Close Up Photography and Photomicrography

Close Up Photography and Photomicrography

  • Space expands for the observer of small subjects. Most of us will see only a finite number of grand views. But the person who sees the small vistas finds in an acre of woods or weeds as many possibilities as a good sized state or national park may offer to the seeker of larger sights. Whether the photographer wishes to record these vistas of the miniature world solely for the pleasure of its beauties, or from some serious concern with recording a new geography of details for science, the technical approach is the same. Close up photography which is working at initial image magnifications of actual size or less and photomacrography which is photography with image magnifications greater than actual size.

  • Close up photography and photomacrography are no more difficult than any other kind of photography. They can be done by anyone willing to read and follow brief, simple instructions. Finding and recording things that others have not seen is an open ended challenge, because you can find new images throughout the rest of a long life. Every household, business office, and workshop is full of subjects that would make impressive pictures, and the very small size of such subjects makes their images new and strange. As a tool for examination, analysis and recording, close up photography is unrivaled.

  • Postage stamps, paper currency, and other forms of fine engraving and printing reveal much additional detail if examined closely. Coins, medallions, and jewelry are full of fine forms, patterns, colors, and textures. Coarse and fine-textured fabrics can be seen with heightened clarity, and the structure of a weave or the sequence of a knit can be analyzed with ease, if an enlarged image is made. Most people who enter the world of the small turn sooner or later to nature subjects, for, with all the ingenuity of our kind, nature outdoes us for sheer variety.

  • Close up photography and photomacrography differ, again, in the scale of magnification. The former ranges from images made at the closest normal focusing distances of ordinary camera lenses to images that appear as the same size as the subject. In photomacrography (in Europe sometimes called microphotography), image magnifications on the negative range from the same size as the subject to between 50 and 80 times as large as the subject.

  • In both close-up photography and photomacrography we are concerned with image magnification-the relation between the size of the original subject and the size of the image on the film. This relation can be expressed in any of several ways; two common methods are by proportion and by multiplication. In the proportional method, for example, an image that is the same size a, the subject has the relation 1:1; an image half the subject's size has the relation 1:2. In the multiplication method, an image is identified as being the same size as the subject by the notation x 1; an image half the subject's size is x 1/2.

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