Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's a Macro World After All

For those that don't know, a macro lens is a lens that allows you to get closer with your focus of an object than other lenses.  It doesn't necessarily magnify the object, it just allows you to get closer.  A macro lens serves many uses, possibly the most common which is bug and insect photography.

I rented a macro lens for the weekend from  I chose this website over others because it offers free shipping both directions; a huge plus.  The lens I rented is a Canon EF-S 60mm F/2.8 lens.  This lens has a better than expected focal range and with the small F-Stop number, you have the availability to blur out a lot of your background.

 I decided to go to two places to try out the lens.  The first was at the Butterfly House at The Discovery Gardens.  Beautiful place with a lot of beautiful butterflies.  One caveat:  It is very humid!  My wife and I were only able to make it 30 minutes.

The lens performed like a champ.  It gives a great crisp focus, is lightweight and as I said earlier, has a very decent focal range considering it is a fixed 60mm focal length.

There was a great variety of color in the butterflies.  There was one that looked like an owl's eye and feathers as its camouflage.  The large white one to the right landed and seemed to enjoy being on camera.  It sat there for about 5 minutes, allowing me to get all the pictures of it that I wanted.

You can find more information at  It is located at Fair Park, you get free parking and with an admission of $8 for adults, you can't beat it.

 The second place I went to, to test the lens was the Dallas Arboretum.  This is an incredibly beautiful place.  Flowers and color everywhere.  There is something there for the whole family.

This first picture is a great show of how great a macro lens can be.  If you look carefully, you can see a spiderweb in the upper right corner of the picture.  I didn't even notice that it was there until I was working on the pictures at home.
 I really like the detail that you can get with the flowers.  I shot all of these in RAW format.  First, I wanted to get more practice shooting in RAW, but second, the Arboretum is a particularly difficult place to shoot, because you are constantly moving from shadows to bright sunlight.  You can only adjust the camera so much before you waste your entire day.  With RAW, I was able to go back and tweak the images as I saw fit.
 This is my favorite picture.  My main goal with going to the Arboretum was to get a picture of a bee on a flower.  I think this one came out very well.  The color contrast of the bee against the flower is great and with the macro lens, you can see the little hairs on the bee.

Earlier, I mentioned that with the aperture of this lens being so low, (F/2.8), you can have a very narrow depth of field, blurring out the background.  Of all the pictures I took, that is no more evident than this picture.  I highly recommend checking out the Dallas Arboretum before it gets too hot.  You can get more information from their website at:  At $15 per adult, it is a bit more pricey, but there is so much to do there, you really can spend an entire day.  They allow you to bring in food, so plan a picnic and enjoy the beauty.

As I always mention, look around your city and see what there is to do.  I find that when you live some place, you don't really take the time to do the "touristy" things.  Explore and enjoy!

Until next time...

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