Using a telephoto lens for macro subjects

Telephoto lenses needn’t only be for distant stuff. Used at their closest focusing distance they can be mighty handy for macro work, especially with easily spooked critters like butterflies.

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Well okay, for boring technical reasons the 100-400mm lens I used for this shot can not actually be said to be doing ‘true’ macro. But seriously, who cares about technicalities when all you want is a picture?

This Monarch butterfly was about 2 metres away when I took this shot. And the telephoto effect helped to make a nice soft background in ways which a regular macro lens couldn’t match and it still managed to capture heaps of sharp detail. So if you have a zoom lens, try zooming in as far as you can and focusing as close as you can, to see how it handles the smaller stuff.

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Beginners’ guides to digital SLR photography


Before you start


The essential basics


Making sense of technical stuff

Photography words

Photography words explained


Sneaky stuff


Common problems and their solutions

Preying mantis

Taking things further


Photography at night

Other photography stuff

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