String Beans Up Close

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

With its emphasis on detail, pattern, and texture, macro photography can yield rewarding and unique results.  (Photographs shot with a DSRL Canon EOS Rebel T2i and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II prime lens.  A tripod was also used to stabilize the camera.)   Good Day. :-)

Broccoli Up Close

Photograph shot with a compact P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

I just can’t stop from viewing at macro pictures shot by professional photographers and trying to shoot my own.  Sometimes they are quite decent and sometimes they are only good for the waste basket.  But that’s the way we learn—practice, practice and more practice.  There’s a saying that I like, “Practice makes perfection” or “Success is 99 percent perspiration and one percent inspiration”.

In an effort to learn the ropes of the trade, I picked up a green leaf from my wife’s garden, placed it in a small transparent bowl, and filled it with water.  Then I accommodated it inside the freezer.  The goal was to take a close-up shot of the leaf semi-covered with a thin layer of ice.  The next morning I was ready with my minimalistic photography gear to take my immortal shots.  :-)

This is what came out of my two cameras, (e.g., the Canon DSLR EOS Rebel T2i and the Canon PowerShot A720 IS).  (Kindly click images to expand them.) Here we go.

I.  Pictures taken with a Canon DSLR T2i and a modest Vivitar macro lens

Notice the air bubbles on top of the layer of ice on the green leaf. I was surprised that the lens could pick up these minuscule air bubbles. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

To take this shot my wife held a diffused light ring above the leaf creating an effect of small glittering diamonds floating on the thin layer of ice. I liked the exposure. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

II.  Shots taken with a compact P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

I was amazed at the sharpness of the shot taken with such a small inexpensive compact camera. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

This is when I had just fetched the frozen bowl from the fridge’s freezer. Take notice of the frozen water with a crack and a thin layer of ice on the leaf. Then the ice slowly started to melt while I was taking the previous shots. It was a fun experience. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

We don’t have ice nor snow in Panama, so I had to create some to take wintertime shots.  Isn’t photography great?  You bet!  Good Day.

Snapshot of an Aloe vera plant taken with a DSLR camera and the “nifty-fifty” Canon prime lens. I love the soft bokeh in the background. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

In the background a man was walking with his dog. You can barely see their hazy silhouettes. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Black and white always adds drama to a picture. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

As you can appreciate in these pictures, close-up and macro photography is lots of fun.  Don’t you think so?  Good Day.

If you have followed my blog, you probably know that I have a great respect and admiration towards photographers.  I consider them to be our modern day historians, culture spreaders, artists, scientists, and what have you.  Lately I am dedicating a few hours a day studying the techniques and gear of close-up or macro photography.  What a macro lens is able to discover is absolutely amazing.  Creation is much more than what you can see with your naked eye.

Ideal subjects for photographing with close-up lens include portraits, flowers, and details.  I plan to use my close-up lenses for photographing details and flowers.  Shooting details offers a great way of capturing the spirit of a place or object.  With a close up lens you can get near enough to photograph a particular detail.   Life-size (1:1) magnification is not that difficult if you have the right tools and the proper skills to use them.  I’m working on both.

Yesterday morning I went out to my wife’s miniscule garden to take a few close-up picture of an Aloe vera plant with two of my cameras, (e.g., a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i and a P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS).  My goal was to test a new lens that I recently purchased from Amazon.  So far the results have been disappointing, but I’m still testing to see if I’m the problem, or the problem lies in the low quality of the macro lens.  I’m referring to the Vivitar 0.43x professional wide-angle lens with macro.  Yesterday I worked with the macro part which can be separated from the wide-angle lens.

Below are the results of both devices:

I.  DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 fixed lens and a Vivitar macro lens screwed on top

A close-up shot of one of the stems of an Aloe vera plant in our front yard. Notice the soft creamy bokeh on the background. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

My goal was to take a tack sharp picture of the plant. This was as sharp as I could get. Even though this was not my intention, the unexpected results looks pretty nice. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

II.  P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS

Everything in this shot is razor sharp. This was my goal when I decided to shoot this plant. Definitely this P&S baby is worth its salt. I’m happy. Notice a tiny insect on one of the stems of the plant. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

This exact image was in my head the evening before I took the shot. A tack sharp picture of an Aloe vera plant. Amazing! Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

If at the end of the day, the Vivitar macro lens doesn’t perform as advertised, no problem.  I can always depend on my P&S camera for decent results.  Of course I’m anxious to see how the Fujifilm X-30 will behave.  That’s another option under my sleeve.  Good Day.

Recently I received a replacement macro lens, since the original one Vivitar (0.43 professional wide-angle lens with macro) was flawed—the macro lens could not be unscrewed from the wide-angle lens.  Amazon did a wonderful job in taking care of the problem and sending a replacement unit.

As soon as I received it, I ensured it was in good shape.  It was.  The next step was to take pictures and analyze the results.  The test was to take a close-up shot of a hard disk drive.  I took one shot with my P&S Canon PowerShot A720 IS and another with the aforementioned lens.  The idea was to compare the quality of both images and determine the value of the new lens.

Below are two shots of the electronic spare part.  It’s easy to tell which camera came in first, and which came in last.  The comparison is eloquent, to say the least.  I plan to keep on testing the lens and see if the results are the same as this one.  After all, you get what you pay for.

Snapshot of a close-up picture of a section of a hard disk taken with a Vivitar macro lens screwed to a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera and a Canon EF 50mm II f/1.8 fixed lens. The camera was hand held. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

Snapshot of same electronic part taken with a Canon P&S PowerShot A720 IS. The difference between the first picture and this one is dramatic. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

No matter what they say, cheap point-and-shoot cameras are great devices.  They are often downplayed by some photographers, just because the DSLR cameras are more expensive and more sophisticated.  But at the end of the day, they are not always as great as they say.  These pictures speak highly of the P&S cameras.

Later in the morning will shoot some flowers from my wife’s garden with both cameras and compare the results.  Let’s see what happens, although I have a gut feeling which one will be the winner.   :-)  Good Day.


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