OK, I deserve an award for that title.
I must say that of all the photography lenses I’ve bought and tried this year, the macro lens is by far the toughest one to use properly. In fact, I still don’t know how to do it, but I am learning. Getting a proper focus is a real challenge when working so close to the subject, and often has to be done manually; getting enough light on the subject is also difficult. It’s not as simple as sticking the macro lens onto the camera and walking around in the backyard, which of course is how I thought it would work.
Up above is a pic of the ring light, which I attached to my macro lens in the hopes that it would light up subjects better for shooting; it worked to an extent, but unless I was already in a well-lit area it didn’t project enough light to make much of a difference without increasing the ISO and dialing up the exposure compensation. Even with the ring light on, a lot of my shots were too dark to see.
The lens is also very heavy, which made focusing a clear shot difficult as I struggled to hold the camera steady. The ring light added a bit of weight, but it’s a cheap plastic one so not too much – the lens itself is just weighty and makes my arm hurt. One thing I learned for next time is to whip out the monopod and use it when working with this lens; funny since I thought I’d need that for the telephoto lens that turned out not to need it. I also think next time I’ll try setting up for macro shots first; maybe a table in my office with all my portrait lights aimed at it. Then I can bring things into that space to shoot them rather than wandering around with my camera. Or perhaps venturing outside with the ring light will be enough; I meant to do that today but forgot and took all my photos inside instead.
I also had to use a lot of manual focus with this lens, which I’ve never done before, but the autofocus spends way too much time searching for something to latch onto when working upclose, and when trying to use it I’d end up having to back so far away that it negated the purpose of using the lens. This was another thing that made my arm hurt pretty quickly with all the twisting of the lens back and forth. Which reminds me that this past week at work I needed to take photos of some events, and I used the school’s cameras which are Canon Rebels, and they were so light to carry and shoot with it was amazing. Then I saw the results and was sorely disappointed, not that anyone else noticed. But I am definitely spoiled by my Canon 7D, even though my right arm is going fall off eventually because of it.
I’ll close with the one shot I took today that I think was pretty awesome; I got a nice sharp focus and an interesting composition at once, which was rare for the day. And I’ll also say that there are only ten more days of school before the kids get out, then only ten more days until I am done for summer, so yay. This has been a really tough year for me professionally, and I hope things are looking up, but that remains to be seen. I’m going into a big old mystery next year, so I better rest up in June and July. Good times!