Day 248 – Macro Images by Reversing your lens

Another way of doing Macro photography which I did not mention the other week is reversing your lens. Emma suggested that as this week’s challenge – you can see how to do it here: Reversing the lens -so I decided to use my nifty 50 lens and have a go.

How does it compare with the other techniques I tried earlier – Macro experiments.

50mm lens, ISO320, F1.8, 1/60sec - Closest focal point with lens
50mm lens, ISO320, F1.8, 1/60sec – Closest focal point with lens

I started off with three small flowers on my work top. Composition wise – this is awful, these are harsh shadow and the photo is not in focus, but this is the closest focal point I can get with my 50mm lens., but I have included it in my blog as you can see where I am starting from and what the scale might be.

Reverse Lens, ISO320, 1/60 sec
Reverse Lens, ISO320, 1/60 sec

This is my 50mm lens round the wrong way on manual – as the video says I have no control of the aperture but I was presently surprised how close I could get- it was hard to focus, harder than I imagine, as the depth of field was very shallow – but I was amazed at how close you could get.

Reverse Lens, ISO400, 1/60 sec
Reverse Lens, ISO400, 1/60 sec

Moving further back, as I was surprise how close I had been able to get to the flower I took another photo. The composition works well, the colours are clear and I was really pleased with the results… so I decided to continue to experiment with a different bunch of flowers.

50mm lens, F5, 1/13sec, ISO800
50mm lens, F5, 1/13sec, ISO800

These roses are taken with the 50mm lens, they are lit with quite harsh lighting, but I wanted it bright so that I had a good source of light when I moved closer with my reversed lens.

ISO1600, 1/60 sec - Reverse 50mm
ISO1600, 1/60 sec – Reverse 50mm

This is the closest I could get – I increased the ISO so that I could have a faster shutter speed and I was able to fill the frame with just the center of one roses. I think one time I might experiment with this and a tripod.. on a perfect rose to create a gentle abstract feel.

50mm lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec
50mm lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec

I choose something else to focus on – the edge of the leaf, and although I am not perfectly focused, I can see how close you can get and how shallow a depth of field you can achieve. I then tried to increase the aperture – but because of my light conditions. I was unable to capture a steady enough image, so haven’t shared one – sorry!

100mm lens, Iso1600, F2.8, 1/60 sec
100mm lens, Iso1600, F2.8, 1/60 sec

Then I thought does this only work with my 50mm lens – time to experiment and I changed to my 100mm macro lens. Would it work. These are the flowers for reference, with a shallow depth of field, focused onto the yellow rose.

100mm lens, F2.8, 1/60sec
100mm lens, F2.8, 1/60sec

I got as close as I could with my 100mm lens the right way round and was able to create a very similar image to my 50mm lens in reverse – which actually surprised me. It was easier to focus with the 100mm macro lens and there was significantly less risk of my lens being damaged, but it definitely highlights to me that Emma was right – you don’t necessarily need a 100mm macro lens, if you are prepared to take risks and experiment.

I them obviously had to work out what the 100mm lens could achieve in reverse – I had the idea that if the 50mm reversed lens was able to produce similar results to a 100mm lens, could I achieve something even better, however I came across a problem – I could not get close enough to focus … I mean I was almost touching the petals when I took this image below and it is totally abstract … no matter where I moved on the focal plain I could not achieve anything in focus – so maybe reverse lens use is limited to only certain lenses – I don’t know … but with my 100mm macro lens it wasn’t possible.

BUT, to end with a positive – what a wonderful way to create toned backgrounds to work with when compositing images, design posters or other graphics – straight out of camera and it has a unique abstract feel. I rather like it!

100mm reverse lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec
100mm reverse lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec
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