For most of us, it’s cold and dark outside. But nature still provides more than enough light that, with a little tinfoil ingenuity, can generate amazing, professional-grade macro photographs. Here are our favorite entries to this week’s Shooting Challenge.
I don’t have a macro lens, but this seemed like a fun challenge so I still wanted to participate. I enlisted my boyfriend’s help and we headed to a park on an unseasonably warm and sunny January day with the supplies. I followed the instructions provided in the tutorial using a vase filled with seltzer water, my homemade reflector of a pizza box and tin foil, and white paper as a backdrop. I tried a few different types of fruit (lime, kiwi, and blood orange) but I liked the vibrant colors in the shots of the blood orange. Since I didn’t have a macro, I got in really close while my boyfriend held the reflector. I was really happy with the level of detail my non-macro lens produced! I did some post-processing in Photoshop and gave the water a hint of a bluish hue. I shot this with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel, EF-S 18-55mm lens, 1/250 exposure, f13.
I dragged my bookshelf out of my office, onto our balcony at lunchtime. I used this as a platform and a lump of playdough to keep the pencils in place. My background? You guessed it. A “Baywatch” surfboard. I liked the yellow against the red – what can I say? As my reflector, I used a piece of foam board. That’s about it really. Oh yeah, dummy didn’t bring his tripod to work, so this was done handheld, which is a very stupid endeavor for Macro shooting. I’m lucky I got something remotely useful. Some curves, cloning, and a sharpen in PS CS2, & voila. Seriously, though. That lens sucks.Canon 50D, 70-300mm Quantaray w/ Macro setting (It’s a real POS)
f16 @ 1/200, ISO 640
– Creighton Matthews
For this shot I used a orchid that just started blooming yesterday, and a scrap of paper left over from book binding. This is my first submission to the Gizmodo Shooting Challenge, and I’m very excited how it turned out. I used my Canon Rebel XTi with the Canon Zoom Lens EF 100-300mm at 300m for 1/320, with the aperture set to 5.6.
– Cordelia Neff
Like the decidedly low-tech approach herein and Bryan Peterson is quickly becoming one of my go to authors…This is a combination of a j-cloth shammy, foil “kitchen carving board” reflector in a 4 inch vase. Canon 5D Mark II using a Canon 100mm Macro Lens – f16/ISO3200
I love using my foil reflector and this was a great excuse to get out into the sun today, which was unseasonably warm in Connecticut. This is an orange slice, clipped to a vase, with a darker orange t-shirt used as the backdrop, shot using my lens reversing ring. For post processing, I did a bit of sharpening and exposure editing, and the major color change, to different shades of pink, so it almost looks like a grapefruit. Exif: Nikon D3000, f/8.0, 1/1000sec., ISO 200
I feel as though a lot of people might be trying similar projects to what the video did (Using fruits and a carbonated water). I wanted mine to stand out. I want people to have to look at my picture and hold their attention for a few moments. What you see is simply a glass of water with clothing dye being dropped into it. The line you see across the background is the rim of the glass on the far side. The background I used is a sheet of ice and to finalize the “abstractness” I flipped the photo upside down. What looks abstract is really only upside-down, playing with your brain. I only did small-edits in Snapseed for contrast and saturation. I hope you all enjoy. Sony Alpha 320, Regular non-macro lens, ISO at 100
– Matthew Carr
I bought a reversal ring last spring intending to experiment with macro but had not used it much since. I had just last week determined to actually start using it more when this contest popped up. Perfect timing! I took this image just on the deck railing at a friends house. We were just shooting objects from around the house wondering if they’d have interesting textures up close. I found these cinnamon sticks in his basement. I liked how they looked like rusting pipes and metal or even thick scrolls. The reflector was held just to the left for the brief moments the sun wasn’t behind clouds that afternoon. Nikon D7000, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D with reversal ring. Shot at ISO 200, f/11, 1/15sec
– Bridge Riddell
Let me preface this with the observation that it’s a wee bit difficult to get overhead sun in January in the midwest. at noon i doubt the sun gets more that 45 degrees high in the sky. so… accounting for that this photo was taken mid-day with the sun at my back, with a whiskey glass sitting on a small square mirror to help light from the bottom as much as possible, with a poster-board sheet from hobby lobby that was colored a matte silver as well as a car windshield sun reflector. I used a burgundy sheet of posterboard for the background, The camera is a Sony Alpha A55 using a Tamron 70-200 lens at roughly 110mm with a +4 macro filter. I tried both sparkling water and 7-up and the 7-up definitely made for better bubbles. I ended up with a ton of shots and it was actually difficult to pick the shot to use and ended up having folks pick their favorite for me on facebook.
– Marvin Francois
Great turnout this week, and even better shots – thanks to everyone who braved the cold to hack together a studio-quality shot on a non-existant budget. You’ll find the full galleries below and biggie-sized shots on flickr.
Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a way to give $1 to a good cause every day.