On the other end of the lens spectrum from the 500mm telephotos and converters that I use most of the time, are the macro lenses, enabling close up work of the smaller animals found around us.
Getting this close gives a new perspective on a hidden habitat and also emphasizes the fact that scale is very much something that is centered around our perspective of the world. We may class the frog as a ‘small’ amphibian, this one imaged here is less than an inch in size, yet to an unsuspecting invertebrate it must appear a little like the Jurassic Park dinosaurs did to Dr. Alan Grant!
These images have been taken with the Nikon DSLR using an AF Micro Nikkor 105mm 1:2.8 lens and The Canon G10. The Common Toad and the Common Frog with the G10 , the rest with the DSLR. Depth of field is always going to be an issue with this sort of close up work, but it can be used to great effect, isolating the animals against the background and sometimes against themselves. Most of the time the eye is the crucial part to keep sharp, it’s much the same in portraiture of any kind, as it’s the first area that our eye moves to when scanning such images.
Sun can cause problems when coming in this close as the shadow created by the camera often falls on the subject itself. Far better is the overcast sky that produces a beautiful constant and even illumination and no shadows!
Approaching with extreme care, slowly and with no sharp movements is also key to success with macro work, any sharp movements and your subject will be off and rather than trying to focus by using the lens ring it is better to rack the lens fully out and move yourself in and out with a slight rocking motion, this will also ensure you gain the maximum magnification.