It's a new year and interest in our photo assignments shows no sign of abating; however, knowing the road to hell is paved with good intentions, let's bear in mind these simple rules:

  • Photos must be shot this weekend: Fri, Sat, or Sun.
  • You must provide the EXIF information if asked. If you need help, we can show you how to find it or even link it to your photo.
  • No photoshop alteration (we're looking to improve your skills with your camera, not software).
  • Your photograph must adhere to the theme, which will be described below.
  • Post only one photo per post, so that commentary can be easily provided for that photo. You may post more than one photo, but try to keep it to a handful.
  • Title your photo so it can be referred to later.
  • Post your photos in this thread only. Do not start a thread in reply to this assignment. Please post your photos no later than next Wednesday.
  • And, the most important rule: have fun! We're looking to spread the joy that many of us derive from taking pictures, particularly ones that tell a story of some kind.

This week's theme: "Close Up"

In keeping with requests for learning techniques, this week, please take a photo utilizing a close focusing distance, sometimes referred to as "macro." Most P&S cameras have a built-in macro setting, often the minimum focusing distance with the lens at wide-angle. DSLR cameras with zoom lenses often have this same arrangement. For DSLR cameras, you can buy close-up filters fairly inexpensively. Some of us even have macro lenses capable of focusing closely enough to reproduce a subject at life-size.

Very simply put, just focus as closely, or nearly as closely, as you can--no purchase necessary.

There are several factors you should bear in mind:

  1. In many circumstances you will need plenty of light. Shoot outdoors or use a supplementary light source or reflector, white cardboard, for example. If you use a desk lamp, don't forget to switch your white balance to that light source.
  2. Depth-of-field will be a factor, so shoot at a smaller aperture if you are able.
  3. A smaller aperture will result in a slower shutter speed, so. . . .
  4. you may need to use some form of support, i.e. your braced arms or a tripod. A small bean bag or similar item makes an excellent support.

By no means is it necessary that your photo be microscopic. Just get in close and shoot a detail of something. Bonus points for anything motorcycle related or any subject that is not immediately identifiable.

Now get out there and get close.