Wide Angle Macro Photography


What is wide angle macro photography and what does the term mean to you?

Light Winter DustingSoon after getting into landscape photography I found out that ultra wide angle lenses have the natural ability to have close focus ranges. Once I found this out I did a lot of research and experimentation with what is known as wide angle macro photography. I quickly found out that there’s not as much information about this and it doesn’t seem to be widely popular among photographers. I find that I enjoy these types of photos a bit more than a lot of other types. The reason for this is because with just a macro shot, you have one subject that you see up close but not any of it’s surroundings. I do like macro photography but for me personally, I tend to get bored with it as there’s just not that many elements in the photo to help it stand out.Hiding

With wide angle macro photography, it still has the element of a small subject up close, but due to the construction of the lens, it allows for many more items to be in the shot. There are some additional things to consider with wide angle macro vs traditional macro though. Traditional macro utilizing a macro lens has a much much shallower DOF to work with. What this means is that you need to understand that you won’t get that small sliver of focus with a lot of nice bokeh, but instead a little bit more in focus with slight bokeh that you are still able to determine what the elements in the background are. In some cases, if the aperture is set small enough (large f-stop numbers), then the majority of the photo is in acceptable focus. This is portrayed in the two photos above. The first one with the snow, you can see that the background is more out of focus than the second photo with the waterfall.

Green-Bay-Dock

Another thing I love about wide angle macro photography is that it changes perspective. It makes up close elements look larger than they normally are and far objects look smaller than they normally are. In the waterfall photo above you can see that the blades of the grass look large in comparison to the waterfall in the background. It also makes it look like the waterfall is farther away from the grass than it actually is. In the below images you can also see how perspective is changed as well. In the left photo puddle in the middle of a field looks as though it can be a large pond or small lake. In the right photo the rocks look larger than the sun.

The Sun's Reflection

Sunset with the Rocks

 

 

 

 

 

I find that when I am out doing landscape photography I am always looking for small subjects that fit within the entire scene that I want to capture. This is also a little different than traditional landscape where you don’t care so much about the small things, but more about the entire scene. It’s also different than traditional macro where you only care about the small things and not so much about the distant objects for the most part. I find it both challenging and exciting as it can create some great photos that have more of a chance of standing out from the crowd.

Although all my examples above are shown with shots low to the ground, wide angle macro photography will also work with subjects at all different locations of the frame. In the gallery below I have included shots of all different types of wide angle macro photography that I have done. I know that this type of photography may be subjective as macro is defined as very large in scale, scope, or capability. What I consider wide angle macro is a close-up shot of any object in order to make it look larger than what it actually is compared to its surroundings. I also realize that some of the photos may not be considered wide angle macro shots, or borderline, to some people, but to me I think they fit my definition.

Some of the photos at the end of the gallery were taken at a botanical garden. I will be doing a post on this trip to show all the photos that I had taken when I get the time to put one together.

On a side note, I have been enjoying doing these posts and will try to make them a weekly thing as I come up with things to post about. Of course this is also pending that I have enough time to put them together. I like being able to help others explore possibilities they may not have otherwise thought of or even teach someone something new that they might enjoy. I always enjoy feedback and I also do not consider myself an expert by any means so if anyone has any additional knowledge it is always welcome to expand on my posts as well.

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16 thoughts on “Wide Angle Macro Photography

  1. Very nicely presented. I like this type too although I haven’t done much of it. I did order a macro lens, the 105mm nikon and am picking it up tomorrow. It’ll be like I’ve never taken a photo at first and I’m looking forward to a whole new world!

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    • Thanks Laura! It is very much appreciated. 🙂

      I think you will love your 105mm lens. I always love getting a new lens and getting to play around with it. It’s like christmas. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do mine. The next thing I have on my list is some extension tubes. I want to try those with both my wide angle lens and macro lens. I’m hoping to get greater than 1:1 shots with the wide angle lens and looking forward to the more shallow depth of field and magnification on the wide angle lens. My wife is always asking me for affordable b-day and christmas presents and the set I have picked out are around $50 and my b-day is a the end of September so I figure I can wait until then and she can get me those. Just in time for fall. 😀

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  2. Very interesting Justin and I think this motivate me to buy a wide angle macro. This could bring a lot more possibilities for pictures. Another world of shooting. Thank you and, this pictures set is great.

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    • Thanks Meho! Once I learned about this type of photography and seen some photos I was hooked and had to try it for myself. It does create a lot more possibilities.

      Technically there is no such thing as a wide angle macro lens. If/when you get your Nikon camera, there are different options for an ultra wide angle lens. I got the 10-24mm lens for my DX camera and for my FX camera I am using the 16-35mm which is almost the same focal range if you do the crop factor with the DX lens being 15-36mm as a 35mm equivalent. But the ultra wide angle lens are quite the investment as they are near $1,000 USD.

      What I’m hoping to get in the near future is extension tubes to use with my wide angle lens in order to get even closer to the subject. Once that happens and I get a few images built up I’ll probably do a follow up post to this one but showing the results of adding an extension tube.

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  3. Thanks so much for a wonderful article. You have defined what I’ve attempted to do with certain shots but didn’t quite have a name for it. The photographs are beautiful and this article is extremely helpful to me as I’ve just begun in the photography arena. Thanks so much for sharing. I definitely look forward to reading more!

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    • Thanks Lilka! I am happy that you were able to find this article useful. I’ve read a lot of blog posts by others that don’t show any photos of something they are trying to explain so I am happy to have been able to take photos of things to explain what I am talking about. You can only imagine my frustration when I want to post something to explain but don’t have any photos to go along with it as it can be difficult to explain some things with photography without having an example to show exactly what you mean.

      Now that I’m doing posts like this I’ve been taking some photos in the field with future posts in mind to give examples on when you might want to do a smaller f-stop vs. a larger f-stop along with different view points and things like that. When I look at other’s photos when they try to explain things, it seems as though they take some quick shots in the backyard to try to explain but it is sometimes hard to relate to when you are taking photos somewhere that you can’t go to again. I think with my technical background it is easier for me to determine what may or may not work for certain shots but for a more non-technical photographer they may need examples and that’s what my goal is. To create posts that are easily understood by both technical and non-technical people together.

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      • I appreciate your efforts. Your post is a lot clear and definitive, quite the contrast to many of the photography books I’ve picked up. Thanks for sharing your expertise! I look forward to seeing more 🙂

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    • When I thought I had all the lenses I needed for my kit, I started doing some research on different landscape photography methods and that’s how I came across this type of wide angle photography. I loved what I saw so I sought out what I needed to create those shots. I had a kit lens 18-55mm on a DX camera at the time and thought 18mm should be wide enough. I was right but the lens is what was causing the problem. It didn’t have a close enough focusing distance. I didn’t think about extension tubes at the time and looked for the widest lens I could get for my camera. It ended up being the Nikon 10-24mm that I chose for it’s reviews on sharpness compared to other brands. It’s definitely not a cheap investment so you must determine if it is a lens you really want before getting an ultra wide angle. And it’s also not for everyone either. For instance, the longest focal length I have for my FX camera is 120mm. I’ll most likely never own anything longer than that for FX as I don’t care about zooming on for shots too much. For now I’m just focused on up close shots and landscape photography. But I don’t know what the future holds yet.

      Thanks for the comment Carol!

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