Macro Motion

Most macro photography is done with a dedicated macro lens offering at least 1:1 magnification, and on a tripod. Not infrequently a focusing rail is used as the depth of field is so small. Images obtained using this method are pin sharp with exceptional clarity.

Unfortunately these images are also often very static. A high shutter speed is commonly used to freeze motion which is the antithesis of this site and our philosophy.

To convey motion in macro photography, we use the camera hand held so we can pan and move with the subject. A slow shutter speed is used (usually 1/30 to 1/60) and autofocus is set to AI servo. As a result the images are not pin sharp, but they convey a sense of movement and life not apparent in conventional macros. I use shutter priority as the light will change as the subject moves around, and I want to control the shutter speed.

To pan is not difficult if you know the speed and direction of subject, like in motor racing. However to pan with a insect or a butterfly which moves seemingly randomly is difficult at best. Nevertheless, by observing for a few minutes, you can try and predict patterns of movement.

This image was shot at f9, 1/40, ISO50 with a 100mm macro lens with IS.

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