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I recently received some books to review around my favorite hobby, photography.  I can't wait to get some time to go through all of them, but the first one that caught my attention was Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques by Harold Davis.  This is a book about Macro photography, which is a sub-hobby of my hobby.  Macro photography is taking close-up photos of small subjects or higher detail of subjects.

When most people get a camera, they love taking pictures of flowers.  To be honest, I have seen too many flower shots, mine and others, that I am not a flower guy anymore.  However, if you can take an extreme close-up of the inner workings of a flower, I will enjoy.  There is something about creation that makes we enjoy the fine details of things that from our prospective seem small.  Some people are attracted to the universe and planets and how small the earth is compare to all of God's creation, but I love to see His work in the small details.  This is a book for photographers like me who love the details.

Photography books come in many packages.  Some just have photos, some are educational, and other are just editorial.  This one is educational with enough examples to get you started.  You quickly get that Harold likes water drops, the majority of these images are of water drops.  If he revises this book, it would be great if he stretched past flowers and water drops on his extreme close ups.  The book is great for anyone who has a DSLR and either no money and a lot of macro lenses and wanted to learn more.  He covers the equipment needed, the techniques for focusing, how to light the subjects, and different ways of photographing subjects besides just getting them in focus.

When shooting macros, I typically pull out my NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8 VR lens for normal close ups or reverse mount my NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4 D lens on the front of the 105 and do a double reverse lens setup that gets me really really close.  Here is a sample from today:


This image of the head of a Japanese Beetle (look like an orange ladybug) was taken at lunch today with the double reverse setup.  I am able to get in there real close and still get a very sharp image of what you can not see with the naked eye.  Because this book has some many samples and info attached to each images, I started to learn about extension tubes and close up filters.  I have never messed with either of these, but because of the low cost to get started, I think I will ask for some for Christmas.  Also the author loves to us his tripod and is able to get most of his shots in decent focus because he uses apertures of 22+ and low shutter speeds.  This is only possible with a tripod and you will need an adjustable plate to get the fine movements you need to get the best focus.  We are dealing with millimeters of depth-of-field in some of these images, so the more stable and smaller movements you can make, the quicker you are going to get a set of photos in focus.  Most of the time you can't move the subject, you have to move the camera so his tips on how to do that are priceless.  My bug was handheld only because I am missing the plate for my tripod to hook to my camera.  This means i had to take it at 1/60 of a second with f/16 aperture and a lot of flash to make up for the light.

This book really showed me that there is much more to the world of Macro photography that I didn't know about and a lot more gear that one the cheap can extend my ability to capture shots while still retaining the sharpness of the images I like to have.  Suggested readers would be any photographer who is looking to get into Macro photography.  Take it from me, there is other information out there online, but it is hard to bring it together like this book does.  If I would have known about it last year, I would have totally bought it right away.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 9:59 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Book Review | Creative Close-Ups | Wiley

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Wow, that's an accurate close up! It's really amazing how close cameras can actually get these days without distorting. Photography is a great hobby to have, but there is so much to learn, especially if you want to have a sub-hobby as you have stated. Good luck in the future and keep taking these amazing photos.
Left by Ryan on Mar 30, 2011 3:12 AM

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