If you are like me, you are interested in macro purely for the fun. I love taking super close up shots of the stippling on money, or the texture of different foods and materials, but it's not like my business has much of a use for it. Besides the occasional macro shot of jewelry, I rarely use my macro filters. Another point I should make is that with macro filters you are limited to how much magnification you can achieve. But if you aren't planning on becoming a professional macro photographer, spending a few grand on a nice macro lens seems silly. However, if I come across some spare change, I'd love to be able to take photos of the screen texture of a dragonfly's eye...so maybe it's not too silly.
So let's talk macro filters. There are several brands which offer different magnifications and most come in sets. I have tried Newer and Vivitar, and in my opinion the Vivitar are better made. The threading on my Newer filters seem to stick more often. I keep my macro filters in a mesh folder for their protection, and to save space in my camera bag. You can purchase the Vivitar four pack of macro filters on amazon for next to nothing. It comes with 1x, 2x, 4x, and 10x.
The thing I like about purchasing a set rather then single filters is the stacking ability. You wouldn't really need a 1x or 2x by themselves, because it doesn't really allow you to get any closer with you camera and that is, after all, the goal of macro photography. To fill the frame with a detailed, up close image that can't be achieved with a regular lenses, because distance between the subject and the camera is vital to focusing. Back to stacking. It's really just simple math, if you find that a 10x is too strong and a 4x isn't strong enough you can split the difference by stacking a 4x and a 2x together to for a 6x.
Since we are going to be shooting in extremely close proximity to our subject, not much of a workspace is needed. For today's shoot I simply propped a chalkboard on top of a stool in front of a window in my kitchen, using an adjacent white door to reflect light from the side. I like to use my chalkboard as a base for a lot of my macro photography for it's matte appearance. You can use just about anything big enough to fill the frame.
I gathered some small trinkets and food items around our house for this example. Some neat things to start with are money, raw vegetables, flowers, and water droplets. You might want to use a tripod if you are worried about not having a steady hand. Your point of focus will be very small and any tiny fluctuation in distance can affect your photo's focal point.
Once you set up your workspace and decide how close you want to get to your subject, pop the appropriate filter(s) on and start snapping! If you are having trouble focusing, get closer! Slowly pull away from the subject until the image start to focus, then tweak from there. ALSO** I have found that these macro filters only work on fixed lens.
This photo was taken with a 35mm lens without any macro filters attached.
This photo was taken with a 35mm lens with a 1x macro filter attached.
This photo was taken with a 35mm lens with a 2x macro filter attached.
This photo was taken with a 35mm lens with a 4x macro filter attached.
This photo was taken with a 35mm lens with a 10x macro filter attached.
Here's a few more of my quickie shots from today.
There are several ways to create burning filament photos, but the most important thing is to break the vacuum seal without damaging the filament. You can tap a crack, drill a hole, or break all the glass using a plastic bag. Keep in mind that the more air allowed in, the faster the filament will burn out.
You need an electric source you can turn on and off. You can use a lamp or you can pick up these little plug in sockets at most hardware store for about $2 each. Plug the socket into a power strip with an on/off switch so you can better control your timing.