Free Choice: Macro

This weekend’s assignment was free choice. I thought I’d give macro a try–without a macro lens, that is.

I googled “macro photography without a macro lens” and looked at a couple articles. One that I found useful was from here.

So, I detached my lens and flipped it around. I started taking pictures, but then…


…it turned out completely black. I kept trying, turning down the shutter speed and even holding the lens out a little bit to maybe let light in.


Holding the lens out and turning down the shutter speed got me here. So, it wasn’t what I was looking for but there was at least some light now.

I didn’t even think about the ISO settings until after asking the teacher what I was doing wrong.

So, right there in class I tried again. I cranked the ISO up to 800, but it was still a little dark.

macro try 2-1

Then I tried 6400, and I started to notice that there was some color/light but I couldn’t make out any shapes or anything. The shutter speed was 1/13 of a second.

macro try 2-2

Here, I turned the ISO all the way to 12,800. The shutter speed was 1/8 of a second. Since I didn’t take a normal picture of it, to someone else this may not look like anything. But to me, I can start to see some of the subject (it’s a Day of the Dead pin that I have on my camera bag).

Then, when I got home I decided to try with the pin again…

macro home-1

This picture isn’t crystal clear, but this is a huge step forward in improvement.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/15 of a second

This is when I started to figure things out. I had already taken off my lens, and turned the focus ring all the way to the left. Then, I tried zooming all the way out. Next, I held the lens tightly to the camera body. I turned the ISO up pretty high, and the shutter speed was low. To focus, you have to step forward or backward. That’s probably the trickiest part.

macro home-2

(Here is what it looks like with the lens attached normally)

macro home-3

Next, I tried with this little bug. I was able to get pretty close. I think it looks pretty good, it could be better but it’s good.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/20 of a second

macro home-6

(This is what it looks like.)

macro home-5

Next, I tried this little Thorin figure. Originally, the picture looked like there was a bunch of smoke around. That’s because I wasn’t holding the lens as tight as I possibly could to the camera body. So, I tried to fix it in Lightroom but it didn’t work like I wanted it to.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/25 of a second

macro home-4

It was a little better with this Bilbo figure, I had the lens nice and snug on the camera body. It didn’t look smokey at all, and I think that this one is pretty clear.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/25 of a second

macro home-8

I had the lighting problem with the dinosaur here. I held the lens a little bit out on purpose, actually, to see the results. I didn’t bother trying to fix it in Lightroom so that I could compare.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/25 of a second

macro home-9

Here, I didn’t leave any room between the camera and lens. The clarity isn’t great, but you can see how it looks different when the lens is held away from the camera vs. up close.


-ISO: 6400

-SHUTTER: 1/25 of a second

macro home-7

Here was the set up when I was taking these pictures (and no, Bilbo is not in focus. I see that now).

The thing that I like about macro is that it shows you all the little details that you wouldn’t have noticed before. For example, I had no idea that the paint was wearing away on these little figurines. I hadn’t noticed how the little spider guy was painted before. Macro was my favorite when I had a point and shoot, so I’m glad that I finally got to try it out with my SLR.



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