Winter Macro

Just because the bugs and flowers are gone, doesn’t mean you can’t still get up close. I don’t do as much macro in winter since most things aren’t growing or are just plain covered by snow. The snow can be quite useful, though. First to isolate subjects and second to reflect light into them. Check out this flake of lichen –

Gently landed

One of my favorite things and against the snow it just stands out so well. Partly it’s an experiment – I recently bought some Kenko extension tubes so I could get a little closer focus with the Lumix Vario G 35-100mm f/2.8 lens. It’s extremely sharp and bright, but it doesn’t let me get as close as the Vario G 12-35mm f/2.8 does and so I thought what the heck. This is a 2-image stack with focus points chosen manually. It takes some getting used to since the DOF is razor thin with tubes. I used the 10mm tube with the 35-100 for this at f/11. Very crisp and I love all the different colors. It’s about 2cm wide IRL. Gives me a bit of working distance at pretty great magnification. Could be fun.

Here’s a much larger focus stack done with bracketing (no tubes). I just love how the stem is covered, but the needles prickle through.


And here’s the rig in the snow on the Platypod –

But sometimes I need the really tall tripod like for these mushrooms on a dead tree. The tripod sank into the snow so much that I was glad it had the big one with me. The little shelves of snow were worth the effort though. They’re both 11-image stacks and I have no idea what they are. Eight books and the internet and the closest I can come is Bjerkandera adusta, but I’m not confident in that ID. I think the odd little white strings are insect egg casings – moths maybe.

Identity crisis

Believe it or not, but this is a stack, too. It was very slightly breezy so I was amazed it came out so well. I had to do a lot of retouching in Zerene, but it worked and made the stupid tripod tricks worth it. That little tinge of green still left in the leaf caught my attention and I had a heck of a time finding a clean background with all the rest of the undergrowth, but I did. Plus it has a little bit of snow still caught in it – I love the curl on the right.

About to fall

And there will probably be more to come after we get some more snow. A lot of it melted in February and it’s going to be in the mid-30s again next week (still February as I write this) so who knows. Mud season may come early.

Here are a few photos of the extension tubes. A 10mm and 16 in the kit – they feel like high quality and have the electronics to pass through from lens to camera so it stops down. The instructions are hilarious and are left over from 35mm film days because when explaining how much closer you will get they reference a 50mm lens and the distance to the film plane. It does list M4/3rds, but it’s clear it’s an afterthought. Pretty funny and I learned that Kenko is part of or somehow linked with Tokina which is the maker of the tube I used with my 35mm gear. How serendipitous.

And what’s even better is that I found a little hamburger shaped case to keep them in since they didn’t come with one. I love when that happens.


5 thoughts on “Winter Macro

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  1. I always enjoy macros, and these are exceptional. I have some extension tubes – maybe I should dig them out. Photostacking is also another great way to see the hidden, small world that macros let us see. My exception – bugs! No thank you – but nearly everything else is so fascinating.

    1. Aw, thanks. I love getting in to see what we can’t without help. Extension tubes can be an inexpensive way to get closer without a true macro lens and that’s how I’ve used them so far. Put the 10mm on the 35-100 the other day again and it was nice to have the flexibility to get close without bringing my macro with me. No bugs this time of year, but ordinarily I’m cool with them and enjoy seeing their little faces up close. Bees especially, but beetles have some really way out features so those are always surprising.

      1. I don’t mind bugs too much, but there is something rather nightmarish (to me) about enlarged photos of insects. So, when I see them, I just move on . . . .

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