The 3-day workshops focus on all aspects of macrophotography and close-up photography. During classes we will take pictures at different times of the day, in sunshine, in cloudy weather and using a lot of additional accessories.
We will concentrate on compositions that can be called „magic” or „fairy-tale” macro. In this type of pictures a key role is played by a background consisting of characteristic stains. There are a lot of solutions! However, you can be sure that in less than three days we will be able to discuss and test all of them thoroughly. Before reading, take a moment to check out the Gallery. We will take such pictures during the workshop.
Day 1 – Friday
Until 4 pm – arrival of participants
4 pm – 5 pm – a short introduction on the topic of the workshops
5 pm – 6 pm – dinner
6 pm – 7 pm – the first field trip. Photography of plants, macro photography and close-up photography
Day 2 – Saturday. Before dawn we will go to a place where it is possible to find numb dragonflies and other insects covered with morning dew. A tripod and release cable will certainly come in handy. At dawn we will be creating magical close-up shots with a fairytale background. We will focus on shooting against the sun and with side lighting. We will use various types of lenses and accessories to create custom shots with a beautiful background. We will search for spider webs covered with dew and illuminated by the sun.
Additionally, we will also take standard, „nice” and „album” photos of anything small and alive.
8:00 am – return for breakfast and a longer rest after the morning session
9:00 am – 12:00 midday – photographing in diverse environments, – pond, reeds, marshy shores – in waders and rubber boots. – wet meadows – particularly, edges of meadows with interesting biological communities
– meadows with tall grass
– catching interesting species of insects using a net
– ruderal places, clumps of nettles, neighborhood of dirt roads – usually the richest and most diverse natural sites with a lot of plants, insects and arachnids
– trees and shrubs – dry, sandy habitats, walls, buildings
12:30 – 2 pm – lunch
2 pm – 5 pm – continuation of activities. In the field we will photograph:
– insects, with special emphasis on butterflies and dragonflies, arachnids, flowers, mushrooms, bees in flight
5 pm – 6 pm – lunch
6 am – 8 am – return and close-up photography, macrophotography, photographs of interesting habitats, magical evening scenery
Day 3 – Sunday
Bearing in mind that it will be the 3rd day of workshops, all depends on the level of our vitality. The last day will be planned in such a way that people who want to get up early in the morning can participate in the field activities. Workshop participants who want to sleep off the previous day, or rest before travelling back home, will also „get” an interesting location for shooting at a later time, up until 9:00 pm.
8 am – Breakfast and a longer rest after the morning session
10 am – 2 pm – presentation and methods of post processing of chosen pictures. We will learn how to work on RAW files, manage color, use NIK plug-ins, sharpen images and prepare it to the presentation on websites
2 pm – lunch and the end of workshops
The issues that will be tested in practice include:
– Close-up photography and macrophotography
– Equipment needed for macrophotography and close-up photography
– Cameras, lenses, tripods and camera heads in macrophotography
– „Macro magic” – creating fabulous scenery using old M42 lenses and mirror lenses
– Accessories used in macrophotography – (extension rings, lenses, converters, bellows, lamps, diffusers, caps, extension tubes, reflectors, etc.)
– Accessories displayed on the table (see Gallery) – you will use them in class
– The art of spotting interesting frames
– My own tricks and techniques
– Obtaining extreme close-ups in practice
– Photography of butterflies, dragonflies and other insects, including arachnids
– Composition in macrophotography
– Light in macro- and close-up photography – artificial and natural
– Basic techniques of macro shooting using SLR and compact cameras
– Photographing insects in flight
– Technical work in the studio – working with live insects and spiders; single images and stacking
– Photography of morning dew on grass
– Photography of flowers and fungi – close-up pictures stacking
– Creative close-up photography against the light.
– Taking macro photos using equipment worth several dozen Euro – we will also test such solutions in practice
What type of equipment will you need?
Minimal requirements. It is enough to have a compact camera with at least a 5x optical zoom and a knack for close-up and macro photography. It should suffice in most cases; additional accessories will be provided during the workshop.
Solution no. 1 The best option is to have a typical SLR camera with a macro lens, with which it is possible to take pictures at a scale of 1: 1. If you cannot bring an SLR camera, it is recommended to have a more advanced compact camera. The cheapest second-hand macro lenses cost around 100-150 £ , while a second-hand compact, or actually a hybrid camera with a better optical system, can be purchased for around 100 £ . There is, however, a number of different solutions. An on-camera flash lamp will suffice, unless you have an additional external flash lamp – then you should definitely bring it with you. Other useful accessories include a tripod and release cable.
Solution no. 2 I realize that some participants may not have the mentioned equipment. If you have standard varifocal lenses, i.e. 18-55 mm, it will suffice to simply purchase a set of manual extension rings (around 7 £). Mounting rings will, however, lead to the reduction of the minimum focus distance of the aforementioned lenses. Thus it is a temporary solution which you cannot employ to all shots. Then you can resort to solution no. 3 and 4.
Solution no. 3 If you only have a varifocal lens, you can additionally buy a macro lens +4 dioptres (this close-up range works best). Another useful accessory will certainly be a snap-on universal mount Raynox DCR 250 or DCR 150 (around 35 £), particularly for compact cameras.
Solution no. 4 If you want to be able to take macro photographs most similar to the effect obtained with a typical macro lens, but you have a limited budget, I recommend M42 lenses. By combing them with extension rings (around 7 £) you will be able to take close-up photographs and most shots in the macro scale.
Among low-cost M42 lenses I recommend Jupiter 135/3.5 or Industar 50/2.8 (costs around 30-40 £). The cons include a strong glare, decrease in contrast when photographing against the sun, as well as the necessity to set the aperture and shutter speed manually. In addition, during the workshops I will also have with me plenty of unusual equipment (see Gallery), which can be tested at will. If you are not sure whether your equipment will come in handy during the workshop, or what to buy – just write to me.