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Nature and Landscape Photography

Lesson 18 of 27

Macro Shots and Adding a Human Element

John Greengo

Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

18. Macro Shots and Adding a Human Element

Lesson Info

Macro Shots and Adding a Human Element

so you know we got a bunch of macro stuff the macro sections a little bit larger we could do a whole class on macro but we're going to a good section on macro here and so for doing these close ups overcast days are definitely the way to go makes things very very easy getting your camera parallel to your subject I've got a nice little illustration teo illustrate exactly what I mean by this one manual focus is going to be much much easier I know there's a lot of newcomers that are like well my camera does auto focus I'll just let the camera do it does it does such a good job it's very frustrating working with macro and auto focus and it's much better to use manual focus and moved the camera closer and further away to adjust focus and so if you want to do that sort of system as I say moving the camera away for focus and if you want to change the magnification size how big your subject is you would actually do that by changing focusing on the camera so if you want it to be as biggest possi...

ble rack your camera to the minimum focusing distance and then slowly moving in and this is where it might help to have one of those macro focusing rails that I showed you yesterday I don't use those but if I'm working on something I just try to move my tripod inch it forward or centimeter it forward millimeter it forward just ever so slightly so one of the most important aspects is getting things as sharp as possible keeping them in focus and so this is going to be keeping the camera parallel to the subject so what am I photograph in here the tops of some mushrooms and let's go to the illustration all right so here the mushrooms and here's my camera and I this is what I am not doing okay the focus plane in the camera is right here and where is the subject plane well it's exactly parallel to the plane in the camera unless of course you're using a tilt shift lens which we're not talking about but the subject plane is parallel to the focal plane when I have a little bit of depth of field maybe f eleven f sixteen set it's going to extend in front and behind that subject plane but you can see in this illustration the front edge of the mushrooms and the back of them are not in focus and so what we need to make sure is that the plane where the sensor is is exactly parallel to weigh your subject is and so you have to be able to position your camera directly over your subject or directly at your subject so that when you set it to have a little bit of depth of field you'll get everything in focus and so here it's really a matter of figuring out the exact correct position for the camera and getting it there so here on the left is an example of an incorrectly lined up photograph you'll see on the left picture the upper right hand corner of that leif is out of focus simply because my camera was not quite parallel to the subject and so you could try to set more depth of field but there's going to be a limit to that you want to start with your camera in the best position possible and so some examples of shooting my subject straight on with my subject in my camera parallel to each other making sure my camera left and right is exactly even so the droplets on the left or the sharpest the ones on the right some more tips for shooting macro you will constantly be challenged by the shallow depth of field and this is where that focus stacking that we talked about in the focus section might come in handy the longer lenses if you're shooting with the two hundred or three hundred millimeter lands it's going to give you a little bit more distance with your subject which is going to allow either mohr light or easier to work with reflectors and or additional light and it's also going to change the background area as far as how much of it you see and it may simplify it and those longer lenses will also render the background mme or out of focus because that's what longer lenses do things on limbs move in the wind you gotta be really careful because you'll see these things that dangling out on a long branch in there they're constantly bouncing around and they're going to be virtually impossible to photograph I know a lot of people will be walking down the trail and they'll see some flowers like oh that's so awesome john take a shot get your camera out and these flowers they're all just doing this little dance here and I'm like I am never going to get a shot with these flowers moving and so I sometimes look for flowers that are either shorter or maybe they're going up against another branch which is really solid so that one happens to be nice and steady or maybe if I'm really tricky I'll take a stick and I'll try to steady that flower so it's not moving as much in the wind in fact there's a device called a plan and what you do is you sit your tripod up near your little flower you clipped one in on your tripod and you clipped the other end onto the stem of the flower or whatever it is that you're shooting and that way it holds it as steady as your tripod and then you can clamp it and nothing's been harmed and you release the flour back into the wild using out of focus subjects for framing could be canonised because we do have that shallow depth of field we do have this out of focus area to work with one of my favorite macro shots is not shot with a macro lens this is shot with a three hundred millimeter lands and an extension to we talked about those in the focusing section yesterday and so here I have I think a twenty five millimeter extension tube on my three hundred millimeter lens which has a minimum focusing distance of probably five feet but I think I got it down to around three feet or so and getting the camera down very very low to the ground keeping a very simple background just so out of focus grass in the background here is a short video clip and you can see that there's just this ever so slight movement in this flower and that's going to be enough that I wouldn't bother photographing this lower at all just that little bit of movement and so you have to be very very critical about how much movement you're getting because a lot of times when you're shooting the's macro shots you are shooting at a modest aperture maybe f eight eleven sixteen which means your shutter speeds are often going to be down around a half second in length and so a little bit of movement like this is no go you're going to be out of focus and this is why a number of my fact macro shots feature very stout little things you know they're not going to be blowing around in the wind okay let's add a few humans to the photograph all right adding the human element humans go out in nature that's what we're doing and so photographing people out there what do you want to look for well kind of my idea is first get a great shot and then just have somebody stand in and so if it's a good shot without them in the photograph that's a good starting point talk about the rule of thirds will be doing that more in the composition section but most of you already know about getting that person out of the middle of the frame keeping the area around the people very simple you want those people to stand out and not have a cluttered background a tree growing out of their head is the old example and then try to find ah lighting situation which really highlights the people out there and so it was kind of funny at the wave I'm gonna talk more about this location later on I had his shot lined up which I was really liking the composition and they're walking through and they're like oh we're really sorry for getting in your shot I go no you guys look great come on up side by side because they added a nice element of scale and they're so good example of just having a nice shot and then having somebody walk in and I'm perfectly happy having them walk through my shot doing some mountain climbing in colorado had these clouds kind of casting the shadows and sunbeams and having nobody said I'm hiking with right there in the sunshine you can see that the background behind them is a very clean area we don't have lines kind of crossing right through their heads with their bodies down in the slot canyons in utah using a backlit situate having that human element kind of small a little off center can look very good a big part of my personal history is doing a lot of adventures in great locations and I had the whole thing where I was taking lots of photos on these epic trips that I would take and then we were doing slide shows so we're doing a lot of photography out there and so were really trying to show the environment that we're in and this is my buddy tim and we're biking across one of the interior roads of iceland which is a very rough and remote place and we wanted to show that desolation so we want to have a sense of the place that they are and I've done a lot of self timer shots long before they were called selfie shots and I have my own idea of what looks good and I'm kind of tired of the stupid grin self timer shots I'm going to show you some alternates to that and then capturing just the simple little things that are going on uh can be very very nice and the implied adventure I'll I'll show you what I mean by that and so first off just having a sense of scale and place and this is often times where I want the person fairly small in the frame big enough to recognize as a person and what they're doing but to show the desolation of this location the self timer without the stupid grant and so in this case we would set the camera up and then we would go about doing something that we would naturally be doing anyway and this was a very lucky shot in iceland because we were dealing with a lot of wind and I set the camera up off the side of the roads right in front of a bush and it just happened to be really blowing right when the shot took place and so you get this nice blur and in the story we were trying to tell we were trying to tell was that we were battling headwinds and this this photo tells that story to some degree another self timer shot where we're just cameron casually capturing what we're doing anyway where you were eating dinner in the lee of the boat here trying to stay out of the wind and it's a self timer it's a setup it's kind of a fake shot but it's just like okay what do we normally doing well we're just eating dinner now well I'm just going to set up a camera and take a picture and you forget that we're going to be taking it don't look at the camera and give us a stupid smile and this is our implied in adventure and so just having the bike's mounted on the car at night leaving the camera out of camp site shooting about a four hour exposure you can get a sense that okay there's something else going on and so if you are going out on these great adventures getting that ten shot out there just to kind of get a sense of the environment even though there's no person in it it lets you know where you are and what you're doing so I'm just gonna come up I have a few final questions here to ggo let's see let's do a little rapid fire this goes back for the last one the one with all the damn questions exactly okay jimmy hartford when you're talking about macro which by the way if you would like this man to teach a macro class put in your request grave like that live dot com slash requests forget what it is actually that's funny okay so what is the approximate working distance for macro well macro there is like technical definitions and it is one toe one or life size this was a little bit easier to explain in the days of film where you would photograph let's say a dime or a coin and it comes out to be exactly the same size on film and so we can still use that terminology it's just not easy because we can't take the negative and put it down right next to the coin to see that it's the same side when it actually comes to talking about working distance in most cases we're talking about less than one meter we're talking about a foot or two in medications but in some cases it's down in the inches okay fantastic okay speaking of macro eduardo mendoza john do you ever shoot macro without using a tripod no I just I wanted to think if there is any situation I've shot some stuff that air kind of close up the problem is is that the closer you get to a subject the larger the magnification is and the more it magnifies your movement and I know both canon nikon and probably some other manufacturers have stabilized macro lenses but there's just too much movement going on and you can get kind of close with those stabilized lenses but if you really want to do it right you pretty much have to be on a tripod macro photography with subjects that move that's like a whole nother world of something like if you wanted to get ah bumble bee in flight in macro that is a that is a huge challenge there and so most everything that you should in macro is not moving and if it's not moving the best way you're going to get a photograph is if your cameras not moving okay one more quickly on that same thing from clem nichols would you ever use a flash to negate the effects of movement or win when shooting macro that's possible but certainly possible but that does kind of open up the whole door with you do get into macro photography about lighting your subject because when you are photographing something that's very close it there's a good chance that there is not good lighting going on it part of the problem is that you're so physically close to it you're blocking the light on it and so there is a whole science and art to lighting macro subjects and that dives off into a whole another region crated five dot com slash suggests that that's what it is so just that class okay going back to son from twelve oh mighty can the sun can directs on damage the sensor and ten people voted on this definite it's one of the things that if you look in the instruction manual don't point your camera at the sign and we've clearly seen some photos where I have voted pointed my camera at the sun and it depends a little bit on how bright sunny is because when the sun is setting on the horizon it's going through a lot of atmosphere and is much much weaker in the sky and sew it it's no problem at all if you're shooting sunrises and sunsets and it's nice orange color to it I would not have a problem taking a picture of the sun in almost any situation but it could damage your camera could damage your sensor it can damage your eyes especially if it's any sort of bright situation and of course the one that everyone should know about but I feel like I still need to mention it is if you're going to shoot in eclipse that requires very special setup you do not want to just point your camera and look at the sun of the eclipse you could do serious damage mostly to your eyes is what I can about it but I mean it could potentially damage your cameras well you know there's not a lot of up options for shooting there's not a lot of good situations where you'd shoot the sun really high up in the sky and when it is down lower on the horizon and it's cutting through that atmosphere I don't think there's a problem all right one final question before we go to break this one had a lot of votes to any tips on how to avoid flaring or sunspots when talk about shooting sunrises and sunsets definitely could be a problem and so in that case using lens hood's or lens shades on your lands sometimes they're not enough because the sun is just out of frame and so I'll have to hold my hand up I was up in rainier and I was shooting almost straight into the sun and I had to have my hand like in the frame and then I had to crop it out later because that's how far in I had to have it I don't like cropping in but there's no other way to get the shot and so that's that's my best suggestion that fantastic

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Beautiful landscapes are all around us – they are a joy to experience, but a challenge to capture in a single photo. In Nature and Landscape Photography, you’ll learn the essential tools and techniques for taking photographs that reflect the splendor of landscapes and the captivating details of nature.

In this class, award-winning photographer John Greengo will use illustrations, animations, and photographs of destinations from around the world to teach you the thought process behind great nature photography. You’ll learn which gear is suited to the environment you want to shoot and how to plan for ideal light and composition. John will help you master exposure and focus so you get a better shot in camera and improve your edits by taking you through hands-on photo critiques.

From complicated cameras to challenging environments, several obstacles stand in the way of you taking a photograph that reflects the landscape as you see it. This class will help you take nature and landscape photographs that reflect your unique perspective.

This course is part of the landscape tutorials series. 

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Composition Keynote

Equipment Keynote

Exposure Keynote

Focus Keynote

Light Keynote

Subject Keynote

Timing Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Thomas Hamlin

Most of nature's beauty has been photographed by lots of people over the years. However, nothing compares to actually visiting famous places, buildings, mountains, etc. and taking your own photographs. John Greengo provides the necessary equipment information, photographic principles, and techniques in a manner which inspires you to put in the extra effort to take the best nature photographs that you can with the gear that you have. His unique illustrations, actual real life photographs, and easily understood explanations are top notch. I highly recommend this outstanding course. I have several of John Greengo's photography courses, and I highly recommend them all. His vast experience with film and digital photography, gained through traveling and working with some well known photographers, gives his courses a unique perspective.

a Creativelive Student

I love this course, John. It is one of my all time favorites. First of all I loved your effort scale. I knew as soon as you went through the scale that you are a guy that I want to listen to. To me, the effort part IS the fun part of photography. When you asked the question about one wish ... the first thing that came to my mind was that I wish I had more time for photography. I like the technology, but I do not wish for any special powers. To me, that would take the challenge away. Photography is wonderful because every subject challenges the photographer to get the angle right, the light right, the settings right ... I love that challenge. I think you do too, John, and that is why this course is so special. The attention you pay to every detail comes from the drive you have to meet the challenges with every thing you've got. That is why your class is so special. Your work ethic is exceptional. SandraNightski

a Creativelive Student

While delving more thoroughly into Nature and Landscape photography in a smaller format, John Greengo provides us with an amazing companion to his outstanding courses Fundamentals Of Digital Photography and Travel Photography. Here he gives us another necessary treatise to study before packing our gear and heading out in a car, a plane, a boat (or just for a long hike), and it’s as entertaining as the others. Thank you again John Greengo and Creative Live for these expert and brilliantly illustrated programs. I just hope you keep finding more subjects to photograph and provide the instructions for.