Shetland Horticultural Society

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I recently spent a few hours with the Shetland Horticultural Society offering some advice about macro (close-up) photography.

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The first hour was spent inside the Islesburgh Community Centre going over some of the fundamental points that would improve their macro photographs; some technique-based and some settings-based.

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We then took a short walk over to the Flower Park so members could put their new knowledge and skills into practice.

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It was so rewarding to see members’ reactions when they quickly started to ‘get it’ resulting in improved results!

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One of my tips was to encourage photographers to go wide with their zoom then move physically up close to the subject, as your camera’s minimum focusing point is at the widest angle.  

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Whether you’re using a digital compact or all-singing, all-dancing digital SLR, the principles are the same. 

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Good camera technique on display here with the left hand providing a solid base increasing the chances of a sharp picture when the shutter is released.

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The pictures below were taken using a special lens dedicated to macro photography which I was demonstrating during the session – the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC Macro Lens link.

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Due to the Tamron’s focal length, it allows the photographer to be far enough away without casting a shadow on the subject, whilst close enough to get a life size (1:1 ratio) photograph.

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However, you don’t necessarily need high-end equipment to get acceptable results.  Members were taking my advice on board and getting great results with their digital compact, digital bridge and digital SLR cameras.

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As a young whippersnapper (!), I wanted to photograph absolutely everything.  I always enjoyed walking over to the late Maggie Ann’s greenhouse in Bigton to photograph her vast array of flowers – the range of colours were amazing.  I’ll need to look out my negatives and feature these on a future post.

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Depth of field is very limited when doing macro photography so there is no room for error with your focusing.

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Thank you to everyone at Shetland Horticultural Society for making me feel so welcome and taking on board my practical tips and tricks to improve macro photography.  The tea and homebakes afterwards were outstanding!  All in all a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

-Ben

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