As I was packing up my equipment for a morning macro photography shoot, I thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on essential macro photography gear for a macro photography walk. My list of macro or close up photography gear has evolved through my adventures and misadventures during many macro photography trips.
Here is my list of essential macro photography gear with explanations of why I feel it is necessary.
Macro Photography Gear
DSLR or Mirrorless Camera and Macro Lens
A point and shoot camera could also work as many point and shoots have “macro modes”. I like to use a Macro lens at around 100mm length. I typically use a Canon 5d Mark iii or Canon 7d and the Canon 100mm Macro Lens.
I like to use a carbon fiber tripod as they are a lot lighter to carry while hiking for macro photography. It is important to get a tripod that can be easily positioned for shots that are low to the ground in both portrait and landscape orientation. I use the Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs with Multi-Angle Central Column System. The center column on this tripod pulls out and can be inserted horizontally to allow really low shots.
Remote Shutter Release
This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. An inexpensive wired shutter release will work fine for this purpose. The main purpose is to avoid the vibration caused by pushing the shutter button. If you don’t like using a remote shutter release, you can also use the timer function on your camera.
5 in 1 Reflector/diffuser Set
I use a Fotodiox 22″ 5-in-1 Reflector/Defuser Kit that is small and easy to carry. I attach the case to my belt or photo vest using a carabiner clip. I use the reflector covering to add a little reflected light to a subject in dark conditions such as in the woods. I use the diffuser to filter bright light to avoid blowing out the highlights in my subject.
The Wimberley Plamp is simply an articulated arm with clamps on both ends. FM Photography also makes a similar item called the McClamp. They seem a little expensive for what they are but they are essential for a macro photographer. They can be used to:
- Hold your subject still during windy days
- Move branches or leaves out of the way of your photo
- Position a reflector or diffuser
Extra Battery (or Two)
Since I predominately use Live View Mode for macro photography, the drain batteries much faster.
Extra CF or SD cards
This is always a good practice for all types of photography hikes. You never know how many pictures you will take or if you will have a card failure.
A Lens Cleaning Pen or Microfiber Cloth
You never know when you may need to wipe rain, moisture or dust off your lens.
I attract these guys.
A Landscape Lens
I always see a great landscape photo op when I only have my macro lens.
Clothing For a Photography Walk
Waterproof shoes or boots
I like to go out early in the morning for macro photography when there is less wind and people. There is often a heavy dew on the grass and fields that can completely soak your feet. I’ve had a misadventure or two on this one.
Nylon Outdoor Cargo Pants
I like these type of pants made by someone like Columbia or REI over jean type material. These pants dry faster and are not as heavy when they get wet.
I carry a decent amount of gear when I go out. A good photography vest will have numerous pockets to store gear, water, extra lenses, etc. I prefer photography vests to bags so I don’t have to continually set down the bag and pick it back up.
If you have bad knees or don’t like getting your knees dirty or wet, knee pads can help.
That’s my list of essential gear for a Macro Photography walk. If you have a piece of Macro gear you think is essential, post a comment or send me an email. I’ll check it out and update the blog.
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