Up Close and Colourful

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a macro photo. That’s because I only have a macro lens for my Olympus, the Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 (with 1:1 magnification). Because I kind of missed macro, but don’t really have the cash for a macro lens, I recently bought a set of second-hand Soligor macro extension tubes, which allow me to use any of my Canon lenses for macro. First impressions: the tubes work best with my 70-200 (allowing me to focus less than 10cm in front of the lens’ front element!) and not-so-good with my 24-70 (at shorter focal lengths, the point of focus is inside the lens!). My 85mm works nice too, but its lack of zoom makes it far less versatile than the 70-200 — and its maximum aperture of 1.8 isn’t really useful for macro. Also, AF, metering, IS and aperture all work fine (the tubes have electrical contacts). On the other hand I have to say the 5DmkII isn’t the best camera for macro photography; its full-frame sensor makes it a lot harder to achieve 1:1 magnification (although with 21MP cropping is a real option) and the whole rig (5DmkII, 70-200, tubes and 580EX flash gun) is a bit too large and heavy to easily take pictures at these small scales. But still, for only €70,- it’s a good alternative to a dedicated macro lens (it saves space in your bag, too).

Anyway, about the photo. Far too many pictures of colour pencils have already been taken, but I always like the colours and the texture of the wood. I used a DIY flash modifier made of cardboard, white paper and aluminium foil to mimic two flash guns shooting from opposite sides of the lens. The light is a bit flat, but nicely soft, so with a bit of tweaking it should work fine.

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