Wide apertures

The alternative way to get blue backgrounds in our macro photography is to leave our shutter speeds alone and open up the lens's aperture. This removes the problems of blurry images from camera movement, but at the expense of depth of field. We still need to adhere to many of the rules of slow shutter

Balanced light makes cryptic subjects easier to see. The outline of this thorny seahorse can be seen easily against the blue background of un-flash-lit sand. Nikon D100 + 60mm lens. Subal housing. 1/45th sec @ f16. 2 Subtronic Alphas on 11 4 and 118th power.

speed macro photography (listed above) when it comes to judging exposure and in subject selection. However, the most important aspect to concentrate on in wide aperture macro is focus. With the lens opened right up, depth of field is minute and the smallest error in focusing immediately ruins a shot.

On the plus side, shallow depth of field gives images a more three dimensional look. The out of focus foreground and background also highlight the main subject making it pop out of the image. We can accentuate this effect in our subject selection by choosing a subject or shooting angle that creates a large distance between the foreground and background, which throws the background even further out of focus.

Wide aperture macro does not only have to be used for balanced light images, and can be effective in flash dominated images. Here we do not need to be so careful with subject versus background brightness, as everything is being lit by our flash guns.

The main tip I have is to seek out strong, solid colours for backgrounds. The shallow depth of field means that we will not see details in the background, but we will still see its colour.

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