The Art of Macro - capturing nature close up

At our last club night we enjoyed a brilliant talk by Tony North a photographer based in Manchester, whose love of nature and art was clearly shown through his wonderful macro images of butterflies, fungi, flowers and other insects. Tony uses a Nikon D500 with a 105 mm 2.8 macro lens and 1.4x teleconverter and explained that he enjoys creating artistic pictures, with the main aim to produce images for their pictorial value; his images show the amazing beauty of miniature beasts in sharp focus and with a suitably diffused blurry background. He enjoys competing both in BPE Salons or in major competitions such as the International Garden Photographer of the Year, where he received a highly commended for one of his images in 2019 and the Amateur Photographer on the Year, where one of his images received a third place.

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Tony shared with us the challenges of macro photography and how he sets about trying to overcome these. These are the areas that he discussed:


Getting close to a subject

Depth of field

Camera movement

Subject movement

Light and shutter speed

Composition/Bokeh

Post processing


Helpful tips and hints were given which I am sure were of great help to members, especially those that are new to macro photography and not very confident with how to set about capturing a sharp image, knowing when the best time of day or time of year is to give you the best chance to locate and photograph particular subjects and indeed knowing how to go about finding great habitats in your local area. I personally really found it very helpful when Tony gave us tips on how to make sure you capture a sharp image and a good blurry background; he will use an aperture of F10 to F13 and make sure he has a distant background, makes sure that his camera is perpendicular to the plane of the subject he is trying to capture and will also use focus stacking. Also very important for Tony is composition and he always tries to position his subject(s) in a good place in the frame, looking at direction and size with main details clear and sharp and also trying to create interesting shapes. Background is also very important for Tony and therefore whatever the insect is perching on should be attractive and with complementary colours, beautifully diffused.


All in all a really great talk and extremely informative, with the opportunity to see Tony's beautiful images which I was awe struck by and really enjoyed seeing. Such a fabulous evening!


Please take a look at Tony's wonderful website to be inspired!

https://www.artofmacro.com/


Our next talk is Eagle Hunters in Mongolia - we look forward to this.

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