This is a fascinating world of ultra close ups. Even a simple leaf comes to life under a macro lens with its structural details becoming more apparent. Some other basic equipment is advisable in addition to a good quality macro lens. This includes a remote-control release and a mirror lock-up leaver to avoid any camera shake, manual focusing option and TTL metering to compensate for light loss from filters and extensions.
At such close quarters, depth of field shrinks to millimetres and auto focus simply won’t give you the image you want. Don’t forget that depth of field is very shallow, but this can be used to your advantage. Smaller apertures give greater depth of field, but a slower exposure may be a disadvantage, particularly in windy conditions. This can be overcome with a fast film or flash.
Photography is generally considered macro when the image is about 5 times natural size. This means that in a good macro photograph you can see detail that you can’t see with the naked eye. For example hairs on a house fly will become visible, or the wings of a damsel fly or dragonfly, which beat too fast to be visible with the naked eye, may be seen clearly in the macro photo.
While animals and nature in general are good subjects for macro photography, stunning photos can also be taken of inanimate objects in extreme close up. For example children’s toys taken with a macro lens where the background is out of focus can be really interesting, or you can shoot different materials and surfaces to get good abstract pictures of a variety of textures.