35mm Macro Photography

One of the reasons I purchased a Pentax KP, a DSLR camera, is that I want to be able to do occasional up-close images of flowers, etc. when I’m out walking and making general landscape images.  For a general purpose lens I chose the Pentax 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited lens.  I wanted this lens for the effective 50mm focal length for general images and for the reasons that it is small.

A potential problem was that a 35mm lens is on the short side for macro work since it requires getting up real close to the subject.  This is only a problem when I can’t get close to the subject.  As you can see in these images that is not a problem for product photography and I’m hoping that is also the case for flowers; but it won’t work for insect photography since getting that close would scare the insect and it would run/fly away.

I also have another problem in that I don’t want to carry and use a tripod when out walking.  Without a tripod I have found that I have a hard time holding the camera absolutely still when bending over to photograph a flower, but I’m working on ways to get the picture.  That is one of the reasons that I wanted the weather resistant heavier camera with a good hand grip.  It is easier for me to hold it steady, but it is still a problem.

I am in the process of checking out another change to enhance my chances of getting the picture.  If I can hold the focus point on the spot I want to be in focus I think that using continuous focus rather than single focus might help if I move a little.  I’m still checking that out, but in the above images I used auto focus (AF.A) while trying it.  With AF.A the camera will switch back and forth between AF.C and AF.S. 

Another feature that I will try is to shift the camera to a fast frame rate and take a bunch of images.  If I do that it will only focus on the first shot and then not change the focus as I tend to move the focus point around due to my not being able to hold the camera still.  In addition, if the wind is slightly moving the flower, the area of focus will be shifting as the flower moves and I might be able to select the best image, in terms of where the DoF is sufficient for the focus I want.

These issues are not a problem if I’m at my computer doing product images since I can keep checking what I’m getting after downloading the files to my computer and then reshoot until I get it right.  I can’t do that while out walking and photographing flowers.