This shoot begins with an ordering accident online. I was shopping the sales at some of my favorite online store and came across this sweet little red jacket on sale for ninety percent off! I guess I was so excited about the deal I completely read over the details where it mentioned that it was a childs medium, not an adult. Naturally when it came in the mail and I realized my mistake I was super bummed. That is until I remembered that I know plenty of little girls that wear mediums. Shortly after I was sketching up some ideas for a shoot involving the jacket. Once I knew the look I wanted, I had the perfect little kiddo in mind. Lucky me, she was just as excited about it as I was!
It was a brisk 38 degrees the day everything came together allowing us to shoot. Zoie was a trooper through the whole 45min shoot without even one complaint! She not only rocked my socks off, she got two photos accepted by PhotoVogue Italia! I was so proud of her for pulling off this look with such ease! Plus she loved the jacket too, so it has a loving new owner and won't go to waste. Now that is what I call turning lemons into lemonade. Best happy accident ever!!
P.S. --> Wandering how I pulled of the magic trick in the first photo? Stay tuned...
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.
I've been wanting to create some little atom bomb look-a-likes for a while, but given the amount of broken glass and electricity involved, I decided I should let my husband, Daniel, do some man-supervision over this little project. If you decide you want to try this at home, be sure to wear protective goggles, and gloves at all times! We had a number of bulbs burst and pop after heating up. Safety first always!
You can use any bulbs that have filaments in them. Different shape and thickness can play a big part in your finished image. Be sure to choose transparent glass so you can see through to all the wonderful smoke and light on the inside. We chose the cheapest bulbs we could find in as many shapes as we could find for our first run. More is better! It took a few tries to get my camera set proper, and unexpected breakage is always a factor.
The key to this project is timing. Everything has to come together at just the right second to catch the smokey scene before the bulb bursts or the filament burns out. For this reason you will want to buy plenty so you have extras to experiment with. We purchased 18 bulbs all together and wished we had double that many when we finished.
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.
If you don't own a mono-light you can pick up these little plug in sockets at most hardware store for about $2 each. If you use this method, you might want to plug the socket into a power strip with an on/off switch so you can better control your timing. You can also use normal sockets, but then you have to worry about wiring and such. For our set up I used my reflector as a make shift backdrop by clamping it to one of Daniels work shelves. I placed my mono-light stand about a foot in front of it, and my tripod about a foot in front of my light. We plugged the mono-light into an extension cord and used a power strip to control the timing. Once you have drilled your holes, set up your shot, and configured your camera you are ready to go! Here are some of our favorite shots! **REMEMBER to set you ISO on 100 and your shutter speed high so you don't wash out your frame.
There is so much to do and see and photograph. How will we ever manage to capture it all?