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Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques

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“The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet, like the closing of a gigantic circle,” observes the ever-smaller hero of the 1950s movie The Incredible Shrinking Man. What I love most about close-up photography is the way size, scale and orientation gets lost as you photograph things that are smaller and closer.

If your subject gets small enough, you might as well be photographing the cosmos. To photograph close-up with this in mind is to show a fractal part of the universe that is whole and complete by itself. Close-up photography allows you to reveal small worlds of wonder to those who look at your photos.

Best of all, close-up worlds are right where you are. You don’t have to wander long distances through time and space to fi nd great subjects for close-up photography. Wherever you go, there you are; and there will certainly be something to train your macro lens on.

Speaking of macro lenses, I use the term “close-up” and “macro” more or less interchangeably, although some close-ups are not true macros. All macros are close-ups, but closeups from two or three feet away probably cannot be considered true macros, as they show more of the context of the photo.

This book is primarily about how to make creative close-ups. You’ll fi nd all you need to know to create technically accomplished close-ups, along with the stories and exposure data behind the photos shown. I’ve focused on visualizing and making close-up photos, rather than on magnifi cation charts and ratios (which are usually not helpful for actual picture-taking in the fi eld). Taking close-up photos does not have to be complicated. I’ve tried to keep things simple.

Two of my own close-up loves are fl owers and water drops. So it won’t surprise you to fi nd that many of the photos in this book are botanical images and photos of water drops. I hope you enjoy my photos and use the illustrated techniques to capture your favorite close-up subjects.

The more close-up photography you do, the more you’ll realize that the circle does indeed close. Please enjoy!

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