Monday, May 28, 2007

Little big things

Remember the movie Fantastic Voyage? That’s the one where a team of doctors and a small submarine was shrunk to the size of a cell and injected into a patient so the team could remove an inoperable tumor - kind of an extreme inside job. Along the way the crew dealt with some life-size biological entities that they had only previously seen under a microscope.

A couple of days ago, I took my own Fantastic Voyage and experimented with some extreme macro photographs. There are a number of ways to get extreme magnification on your photos. One technique involves reversing the lens on your camera – sort of like looking through the wrong end of the telescope. A single lens can be reversed or two lenses can be coupled face to face. I coupled a 135mm prime lens to a 50mm prime using good old masking tape.

When using such a setup, the focus is fixed, so the only way to focus is to move the camera back and forth until a portion of your subject comes into focus. The experience is like peering through a periscope as you descend into a sea of blurry colors. Eventually objects will snap in and out of focus quickly. Depth of field is extremely shallow, so a fast film or ISO setting allows you do stop down the lens to try to regain some DOF.

This flower was shot hand-held in bright sunlight. 400 ISO film allowed the shutter speed to be set at 1/500, otherwise a tripod would have been needed to keep the image steady. I made several descents into the flower, pressing the shutter when parts I wanted in focus passed by. The bright sunlight created rich saturated colors. The inset photo shows the flowers seen without the macro lens setup.

After shooting large sweeping landscapes, it’s interesting to see how such small objects have a landscape all their own. More macros to come this week, including a friendly, fuzzy eight-legged creature.

Click on picture to enlarge (as if it needed more). Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.


Michael Brown said...

Dynamnic colors in this first image.
Very nicely done!

James said...

thanks. I was surprised at the intensity of colors by getting that close to the subject.