Jura Photography

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Adventures in Macro Photography

As my photography and my business has developed over the last few months, I've noticed some gaps in my photography equipment, so I've taken the opportunity recently to invest in some new lenses, to extend the range of projects I can work on. In this post, I'm going to cover my new Nikon 105mm 2.8 Micro lens. This is a really versatile lens, which has two main purposes: one is to allow you to get very close to a subject, known as macro photography. Micro is the Nikon designation for macro and this type of photography has many different uses, from close up wildlife, to flowers, to food and so on, which is my primary reason for buying this lens. The second use, is as a portrait lens, where the 105mm focal length and 2.8 aperture is a fantastic combination. I can also use this in my event photography, so it is a really versatile lens to add to my bag.

In reviewing and preparing for one of my upcoming assignments, which will involve an element of food photography, looking at my current set of lenses, I didn't feel I had a good option. This lens allows me to focus as close up as 30cm at 105mm, so on my Nikon D750 - a full frame camera, I can literally fill my entire frame with a small spider, fly or bee, in full sharpness.

I took some time over the weekend to practice with the macro capabilities, starting with all the flowers and insects in my back garden. It was fantastic to be able to pick out details and notice things I've never stopped to think about before, such as the pollen from a flower sticking to the back of a bee, or to be able to see the fine lines on the wings or the hair on its back.

In terms of using the lens, one thing I have noticed is that when shooting really close up, using large apertures (4.5 and less) creates challenges of maintaining sharpness of the image, beyond simple focusing issues. In non-macro up photography, using an aperture of 2.8, 1.8 or even 1.4, helps to separate a subject from their background, with the blurring of the background effect called bokeh. With macro photography, the smallest difference in focal plane is amplified, meaning that to shoot at f9, is visually similar to a non-macro situation of a much larger aperture. It took me a little while to figure this out, but it really helped when I did! 

I'm still finding new uses for the lens, and still learning about the best ways to use it but below are my first images with the the new lens. I would love your feedback and thoughts!

 A small flower shot at f4.5, 1/3200s, ISO 250. Notice how although the blur is pleasing, there is massive fall off in focus in such a short space.

A small flower shot at f4.5, 1/3200s, ISO 250. Notice how although the blur is pleasing, there is massive fall off in focus in such a short space.

 Some close ups of bees feeding on the flowers, it's amazing to pick out the small details in the wings or the hairs. All of these images were captured at an aperture of f9.

Some close ups of bees feeding on the flowers, it's amazing to pick out the small details in the wings or the hairs. All of these images were captured at an aperture of f9.

 My favourite shot of the series, I love the pollen on the hairs of a bee, my kids called this "pollen butt" and thought it was hilarious :) Again shot at f9.

My favourite shot of the series, I love the pollen on the hairs of a bee, my kids called this "pollen butt" and thought it was hilarious :) Again shot at f9.