Macro Photography Without a Macro Lens

It has been a long time since I shot a macro image, and in all honesty, I am not a great macro photographer.

In 2017, I sold my macro lens, as I was making changes to my gear lineup, and it was a lens that was rarely used, and did not really suit my wants or needs any more.

However, occasionally arises an opportunity to shoot a pleasing macro image.

Late yesterday afternoon when we were outside in the rear yard, I noticed some appealing water droplets on the garden nasturtium.

The weather lately has been cold, wet, foggy and rainy, and this morning, the glimmer of the water droplets on the leaves presented an opportunity that I did not want to miss.

It can be hard to motivate oneself to pursue photography sometimes, but in this case, the effort level required was minimal.

The problem, however, is that I wanted to shoot a macro image, but I do not have a macro lens.

Despite that, I captured this image:

Image: Morning Dew

Morning Dew

It is not a true macro image, but it is decent enough and pleasing to me.

So, how did I capture this image?

Firstly, I selected my Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM lens.  This is an outstanding telephoto lens I have had for nearly 14 years.  It is tack-sharp, and it has a short minimum focus distance of around 90cm, which makes it ideal for frame-filling images.

It is certainly not a macro lens, but its moderate telephoto focal length, short minimum focus distance and the fact that it is compatible with Canon's telephoto extenders meant that I could attach it to my Canon Extender EF 2x II to increase the focal length to 270mm and shoot from a close distance relative to that focal length.

While I would have preferred to use an actual macro lens, I was still able to achieve a pleasing image, in which the composition allowed me to depict not only the main water droplet which served as the focal point, but also the surrounding water droplets, which added to the story and created interest beyond just the largest water droplet.

Inspiration does not come along very often; but today it did, and I improvised with my existing equipment, which was sufficient to create a pleasing semi-macro image without having access to an actual macro lens.

Inspiration combined with improvisation can yield pleasing images.

Published on Sunday, 12 July, 2020.