Macro photography is one of my favorite mediums to photograph. I love the 1:1 aspect seeing what most people walk by everyday and never seem to notice. I have always slowly added new products and gadgets to my set up, but this one seems to be what I have stuck with for the longest time, and works great. Listed below are the items in my set up!
First up of course is the camera and lens. I have used my Canon 5D Mark iii on occasion for a tad larger print that can be produced, but mainly I use my first camera, a Canon 60D.The reason is shown in the picture. It’s wonderful “tilty-swivaly-screen.” In those hard awkward shots, it make it great to not have to bend in odd ways, and the image can be sharp using live view. It has 18mp which creates beautiful prints. Attached is a Canon 100mm macro lens. It is extremely sharp and has the great 1:1 ratio. I also use a shutter release cable, and any brand will do.
Next up is a Kirk FR2 focusing rail. I always had major problems focusing a 1:1 shot and having the portion I wanted sharp, sharp. That is when I discovered focusing rails. This one is much cheaper than others on the market and feels like it cost $1000. It is tough, sturdy, and does exactly what you need it to. It has a smooth movement for easy focusing and works great with 1:1 shots, allowing you to move the camera without moving the tripod. It has the Swiss arca type camera/lens attachment which is great. I have a really right stuff bracket attached to my camera, and any lens to requires one, which makes it easy to pop in and out.
The fun stuff! Accessories. When the light is low, a flash is usually needed. I pack with me a couple Canon 580EXii flashes, with a canon off camera sync chord. That allows for easy movement of the flash to any spot I need. Next up for the flash is a lumiquest soft box. It attaches and is designed for strobe flashes. It provides soft even light to the shots where only a kiss of light is required. Finally, a selfie reflector??? Yup! Phottix marketed this small reflector for selfies and I received it for Christmas. At first I thought it was useless because I don’t take selfies, but then realized it is the perfect size for macro shots. It’s very portable, fits where you need it in your shots and can bounce great light.
Last but certainly not least. The most important. A Tripod and Head. I use a Gitzo explorer tripod with a really right stuff ball head. The Bh55 I believe it is. (The beefy one) I have gone through many tripods, but have found if your doing macro, this is the tripod. I has a greatly swivel head so the tripod can move into any spot or direction you can want. Apply that with a sturdy ball head and your ready to go. My only complaint is the tripod can be a little shaky when the middle post is fully extended or the legs are at their lowest. You need to make sure it is set stable in the ground, or sometimes I use my knee to brace the tripod from shake. Other than that small complaint, this tripod is fantastic.
Don’t be worried about price! Macro shots can be taken with anything. Start out with a telephoto lens, or lens that has a macro feature in it’s focusing. Next up, go for a lens. Any macro lens for the fanatic with improve your shots dramatically. Go out and have fun finding the small things in the world around us.
Colorado Photography Experience | Turner Smith Photography