Macro

The Common Kitchen Sponge (Two Photographs)

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I was pretty sure that the sponge would make for an interesting subject. I did not realize it would be so fluid. Only about one in three tries at this level of magnification work out. In some cases I have taken a hundred shots on an educated guess of the outcome with mixed results.


Photography is an Art Form (Two Photographs)

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I am a firm believer that photography is an art form and that you can be very creative in this medium. It’s one of the reasons I decided to try extreme macro, the abstracts and designs are endless. In this case an old tape measure.


Statue by Silas Qayaqjuaq (Two Photographs)

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I have long admired Silas’s work and it’s as fine up close as sitting on the table in our living room. His sculptures are often small but very animated, really beautiful work. I used this piece to experiment with lighting and my bellows (totally manual). The full sculpture is below.


Needles and Chilis To Beat the Pandemic Boredom (Two Photographs)b

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My efforts at true macro continue, finding subjects to photograph can be challenging. I began by pinning the chili to cork so it was held in mid air. After several hours of fiddling with lights I got a shot of the chili, and then more time was spent in Photoshop erasing the pins and learning more about how to fix backgrounds. The needle also took the larger part of the day. I have great close up vision but had a hard time seeing the hole in the needle to centre it on the camera. Both of these photographs are efforts at learning what works and doesn’t in true macro. It’s early days.

 


Macro Talk (Two Photographs)

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The colour shot is part of a petal of a flower at about 4x life. The other, in black and white, is a rock (a black and white rock), again magnified by quite a bit through stacking tens of shots. The results are quite abstract and bring to mind a comment a friend of mine made when I first spoke of trying true macro. He pointed out that most macro shots need explanation, few subjects will be self evident to the average viewer. But in my view beauty is beauty, interesting is interesting, even if at first I have no idea what it is (by definition abstract).


Brass Measuring Weights (Three Photographs)

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These are 3.5x life, just to make them interesting. The third photo here shows their size against a quarter. American and Canadian quarters are the same size. There is no history to the one ounce weight (Z), (above) but the second one I can date to between 1858 and 1901, with a high probability of 1901. Unfortunately it was officially cancelled and the cancellation stamp makes it hard to place. The 1/4 ounce weight (third photo) has clear marks on it. What you are looking at is the VR and the crown, the piece dates from Queen Victoria’s reign and was stamped under the Weights and Measures Act of 1858 in London. I was not aware there were collectors of weights and a wealth of material on British weights on line. Its amazing where photography takes you.


Macro Gear

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My preferred gear, for many years, when shooting insects was my Nikon, a 105mm macro lens, an extension and a soft box on camera with flash. This worked well for insects in the wild. But I rarely if ever took photos at life size 1:1. During the pandemic I am avoiding the parks, too many people. From previous experiments I had an original Nikon bellows, and a really good 50mm Nikon enlarger lens (recommended by http://extreme-macro.co.uk/) but I had a hard time getting good results with that and a generic focusing rail. It was clear I needed to find another way. The photo here is of a small part of a candy wrapper . My new set up has the bellows automated on a macro rail (wemacro rail and stand). That and some specialized software looks much more promising.

 


Macro

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This seashell was taken with stacked shots at larger than life size. There are three types of macro: 1) pseudo macro, what most of us call macro but is really close-up photography. It seldom if ever gets to life size shots. 2) Macro, the real thing, This results in photos where small things are larger than life (e.g. over 1:1), and then there is extreme macro where images are 5 times life or more. This photo is are over 1:1, less than a centimetre of shell filling the frame (cropping does not change magnification). It’s a project to help avoid boredom during the pandemic. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I have had many failures and still working for the best results.

 


How much magnification? (Two Photographs)

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I am told that to get to 10x life size, a microscope and loan from the Government is required. 3-5x life size is a fairly good extreme to begin with. My bellows with a 50mm enlarger lens, and a 24mm extension tube can manage about 4:1. To get some context, here are details of Canadian and US dimes. Specifically the Queen’s profile and Roosevelt’s ear.