According to the details for the current assignment, perfect order in nature could also mean perfect order in man-made landscapes, so off I went looking for symmetrical gardens and manicured lawns at the closest botanical garden I could find! Oh what a surprise I was in for! It was different being on a time-crunch too. Smile

I was pretty happy with what I was able to get without having a macro lens! Here’s the photo showing how close I was able to focus with the closest lens I had to a macro lens (the 24-105mm f/4):

24-105mm

Below are the photos I was able to get using those fantastic little extension tubes. I need to do more research on them before making any sort of recommendation, but the ones that I have (that someone gave me, I think) are EF/EFS (for Canon) 25mm Macro Extension Tubes made by Electronic.

Here’s how close I was able to get using one of the extension tubes:

24-105mm with 1 extension tube

And here’s how close I was able to get with two of them:

24-105mm with 2 extension tubes

I’m not impressed with the sharpness, especially with the two extension tubes attached. But as you know, I was in a hurry so there are quite a few factors that could have affected sharpness other than the fact that I was using two extension tubes.

The Zeikos close-up filters, also given to me, yielded the following results. Here’s the +1 filter:

24-105mm with #1 macro filter

And here’s the +2 filter:

24-105mm with #2 macro filter

Not really all that bad. Closer than no filter or extension tube at all, for sure! Again, not too keen on the sharpness, but for not being cropped at all, I’m impressed.

To increase the sharpness of my macro shots next time, I think I would probably use a tripod, and maybe not use the widest aperture possible on the lens. F/5.6 or f/7.1 would give me a little more depth of field to work with. But then again, I would have to consider how much less light the aperture would be letting in, or how much less the background would be blurry. Here, handheld in the shade at 1/250sec, I was shooting at ISO 400, and I still needed to brighten them up a bit in post.

Something else I would do differently next time would be to think about my framing! I really wasn't thinking about “perfect order” or “symmetry” when I snapped these photos. I was too excited about what I was finding out about macro. And then, of course, there was the time crunch.

But there is one thing I like about each one of these shots. The background blur! I like incorporating background blur as much as I can since it helps separate the subject from the background. It makes the subject stand out better. Most photographers know that a wide aperture is what helps create that nice, background blur. But did you know that aperture is not the only factor? There are at least three other factors that play into how blurry the background is, so knowing all four will help you ensure that you are getting the greatest amount of background blur possible regardless of what situation you happen to find yourself in. Members can learn more about what these 4 factors are in the latest premium training, How to Create Beautiful Background Blur:

Background Blur (play) 2

Now It's Your Turn!

Now that you've seen me do it (and you've got a better idea for how to make nice, beautiful backgrounds), it's your turn to shoot this month's photo assignment, Perfect Order in Nature. Get the details below, and feel free to ask questions along the way!

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