Macro Photography Tutorial – Part 5 Magic Angle
This is the fifth episode of a video series on Macro Photography. This video describes magic angle for Macro Photography.
What is Depth of Field ?
Depth of Field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. It describes the portion of the area in “crisp” focus in any photograph.
Why Depth of Field is important consideration in Macro ?
When we are working at a magnification beyond 1:1 we are extremely close to the subject and the available “Depth of Field” is literally in couple of millimeters. When you approach even larger magnification levels, the matters become even worse and sometimes the crisp focus drops below a millimeter, even below tenth of a millimeter.
At such small depth of field, it’s possible that you may get only a very small part of your subject in focus leaving the rest out of focus. That too happens as a gradient on both sides of the area in sharp focus.
While this can give some stunning results, it poses a real challenge to the photographer. While you may get some parts in focus, the out of focus areas may become a big distraction. Also you may get only some portions of important areas in focus.
What is a Magic Angle?
While the term Magic Angle may be as old as photography itself, no one knows who coined it for the first time. And it is probably the most important concept after you have nailed the magnification and the lighting (or may be Magic Angle would be the first to nail before you think of a photo).
What are the things to avoid?
When you are starting new, the moment you see an insect, it’s tempting to lean forward and take a shot… typically you end up going 45 degree angle where your plane of focus is diagonal to the plane of insect’s natural focus (typically from the top view). <example shot of a bad angle>
Best thing to do in my view is to first get to the eye-level of the insect (mostly sit down but sometimes you may have to climb on something do that that depending on where your insect is). Next to identify the angle you are going to choose (front or side) and then approach the insect carefully to ensure your shadow does not fall on the insect. Again this is tricky but it increases your chances of getting a good shot more often.
Same subject from different angles
You can also try an interesting experiment where you try to capture the same subject from different (still within the definition of magic angle)
You can take a look at Yogendra’s work in Macro here: http://www.yogendraphotography.com/