The last day of the Roswell Photographic Society 3-day Summit, was focused on Macro photography. Roman Kurywczak had given us a talk on his approach to macro which is a bit different from what many others teach.
Roman gave us an approach which would allow macro photography in almost any situation, even in places where you aren’t allowed to have tripods! To enable macro photography without a tripod he uses a combination of a small aperture (f22), high ISO (800) and a powered-down flash. The aperture gives you enough depth of field to be able to get close and still have enough depth to cover your subject but, this also limits the light coming through the lens. To compensate, he uses a higher ISO and a flash for fill light. We were also told to use a relatively high shutter speed such as 1/100 or 1/125 to allow for a little movement which is often un-avoidable, especially when shooting outdoors.
The real trick to this approach is to use the RGB histogram in your viewfinder. To get the right exposure using Roman’s approach, you need to adjust your light to capture the detail without blowing out the highlights. In particular, he emphasized using the RGB histogram rather than the combined one that most people look at because some colors (red in particular) will get blown out more easily. The way it works it that you take a test shot and adjust the +/- settings on the flash to a point where the histogram is filling to the right but not spiking on the right.
If you are able to use a tripod, you can change from the suggested settings above with a longer shutter speed or lower ISO. The idea with the set-up that was presented is to allow you to shoot macro hand-held and in areas where you don’t have control over the ambient light. I will have to keep playing with this and see what I can do to improve my skills here!
Roswell Photographic Society
3-day Workshop with Roman Kurywczak
Roswell Adult Recreation Center
830 Grimes Bridge Road
Roswell, Georgia, USA
Featured Image settings:
105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
105mm at f/22 – 1/10 sec – ISO 800