Getting lost in the details...

Like many others, I began my journey into photography with a desire to capture and document my family life, and as a result my favorite thing to photograph was my son.  Without a doubt he still is - and always will be - but in the last year or so I have also found real joy in photographing macro.  It really is a wonderful tool to help you slow down and appreciate the little things in life - sometimes what you see can take your breath away. 

Although macro photography definitely has MANY challenges, for the most part (given that I am not one for photographing bugs or anything else that might be creeping about) your subjects don't run around, or put their hands over their eyes, or stick out their tongue at you (all things that my completely uncooperative child does when I whip out the camera!) which for me, makes it more relaxing and less stressful than lifestyle photography. That said, it's still incredibly hard - the depth of field is razor thin at these distances, you often have to manually focus, and the littlest movement can throw it off. Add that to the fact that using these smaller apertures (I'm typically at around F5.6 to F9 with Macro) you are getting a whole lot less light into the camera, which is why many macro enthusiasts will use special macro rings to add more light onto their subject, and / or use a tripod. I use neither of these - I hand hold the camera and just use natural light. 

I use the Canon 100mm IS Macro Lens - it's also a fantastic portrait lens so although the cost can seem prohibitive at first, if you consider the fact that you are getting two lenses for one, it's really not. Honest. (I'm a terrible enabler when it comes to purchasing lenses - try to ignore me) Although this is the L version, the non-L version is actually meant to be a great lens also - you just miss out on the image stabilisation.

The wonderful thing about macro is that there really is no right or wrong way to do it - some people love macro images taken with a very tiny depth of field, so that only a sliver of the object is in focus , others use focus stacking or a tripod and a closed aperture to get every last bit in focus.  As with all things "artistic" in photography, some will love what you do, and others won't!  

With a macro lens, I feel I can really start to "see" in a different way - it's like you can begin to view the world with a fresh pair of eyes, and go beyond whats boring and routine and find something unexpected in it. However - for me at least - it does require a certain frame of mind, mentally being in a place where you have "slowed down" enough to see the possibilities.   With life feeling a little bit frantic at the moment, I think it's time I broke out the macro lens again!