Close enough but not too close: a simple macro photography hack
Photographer or not, it’s difficult not to pause when viewing a really good macro image.
Oftentimes,the first questions that comes to mind when viewing a product of macro photography is: “what is it?”. For me, it’s almost always followed by the “wow!!!”, “that’s incredible!!!”, “amazing!!!” and, moments later, by “how do they do that???”, “I want to do that!!!”and, of course, a random “he-he-he” at the end.
I see macro photography as it’s own entity within the photo world; as with all specialties, it requires years of practice and commitment, love for the subject and the usual amount of pain that comes with dedication. Therefore, I almost feel bad writing how I cheat with macro, but, I honestly disclose it as a hack; this approach to macro photography is purely experimental and the results are perfectly acceptable to me for their intended purposes (with allowable room for disagreements.)
All (99%) of my flower/fauna images are shot with my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. But, there IS a catch. It has a Hoya X 4 Macro filter attached! The filter reduces focal distance, allowing you to get much closer to the subject and capture small things with greater detail as well a whole new perspective.
I find the my Hoya X 4 Macro filter combined with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 a perfect companion for flower photography. These give me just enough distance to isolate distractions and the f/1.4 of my lens allows the added flexibility with light as well as creativity.
In no way do I think that a macro filter is an all-out alternative to dedicated macro lenses, but it is a very inexpensive and effective way to experience the world in a different way: the macro way. Beware though – macro photography is EXTREMELY addictive. And after my macro photography adventures I will be looking for a macro lens soon since the world of small things has a very firm grip on me that in my usual struggles against my photography gear wants, I find my fighting efforts more and more futile with every shot I take.