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When the weather is nice (and sometimes even when it’s not!) it’s great to get out with your macro lens and do some outdoor close-ups. Us macro photographers can often fall into the trap of photographing only bugs and flowers, and there's nothing wrong with this, but there are so many more hidden treasures to be found. In this tutorial I hope to give you a few examples that will help you to look beyond the ordinary.
In most outdoor spaces you’ll find decay. Look for peeling paint and rust for a really interesting closeup of amazing texture and colour:
There are repeating patterns to be found too, and a bit of decay on those can make a great focal point. This is the grill of an old barbecue:
I tried to have the decay in focus along the top line of the ‘rule of thirds’ grid. Having the rest out of focus and those leading lines going up to the focal point works really well. The muted colours and ‘pop’ of orange also add a nice touch.
The Ordinary Can Be Interesting
Twigs are lying around in most outdoor spaces and the bark makes a wonderful close-up.
If you have a woodpile for a fire, the uniformity of the logs can really add interest to a picture as well as providing great texture.
I think keys and locks always look great in closeups, especially with a
great texture behind them like the shed here. Try focus stacking to get
both the lock and key in focus whilst retaining some shallow depth of field for the
‘Different’ Plant Life
We know the standard shots of pretty flowers and cute mushrooms but look for less attractive plants for a really unique look.
The jagged leaves of the holly add interest here and the rest of the plant in the background makes excellent bokeh. Try and get the sun behind the rest of the plant for a lovely backlit, warm look.
I found this moss growing on the window ledge of a shed. Looking around garden structures and rockeries can reveal some really fascinating plants that may usually be overlooked. This almost looks like an exotic sea plant!
weather you can find amazing shots out of doors. If you’re less of a wimp than
me you can explore spider infested greenhouses and sheds to get some great
pictures of webs or tools. Lift up rocks to find moss and small creatures but
be sure to put everything back where you find it to keep the little guys happy. Don't be put off if it's not warm or sunny, there are amazing colours to be found in plants in autumn and frost and snow make great macro photos in winter. If you don't fancy going out in the rain or it's bit too chilly for you, be sure to check out my macro
inspirations in the home tutorial for something to do in any weather.