I used to think I was very observant. And then I bought a macro lens for my DSLR.
You’ve landed on one of 28 posts about photography and how to improve your skills. If you’re a creative, blogger, or photography enthusiast, you’ve landed in the right spot!
Butterflies Have Feathers?
“And now…” the camp director paused for dramatic effect, “…we bring you funny things we heard today!” He smiled at the group of campers as we settled into the hard wooden benches in the basement of the lodge.
“I wonder who said something funny today!” I nudged my best friend in the side with my elbow.
“Shh!” she scolded, “We’ll miss it.”
“Bonnie from Cabin 11 reported overhearing one of her campers say, ‘Don’t touch the butterfly’s wings! You’ll hurt it’s feathers!” The campers and staff roared with laughter.
My heart stilled. I knew which camper from Cabin 11 had said that. My big sister. I could see her across the dim room, head bowed in embarrassment. She had told me what she said at supper.
The laughter seemed cruel. I knew butterflies didn’t have feathers, but my sister must have known something I didn’t. She filled her library bag with books on science. I filled mine with books on horses.
No matter how much others laughed, I knew my sister as a very observant person. I chose to believe her. For years, I thought butterflies had little feathers.
Observant or Clueless?
Decades later, I wandered around a butterfly exhibit with my new macro lens and DSLR camera. I snapped photo after photo, trying to get the perfect shot of constantly fluttering insects. When I loaded the photos onto my computer, astonishment filled me.
Sure enough, butterflies, when seen up close, look like they have tiny feathers on their wings. A quick internet search explained their true make up, but they did, indeed, look like miniscule feathers.
I wondered what else I’d missed by not being observant throughout my life. The more up-close photos I take, the more I believe in creation and a Creator. If you observe tiny things up close, a whole new world opens up—a world that points to a Creator.
You can do macro photography, or up-close photography with just about any camera. Just a note to the purists—I know, technically, close-up photography and macro photography aren’t the same thing.
Whether you have time to delve into the world of true macro photography (this guide will get your started), or just want to explore close-up photography, you will learn to be more observant.
Bugs don’t just look like nasty things you want to swat away. Observant photographers will notice the intricacies of bug eyes. Flowers don’t just look like posies and roadside weeds. Observant photographers will discover the flowers within the flower. Rain doesn’t just ruin your picnic. Observant photographers will capture a world of magnification in the drops.
Get out there and get close to your subject!
DSLR Cameras. You’ll want to use a tripod or something to hold your camera still. Adjust your aperture value to something small, like f-16 or f-22. Set your camera to manual focus and change the position of the camera until your subject comes into focus. Depending on the size of your subject, you may need a flash.
Point-and-shoot cameras. Your camera should have a setting with a flower on it. Use this setting to get the closest shots possible of your subject.
iPhones. Even camera phones can take great close-up shots! If you have one of the pro iPhones, use the 2X magnification and get as close to your subject as possible.
Come Back Tomorrow
In tomorrow’s installment of the 28 Days Behind the Lens series, I’ll share the mental benefits of capturing peaceable moments.