images, as much as I can, I was baffled how the other photographers do it.  Does it really take a true macro lens to get macro images?  I bet some of them use extension tubes.  But how do they get so much details?  So I googled "50mm + extension tubes".  I see some pictures as an example of this particular combo and I'm even more confused how they took it.  What bothered me most is how the focus point seems to be lateral instead of circular.  On regular lenses that aren't attached to an extension tube, a shallow Depth Of Field makes like a circular spot (on a two-dimensional image) of clear and well detailed part, while the rest the image outside the circle starts to blur.  On the pictures I've been taking, the DOF seems to be more linear.

Tiny bubbles?

       So I think it's time to open this up to DPP forums.  It took a while but I got a response.  It's so simple.  The answer is: use a telephoto lens!  Telephoto lenses help me keep a distance from the subject and just zoom in or out along with manually focusing.  That alone helped a lot!  It also helps me use my on-board flash, unlike the 50mm + extension tube combo where I need to get so close, it'll cast a shadow on the subject which makes it worse.  In addition, I got normal DOF now.  I still wonder why the other combination got such a weird result.  But I don't care anymore.

       I'm still not a fan of close-ups.  I usually take shots of them only when I have nothing else to do.  And mostly just to appeal to the masses.  They somehow like the commons.  So it's not really for me.  It's for them.  Macro, on the other hand, is lightyears more interesting.  And I'm looking for excuses to go shoot during daytime.  I love taking pictures at night.  But sometimes waking up with nothing to do during the day is unavoidable.  So I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, macro is the answer.

       But before I delve-in to this, and consider buying a dedicated macro lens, I have to ask the experts how they think of my intermediate macro shots.  I posted some on flickr.  But what I'm keen to hear from are the people of DPS.  Sometimes, the people of DPreview are way too advanced and a bit unforgiving towards beginners.  DPS people are more considerate.  And by that, I mean they at least take time to consider your status and advice in a gradual manner.  DPreview people more often compare your image to the professional level.  I guess that could be a good thing, but I'm trying to avoid the unending "triangle lecture" which seem to come up, every time an image is deemed "not professional enough."


My current favorite.

Spread your wings and stare!

Their current favorite. 

       Unfortunately, I'm not getting any response yet.  I see people viewing my thread, but no answers.  Not even from the guy who helped me from my first post.  It is a little bit annoying, but there's nothing much I can do about it.  It's been days now, and I feel like bumping the thread just to get noticed.  But I think it's really up to the DPS people if they want to help me with this or not.

       I guess it shouldn't deter me from taking macro shots (or any shots for that matter).  I'll try to come up with some other pictures next time.  Just when I'm in the mood or the subject just calls for it.

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