Holy macro!


A bee lands on a sunflower under partly cloudy skies along Highway 4 near Woodsbro Road in San Joaquin County just east of Stockton. Shot with a Nikon D2x and a 16-35mm wide-angle zoom lens. Exposure: f/16 @ 1/250th of a second with fill flash.

“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small” – Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I don’t know why lenses for close-up photography are called macro lenses. Merriam-Webster Online defines the word macro as: of, involving, or intended for use with relatively large quantities or on a large scale. But macro lenses are used to shoot things that are really small (Nikon uses the label “micro”, but everyone else goes with macro).
I don’t always use a macro lens (or micro as the case may be) when shooting a close-up. Macros inherently have a narrow depth of field (what’s in focus). The closer you get, the more pronounced it becomes. Sure you can use smaller apertures to increase it the depth of field, but only so much.
Sometimes I’ll use a wide angle lens and get in as close as I can. They naturally have greater depth of field, and I can get in as close as about 3-4 inches away from the subject and still get some of the background in too. That can add a sense of place to the picture as well as being close up. It won’t get me to a 1:1 or even 1:2 reproduction that a macro lens can, but it can still get me close enough to make a pretty picture.

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