Guest post by Robert O’Toole

Honey bee hovering over a Calandrinia flower. The 180mm macro’s small angle of view
makes it my favorite lens for clean smooth backgrounds.

Nikon D800E, Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX APO Macro HSM lens, single Nikon SB-R200 flash with diffuser 1:8 power, handheld, Manual mode 1/250th sec, f8, ISO 500.

Geranium flower close up. Tech details same as above.

Daisy full frame close up. Focus was critical since depth of field at this magnification ratio is paper thin.

Tech details same as above except for f5.6 and ISO 100.

Daisy close up image crop at 100% view or actual pixel view in Photoshop. Hard to believe this image was made handheld with a single flash.

Calandrinia flower close up. The 180’s long working distance makes lighting much easier than shorter focal lengths. Tech details same as above except for ISO 250.

Calandrinia close upimage crop at 100% view or actual pixel view in Photoshop. This level of image detail in this image is amazing but when you consider that is was made handheld it is almost unbelievable.

Macro photography tips

  1. Shoot handheld or with a monopod for the best flexibility and speed.

  2. Photograph early, late or on cloudy days, use a diffuser if you have to shoot in bright sun.

  3. Use flash for the best sharpness and most detail possible and always diffuse the flash.

  4. Balance daylight and flash power for natural looking images and to avoid dark backgrounds.

  5. Use the longest lens possible for clean backgrounds and the most working distance.

  6. Improve your skills, vision and use the best techniques, do not get caught up buying expensive complicated equipment, keep it simple.

My equipment list:
Nikon D800E, MB-D12 with EN-EL18 battery and BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover
Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX APO Macro HSM lens
Nikon SB-R200 Wireless Remote Speedlight diffused
Nikon SX-1 Attachment Ring for SB-R200
Nikon SY-1-72 72mm Adapter Ring
Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eyepiece