On this particular day – the flowers were out and bees were buzzing – and as the afternoon kind of lazily drifted by – I grabbed the Kenko extension tubes, the 20D, and the 50mm f/1.8 intent on trying to get a bee picture. Now honestly, I can’t remember which combination of tubes I had on the camera – as the set I purchased came with three tube extensions: 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm – and I could have used any combination of 1, 2, or all 3 tubes for this shot.
This image was taken handheld (bees are busy – and they’re simply not going to wait for me to set up a tripod). Auto focus was turned off. With the camera set to 5fps and (manual) focus roughly dialed in – fine focus was accomplished by moving my upper body back and forth as I held that shutter button down. The rest of the details: f/4 and 1/400 sec shutter.
Of this shoot – about a thousand images – I only really kept this one.
So, why extension tubes? First, they’re really not that expensive (at least the Kenko’s – the Canon tubes are a bit more), no added glass (e.g. filters that magnify), and the investment in a dedicated lens just didn’t seem all that prudent – considering I only shoot macro about once or twice a year (for folks who shoot a lot of macro – a “macro” lens is likely a good investment – e.g. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro). The last method, coupling two lenses together via the filter threads (which puts one lens backwards) seems like fun – I just haven’t tried it yet.
If you’re thinking about macro photography – there are a lot of primers out there – but two quick thoughts to get you started:
- Start with non-moving objects. It sure makes it easier to focus.
- Use that tripod. This will allow you longer exposures for greater depth of field – and overall – crisper images.