Although I had tentative plans to venture out of the house today, it got cold-ish and rainy in these parts, so I elected to stay indoors. I wanted to think of something unique to take shots of, and my oldest typewriter (that’s right, folks, I own more than one) provided a good option.
In the last few years of taking pictures with my big boy camera, I have become increasingly interested in macro photography. What’s macro photography? Well, a good example of macro photography would be those very cool, extreme close-up shots of something like…a bumblebee. Or a leaf. Actually, I think things in nature overall provide a wonderful array of textures that you just don’t see when you take a normal picture. There are, of course, entire lines of specialized lenses for this type of photography, mostly because this is well beyond an “extreme closeup”. It’s very difficult to achieve a macro look without a macro lens.
Camera equipment, and lenses in particular, are no less expensive than they were when it was all film photography. The professional grade lenses can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The last time I checked, I’m not made of money, so I do not own a macro lens.
However, I did learn a rather handy “trick” with my regular 18-55mm lens when I attended a photography workshop given by Aperture Academy in Campbell, California. Incidentally, if you live anywhere in the Bay Area, they are well worth checking out. Their workshops cater to all levels of photographers, from first-time users to professionals. Bonus: the workshops are reasonably priced in comparison with a lot of other workshops given by professionals.
My instructor during the most recent workshop I attended (last summer), gave us all a bit of a trick to try: If you have an 18-55mm lens – try removing the lens from the body of the camera, and flip it so that the lens is held up against the body of the camera and the end that is normally attached to the body is facing outward. Basically, use the lens…backwards.
Of course, the inherent danger to doing something like this is that you put yourself in a position to break the lens easily. The lens is not attached to the body of the camera, and is often held with one hand against it. It’s difficult, and I have only attempted it a couple of times, each time while in a seated position to lessen the chance of instant breakage should I lose my grip on the lens. To be honest, I almost don’t recommend trying this…but I felt that I needed to explain my method for today’s picture. Clearly, a macro lens is on my list of “things to get for my camera”.
Anyway, I have always loved the question mark key on older typewriters. The question mark is usually much more stylized, and I just think it looks cool:
Because I took this shot using the backwards-lens trick, you’ll notice that the focus is not quite there…but this was the best one in the set. I’m thinking of finding a place that rents lenses and just get a macro lens for a day and see what I come up with. Photography to-do list is now in progress.
From the not-related-at-all-to-this-post file: On the right sidebar of this site, I have installed a widget for the RSS feed from Food Riot. I am privileged to be in the company of some truly great writers there, so I encourage you to check it out every now and again. By the time the site has its full launch in March, it will be even better!