“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Share with us a bit about your style of photography:
I’ve always been drawn to nature and the outdoors ever since I was a child. I grew up reading Little House on the Prairie and would imagine myself as one of the characters laughing and playing in fields of wildflowers. As I got older and lived several different places, I fell in love with so many aspects of the outdoors; the ocean, mountains, forests…you name it. I try to photograph nature as I see it which is a beautiful, ethereal place with endless amounts of details just waiting to be discovered. If you look closely, there is a whole order to the outside world that I love and admire. I love to try and capture the tiny details in a soft, delicate type of way.
Why are you passionate about this topic?
As time has gone on and especially since technology has entered our world, we as a human race seem to be drifting away from embracing the natural world. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of social media and tv, schedules and maintaining our busy lives, that it’s so easy to forget to slow down and go for a walk or sit in a beautiful place outside for a while. Yet this simple act is so beneficial to us physically and mentally. When I go out and photograph my surroundings even if just for 10 or 15 minutes, I can’t help but feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Now that I am a mom, my 6 month old comes with me in the ergo and watches for a while before falling asleep for a nap. I pray she too will embrace the beauty of nature as she grows. I hope my work in this genre of photography inspires other people to go outside and take a closer look around.
When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
I’ve always loved this genre of photography. When I was little and my parents and I would go to the Botanical Gardens, my dad would always let me shoot a few pictures with his camera. When I got older and discovered macro photography, I was truly enamored. I was so interested in giving it a try, but did not have the money to afford a macro lens at the time. Instead I decided to invest in $15 extension tubes on eBay and fell completely in love. Those are what I still use to this day. I adore the softness and artistic edge they give and feel they represent my voice as a photographer perfectly.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique or subject/topic?
- First and foremost…be patient! The draw back of extension tubes, should you decide to give them a try, is that the focus is very challenging to nail. I usually hold my breath while shooting or prop my elbow on an object if possible. The more you get used to them though, the easier they become. I also take several shots to ensure I get one with a sharp focus, because even the slightest of movements will alter the image. I love the challenge though and that it forces me to slow down and really pay attention. Don’t give up on yourself if you don’t get it right away! It’s SO rewarding when you do.
- Shoot in manual and only move the camera to obtain focus. With the extension tubes I use, I am limited as to what functions I can use on my camera body. I cannot auto focus or adjust my aperture, so you should be confident in manual mode. I adjust my exposure by adjusting the shutter speed and leave the ISO alone once it’s set since I am shooting in natural light outdoors 9 times out of 10. My focusing capabilities become restricted too, so I move myself and my camera to obtain optimal focus.
- Try focusing on different aspects of your subject. Each time I find something I’d like to shoot, let’s say a flower in this case, I will try several shots with one area in focus, then switch to another and take several more shots. If shooting a flower, I might first try focusing on the very outer edge of the petals for a more abstract look, then the centre of the flower to create leading lines from the petals, then from overhead to change the plane of focus. Try all different angles and perspectives to focus on and see what you like. Often I am surprised by the angle and focus point I like best, and sometimes I like more than one, because changing one of these factors adds a completely different feeling to the image.
- Take notice in the details. This might sound obvious since we’re talking about macro photography, but what I love most about this type of photography is that it allows you to see subjects differently than you may be able to with the naked eye. It’s tempting to shoot a flower just head on as a flower, but what other details can you focus on to make the image more interesting? What textures, shapes and colours can you find with your lens? Also, my extension tubes come with 3 different sized rings. Try shooting with different lengths or combine rings to see how this changes your view of the subject.
- Have fun and don’t take it too seriously! Don’t worry about all the “rules” and technical aspects. If you miss focus, that’s okay! Don’t get frustrated. I look at macro, like I look at freelensing…it should be a fun extension of your creativity. Embrace your inner artist and let your unique vision shine through!
About the photographer:
Jenny Diaz is predominately a nature and macro photographer living in Toronto, Canada with her daughter, husband and their miniature dachshund fur baby. Her work has been shown in some local exhibits around her city. Now that she is a mom, she has a new found passion for documenting her family life as well as continuing her regular nature photography. When she doesn’t have a camera attached to her hand, Jenny enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family and travelling as much as time and money will allow.