I recently happened to be in Watford and dropped in on the generally wonderful camera emporium of SRS, who happen to be probably the largest stockist of Pentax-related gear in the country. In exchange for a couple of old manual lenses and a battering to my credit card, I walked out with a snappily-named Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 and a second (and second-hand) Metz 48 AF-1 flash. The lens in particular is a wonderful piece of kit, and this photo is the result of my first proper session playing with my new toys.

Macro photography does make one think differently about objects, so when I was looking for a suitable background I ended up settling for one of the speaker grilles on my Macbook! To create some interest in a picture of a transparent object on a piece of grey aluminium with holes in, I’ve used both flashes on opposite sides of the subject with a red gel on the left side and a blue gel on the right. In fact, it looked like this:

You might also notice a large bit of foil stuck to the front of the camera – that is because I found that even with the on-board flash set to only work as a controller for the other two it still seemed to contribute a noticeable amount of boring, flat, white light that I didn’t want in the picture. The sticky tape was an essential element of the set-up too – it held on the foil, gels and kept the subject in place!

This first foray into unfamiliar photographic territory also got me to try out several features of my gear that I hadn’t really used before. I have mixed feelings about the sideways-arm thing that my tripod does, because it is very handy but nowhere near as rock solid as in the normal up-and-down configuration, but I particularly liked using the “composition adjustment” feature on the K-5, which uses the in-camera shake-reduction system to move the sensor  to make small adjustments to the composition of the image (horizontally and vertically, but also allowing rotation as well). Using that in live view mode turned out to be much easier than trying to move either the tiny subject or huge tripod in a controlled manner. The electronic level meter was quite handy too.

So all in all, I’m very pleased with my purchases. The lens is excellent, both at this kind of close-up work but also for taking portraits of the kids, and a second flash opens up lots of interesting possibilities.  You should definitely expect to see more very close photos of small things on here soon.

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