Where did the time go?
The last few months have been a non-stop twister. While my monthly blog posts languished, I was busy scouting interesting flowers and insects in my backyard. Respecting the advice of those far better at macro photography, a couple months ago, I purchased a Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens. If you do your research, you will hear people saying to avoid this lens if you have not shot macro before. People comment on the amount of patience you need to capture a good shot. There are even people that revel in not cropping their photographs, which is a subtle way of highlighting how skilled they are. Pick up any decent book on macro photography and you will read about the special support systems and need for a tripod. Search the web and you will find people talking about hand holding compensating with a decent flash system. The MP-E is a manual lens and unlike a zoom where focus can stay constant the duration of the focal range, this lens is best focused by selecting the desired magnification and then moving back and forth until the desired subject and composition are struck. It is to say the least the biggest departure from common photography.
Macro photography is exciting. There is an endless cast of characters everywhere. You end up training your eye to notice the smallest of specks that might contain a different world. Hand held shooting at higher magnifications takes every ounce of concentration and muscle control. It is very much like small-bore rifle competition where the scopes are often high-power fixed magnification and the target is all of a dot. All of the movement a competitor sees is real, but exaggerated. All the same preparation and breathing techniques apply to macro photography â€“ without them it is easy to see why this is a daunting venture.
I am not really an insect person. They do make for interesting subject matter. Insects are constructed so intricately and their behaviors and patterns are mesmerizing.Â Shots with the MP-E are done under 5 inches and often around 1.5 inches. That means any fears, skittishness or intolerance of bug bites need to be overcome. It is in its own way therapy for a somewhat irrational worldview.
If you are looking for a meditative escape that changes your perspective and forces you to deal with yourself, Canonâ€™s MP-E could be the answer.
Clicking on the image below will take you to a slideshow of my recent macro work. You will see my progression through my first four weeks and then two ventures outside my backyard in St. Lucia and Dayton, Ohio.