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Old Apr 29, 2006, 6:48 PM   #1
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As summer approaches I have been wanting to get out and take advantage of some of the beautiful parks in the area. In regards to taking closeup pictures of flowers, what tips or advice are there for doing so without macro lenses?

My equipment consists of a Canon Rebel XT w/ kit lense (18-55mm, f/3.5-5.6).

I should probably read into and take advantage of the different types of metering; I haven't really explored that avenue yet.
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Old Apr 29, 2006, 10:28 PM   #2
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Your options are pretty limited. You can't get any closer than the closest focus of the lens will allow. I don't know how close that you can get, but you might have to go more for groupings of flowers than single specimens -- unless there are some big flowers thereabouts.

If you want to get closer, there are close-up attachments that you can screw onto the lens like a filter, but I can't comment on the image quality you get with these. There's also a reversing ring. This lets you attach your lens "backwards" and can give quality close-ups. Again, having used one, I don't know the level of magnification offered or whether you can hand-hold the camera or need to use a tripod. Also, I think that you have to use only manual, stopped-down metering so that you won't be able to have a bright viewfinder at all apertures like you're used to.

Try out some light fill flash in really contrasty scenes. If you can get close enough that butterflies or other bugs can highlight a shot, a tripod is helpful. If there's a group of flowers that you want to shoot and there are some butterflies near the grouping, you can set up the shot on a tripod and get the focus, composition, etc., pre-set so that when the butterfly gets into the right spot, all you have to do is trip the shutter. It beats squinting through the viewfinder or keeping an eye on a battery-draining lcd screen while you silently coach the butterfly to "come on, come on!"

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 12:51 PM   #3
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There is a third approach that has been missed.
Extention tubes. They are not cheap, but they are way cheaper than a real macro lens.
They do nothing other than reduce the close focusing distance of a lens. For example, I have a 100-400 lens that works very well as a macro lens (not "amazing", but "very well) with extention tubes. They are trivial to use, especially with a zoom.

You might want to look into a reflector, either buying or building.
They reflect the natural light to where you want it, like under the pedles. They work very well, but they can be tricket to setup (because you need to prop them up or get some kind of stand.) I would also recommend a remote shutter release. It can be very tiring to be standing at the ready, finger on the shutter, waiting for the wind to stop moving the subject.

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 2:45 PM   #4
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There is a 4th way...although not something I would always recommend but is still fun for experimenting. I learnt this when I was about 14 (in 1981).

This shot (of your name on the screen)took less than a minute and I used the 18-55 EFS kit lens you mention on the EOS 5D! I know it doesnt fit but you simply take the lens off, turn it round and hold it to the camera.

This shot was taken handheld, very quickly, 60th sec, no aperture obviously and at ISO 800.

Not bad for an experiment and you really do get some extreme close ups with it. I think my first ever photo was of a worm using this method!



If fact, I enjoyed that so much, the second shot is of my wifes eye using the same method exactly. No focussing so you just move in and out until it is sharp and shoot! Bounced flash too....Hohoho! What fun!

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 2:46 PM   #5
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