BBC NEWS Feature and Equipment FAQ
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
This week has been absolutely unreal!
I was first contacted by Tink at BBC Wales beacuse she had seen some of my Garden Macro Adventures on social media. It came as a surprise that folks may be interested and we set a date for her and Gwyndaf to visit my garden for the day.
The day was really fun! The highlight for me was seeing Tink and Gwyndaf immersed in the macro realm, and discovering the secret beings and beautiful plants that exist all around us.
The video and article was shared and the response was completely unexpected by me. The hundreds of messages of support and the display of kindness is truly humbling knowing that so many people love macro and nature, and the many newcomers to macro photography after watching our video has truly been a highlight of my entire career.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for taking the time to connect with me, I am trying to resond to each message...it may take a while!
Photography equipment has been a popular topic, it would be impossible for me address everyone's queries but I can share what I use and some insights as to why, hopefully this will help!
Truthfully most cameras (ideally) with interchangable lenses can be used for macro photography and ulitmately our budget will decide which route we take.
Personally, I use an OM-1 by OM System and the Olympus EM1 Mk3. As a professional I need the very best equiment and these are super duper for my needs.
These cameras both have in built image stabilizers which help me a lot by reducing camera shake when shooting hand held macro. Both have in camera focus stacking too! a very handy tool for us macro shooters! The OM-1 is my preffered camera out of the two, here's a link to an article of mine over on Digital Camera World that goes into more detail. https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/uk/features/i-think-the-olympus-om-1-is-amazing-for-macro-photography-heres-5-reasons-why
For those who are on a tighter budget, the Em 5 series are awesome, as are the Em10, which makes for a great starting point.
The used market can also be rewarding, but as always be wary. Lots of camera shops stock used equipment and some will offer warranty too.
A tripod may be useful if your camera doesn't have stabilty and you are struggling with the shutter speeds/camera shake.
Micro four thids sensors allow for a closer view than 35mm sensors which is a real bonus for macro photography.
Macro lenses are specialist equipment and will ususally need to purchased seperately, unlike the kit lenses that come with some cameras.
If you are interested in insect photography, I would recommend a macro lens with a focal lenght of at least 90mmn. Using longer lenses means that we can be further from our subjects and reduce the risks of them flapping away!
With this in mind I use the Olympus 60mm Macro Lens It has a field of view of 120mm on my camera and I love it.
Shorter macro lenses are very much workable, I often use my 30mm macro lens (60mm equivalent) to allow for a wider field of view. We have to get much closer to our subjects which may impact our keep rates but the pictures can be really cool.
Natural lighting can offer us some amazing photo opportunities! especially at first and last light.
When we start photographing small subjects, it is challenging to achieve decent lighting. Especially bugs with shiny shells and exoskeletons because we often end up with wierd looking highlights.
I use an Olympus Fl900R flash and flash diffuser by Cygnustech, here's a link to Brendan who hand makes the diffusers https://www.instagram.com/cygnustech/?hl=en
A flash will stop motion at lower shutter speeds. Think of a stroble light at a disco party and how it seems to freeze movement. It works in a similar way.
The diffuser softens the light and we don't get harsh shadows and over exposed highlights.
I hope that this helps a little, if you are interested in purchasing OM System or Olympus equipment, feel free to use the link below, it helps to support my adventures but at no extra cost.
All the best, see you soon!