The Excitement of Learning

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I’ve got that bit of nervousness that comes from taking in a lot of new, exciting information that I haven’t had much chance to practice or apply in my daily living. I think it is my old nemesis whispering in my ear – the one that believes I should be able to learn it well enough by reading to do it perfectly the first time. Time to change that message because I’m doing this for fun – and the pleasure is in the experimentation and the learning.

This new learning started with a book I ordered way back in March, Close Up Photography in Nature, by John and Barbara Gerlach. I had borrow some books from the library and decided that this one would be the one I would want to return to frequently in the future. It isn’t a thick book but I’ve been picking it up ever since and learning something new every time I do.

I love close up work but frequently (usually?) my images become close up when I crop them in post processing – probably something “real” photographers wouldn’t admit to unless their raw files were subpoenaed. I also had been thinking I would like a macro lens but really didn’t know what to buy and when I explored them on-line, they were pretty expensive. So I read my new book, and nodded my head a lot, and went in search of a highlighter, and went back again to reread some sections. Oh, the excitement of being able to do what I love with better results, maybe. And I went out in my garden to try some of the new skills they explain in their book. That was last summer.

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What I learned was that “close up photography” involves making images that fill the entire frame and there is a definite art and science to the process. I also learned what lenses produce the best results (those expensive ones) but they also suggested an alternative for those of us who don’t sell prints so can’t declare a lens as a business expense or take out a small business loan. They discussed a way to practice the science without spending a boatload of money. One suggestion was a magnification lens that screws onto the the front of a lens, like a filter. At less than $100 it was worth a try.

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I am enjoying learning as a long, slow process. When I returned to the Naples Botanical Garden for me weekly photo shoots, I found that I was doing many of the things that I learned from the Gerlachs and the one that I am enjoying the most is using manual focus more.

I probably won’t be doing much macro photography when I am in the Michigan cold for our holiday season but I have a new toy downloaded on my computer and waiting for play time – a new learning curve. I’ll share that fun in another post.

22 thoughts on “The Excitement of Learning

  1. I echo norasphotos4u. I have been working with extension tubes for over a year, love the results and they are definitely less expensive than a macro lens. Mirrorless cameras are a bit smaller and lighter. Sometimes gets one out of having to use a tripod. Early morning light or just before sunset, (the golden hour) can produce some marvelous shots. These pics are gorgeous. Keep learning and playing. Cheers.

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  2. Your pictures are beautiful!!!! Several years ago – I did a 365 project. My love for macro grew out of it. I am always surprised by the detail I see on the computer. Another inexpensive option to try is extension tubes. Kenko makes some good ones. I’m not sure of your camera system – but I know that the Canon store sells refurbished lenses for less than retail. Also – if you’re not adverse to used lenses – B&H photo sells them and they grade them based on condition. Enjoy exploring this area of photography!!

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    • Thanks for the info. I bought some extension tubes but haven’t worked with them much. Periodically I check out B&H for refurbished or gently used equipment but the ones I was looking at were a bit of change even in that department. I have also been checking out mirrorless cameras. Right now I am having fun with what I have. 🙂

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  3. Pingback: The Excitement of Learning — A New Day: Living Life Almost Gracefully – Living Well Rituals

  4. These are wonderful. I love the soft delicacy of the petals. Personally I find a lot of close up photography is sso crisp and highly focusseedd the subtly of the flowers gets lost.

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