If you have any interest in macro photography, it’s worth checking out this thread from FredMiranda: Macro setups. I wanted to see how other photographers were setting up their flashes for macro shots – I’m doing some research after getting a major dose of inspiration. Some of the setups are hilarious, just from the standpoint of what kind of crap we’re willing to rubber band/velcro/tape onto our very expensive cameras and lenses. Paper towels and cardboard are cheap and ugly…but they also work. (There’s also an older gent who posts a couple of his setups, which look like something out of the Terminator films – holy overkill, Batman!)
And here’s the site that gave me the aforementioned inspiration: Nature’s Place at beingmark.com. Coming to us from Down Under, Mark has some spectacular macro shots and a very refreshing nature-friendly philosophy to match. Best of all, he’s got a terrific write up that walks through his whole philosophy and methodology for macro photography. Right now I think his work is the gold standard for insect macros and I’m absorbing as many of his tips as I can into my own shooting.
On a completely different note, David Hobby has a very nice piece over at Strobist, reminiscing about “Analog Photoshop” and all the darkroom tricks that formed the basis for the software we’re all now dependant on. My darkroom experience was pretty basic and limited – I was just getting really good at estimating exposure times for printing when I left, so I’ve never even heard of most of the stuff he talks about before. Pre-exposing film? Different development cocktails and tricks? It’s all news to me. But even with my limited experience, I found it to be a nice moment of nostalgia. Working under the safe lights, alone, into the early morning; the smell of the chemistry; perhaps most of all, the constant excitement of watching an image appear on paper – and then having to figure out how to get it the way you wanted it, all by hand.
Even then I realized that a darkroom was inefficient – I could computer-process an entire shoot in the time it took to make a couple of finished prints. But like most old art forms, there’s a definite romance to it. I may never work in a darkroom again, but I’m very glad that I was able to, at least for a little while.