Jaw-Dropping Macro

Our guest blogger is Charles Needle.  Charles will be lecturing at this year’s Expo and teaching a “Creative Macro Lab” workshop.


Greetings, fellow nature photographers and friends!  I’m very excited about traveling to Manassas this month and presenting at this year’s Nature Visions Expo.  Since this will be my first appearance at Nature Visions, I’m especially looking forward to making new friends who are also passionate about the art and craft of nature photography.

One of my true passions is creating unique, jaw-dropping macro images like the one above, which was created using a sheet of clear glass treated with Rain-X to help repel the water droplets. 

To achieve this cool effect, you’ll need a sheet of clear glass that’s approximately 36″ x 36,” supported by four sturdy objects of the same height, such as bricks or plastic milk jugs.  Be sure the glass is raised about 12″ off the floor.  Coat the glass with Rain-X (available at any hardware or automotive supply store), let it dry, and then spray with plain water (no glycerin).  Place a flower or other object under the sheet of glass so that it’s about 5 or 6″ below the surface of the glass.  For this image, I cut the stem of a single sunflower and placed it in a drinking glass that had a slightly smaller diameter than the flower, so that the glass would not show below. 

 Once you have it all set up, aim your macro lens (preferably a longer focal-length lens, such as a 200mm Nikkor or a 180mm Canon) pointing straight down over the glass, keeping the camera back as parallel to the surface of the glass as possible to ensure maximum sharpness.  Focus manually on the water droplets on the surface of the glass (not on the flower below the glass) and experiment with various f/stops.  Here I used f/8 at 1/2 sec.  You’ll be amazed that whatever you’re shooting shows up in even the tiniest of water droplets!  I have also tried this technique using fabrics with repeating patterns and family photos.

 If you want to see how this is done, live and in person, you may wish to attend my “Creative Macro Lab” workshop at 12:15 pm on Saturday.  Using a tethered capture set-up at the front of the room, I will demonstrate this technique using my Nikon D3 and also show how to shoot several other creative tabletop macro set-ups involving iridescent glass, colorful backdrops and mylar. 

 Also during Saturday’s “Creative Macro Lab,” I will show you how to create painterly Impressionistic images in-camera using Multiple-Exposure Monet, multiple-exposure zoom & rotate, and soft-glow montage camera techniques…all via a tethered capture set-up….something else I’m extremely jazzed about teaching.

It’s going to be a fun, informative and inspiring Expo.  I look forward to seeing you in Manassas!

Charles is a professional nature photographer, workshop instructor, educator, author and lecturer.  You can learn more about this topic in his eBook, Creative Macro Photography: Professional Tips & Techniques and by visiting his website, www.charlesneedlephoto.com.

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