The joy of macro.

Staedtler Mars micro 0.7mm mechanical pencil

Who doesn’t love a mechanical pencil? I already have several but could not resist this one when it was less than half price in our local Rymans.

Recently, I have been enjoying a revitalised enthusiasm for photography, prompted by the acquisition of a new Nikon Coolpix A900. New camera day! I was attracted by a host of exciting features, particularly the articulated screen, the ability to shoot macro from 1cm, a massive x35 optical zoom with Vibration Reduction, (Nikon’s anti-shake), 4K video, 20 million pixels, Wi-Fi connectivity and many more. It was some years since I last bought a new camera, if you do not include mobile phones and things have move on a lot in that time.

There are a few things that it doesn’t have, such as the ability to shoot in RAW, or a touch screen, which I decided that I could live without. Exposure compensation settings are readily to hand, as are white balance settings and colour adjustment. It is wonderful to be able to have white paper looking white, even if taken under artificial light in the depths of winter.

It is the ability to take macro shots with such ease, that I have found most exciting. Even hand-held shots seem acceptably sharp but with a small tripod, combined with a two second self-timer delay setting it is better still. Here is my new pencil again.

Getting up close with the Staedtler mars 0.7mm mechanical pencil.

Here is the production date stamp on the elegant black and chrome guilloche Cross Century II fountain pen:

Date stamp on the collar of a Cross Century II fountain pen.

Obviously it is tempting to try the other extreme and see how the telephoto performs. I tried a quick shot of the moon, with a manual exposure and a few stops of under exposure. This was the result:

The moon over London. The farthest subject that I have photographed so far.

Finally, one of the subjects that I wanted to photograph better, was paper. Not ideal with a mobile phone. I wanted to be able to capture the texture that you see, particularly under high magnification and with a low wintry sun slanting in to add contrast to the ups and downs of the paper surface. I shall continue experimenting with this but am always impressed and appreciative of the professional looking close-up photography that I see on fellow bloggers’ sites. Working during the week, there is limited time to enjoy the daylight hours at this time of year but sometimes it all comes together with a bit of sunlight at the weekend. Here was one of my early efforts. I used to think that Paperchase soft flexi notebooks had very smooth paper but under high magnification, the surface looks more like a newly plastered wall. Most of my fountain pens love it.

Paperchase note book. Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler, with Jinhao X450 medium nib and Aurora Blue Black ink.


12 thoughts on “The joy of macro.

  1. Nice photos! There’s certainly an art to taking a good macro shot, isn’t there?

    I have to admit that I take all the photos for my blog with a Samsung Galaxy S7. I’ve learned more about photography with this ridiculous smartphone than any of my previous cameras, and lord knows I’ve tried to improve my picture taking for years now. Perhaps it has to do with the immediacy of the smartphone UI. The S7 pro mode allows you to adjust every setting, and you see the results instantly. My poor Canon S95 has been gathering dust, but perhaps I should revisit it with my newfound knowledge!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would assume for documentation – in particular your approach with the paper surface, wich I will may be steal from you and use it myself – you did a quite good choice. I also struggle very often with the white balance for fotographs where it is important to set it properly (ink reviews for example). Actually, I use a smartphone camera and a mirrorless with a macrolens but to set everything up is sometimes a bit awfull …
    Greetings from Norway!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent macro shots. Yes, a tripod is absolutely essential if one wants razor sharpness. I even use one with my phone when doing close-ups, thanks to a phone clamp I picked up at the dollar store. Isn’t it amazing to be able to focus down to 1cm so easily? I remember shelling out big bucks for a macro lens/extension tube combo for my camera, back in the days of film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PS: I love how you have a Jinhao nib in the Conklin! I bought a 5-pack of those nibs on eBay, and they wrote better than quite a few more expensive nibs did out of the box.

      Liked by 1 person

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