This is an image of lichen growing on black granite along the coast of Georgian Bay, Ontario. The subject is about 10 cm (4 inches) wide.
The composition is simple and straightforward. The top line of lichen stops but continues as an implied line towards the right edge of the image and balances the bottom line. The image is rather unusual which helps it.
I’ll touch on some of the issues specific to shooting close-ups.
The equipment used for close-ups is a bit different in that we need a really good tripod. We also need special macro lenses to get close to our subject and to allow sharp images to be taken at close range down to 1:1 magnification.
I use Canon’s 100mm and 180mm macro lenses. The tripod should allow removal of the center post and the three legs should be able to do a 180 degrees 3-way ‘split’. I use a Linhof ball joint.
The 180mm macro lens is typically more used for selective focus macro, often in combination with a right angle viewfinder. The reason is that the depth of field of the longer macro is very shallow which is perfect for selective focus.
This particular image was taken with the 180mm out of necessity: I conserved on weight and did not carry the 100 macro.
**Now, for those interested, the really technical details follow.
I was shooting straight down. I made sure the focal plane was parallel to the surface of the rock.
As explained above, I used the 180mm Canon Macro. The camera was set on aperture-preferred automatic exposure.
Because the background was very dark, I under-exposed (using “exposure compensation”) by one stop. I covered (without touching) the viewfinder with my hand because, in this position, light entering the viewfinder can fool your light meter.
I stopped down to f-22. The shutter speed was a long 1/5th of a second so I used mirror lock-up to minimize camera shake. And of course I used a remote switch.
Finally, I waited until the wind died down. (If available, the 100mm Macro would have been less wind-sensitive.)
I generally do not use flash however, here, its use would have been appropriate.
There was no sun, so there was no need for my (white umbrella) shade.
“Auto White Balance” is always on.
ISO: the L setting, which is the finest. I shoot Raw and Medium JPEG combined.