Winter reed beneath Claerwen Dam

Macro fun in Mid-Wales

Mossy macro moment in the Elan Valley

I’ve reported before about trying to get to grips with macro-photography. Well … the opportunity to really try to get on top of this photographic “genre” came about on the latest Photo Workshop I participated in with Nick Jenkins. A return to familiar locations (for the first day at least) meant that I could just try and focus on using my Sony Full-frame 90mm f2.8 lens on the Sony A7r body. I’ve had the lens nearly a year now but have struggled to get anything from its use which gave me any real delight, wow, whatever. Being in a situation where I had the time to experiment, time to look at what I was doing, and most importantly time to get advice was invaluable. It transpires I hadn’t understood the lens at all well, and was doing quite a few things wrong. You want them listed? Here goes …

1) I’d not understood that the focus setting Full turned the lens effectively into a 90mm Prime Lens – now that’s a useful lens to have in my bag!

2) I’d not understood that to get the full benefit of the macro lens I had to set the focus setting on the lens to the most limited, and that the intermediate setting (which I had been using) was really of no obvious value at all!

3) I’d forgotten to turn off OSS (optical steady shot) on the lens – totally unnecessary when you’re using a tripod and actually more likely to cause blur as the camera tries to compensate for the possibility of camera shake. Duh!

4) I’d not truly appreciated the importance of using Manual focus, over Automatic focus, and this required me to have to learn a lot about how Sony presents the image in the EVF (electronic view finder) to ensure you get tack-sharp images.

Now these three images aren’t brilliant, but they’re a darn-sight better than any others I’ve taken with the lens/camera, and I feel a lot more confident to use it in the future.

The mountain ranges of the tree

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