As nature photographers, we usually have to limit the amount of gear we carry (and that is certainly a good thing).
But, there’s always that list of “essential” items we bring on a hike, so here’s a little peek at what I carry in my bag when I know I’ll be doing some closeup photography:
#1 – Light Diffuser
Since you won’t always have the most ideal lighting conditions, it’s helpful to carry around some tools to help you control the light. A light diffuser will probably be the one you use the most, because they help balance the light on your subject. You can get a light diffuser at a camera store, or make your own out of a wire clothes hanger and a shower curtain.
#2 – Remote Shutter Release
The remote shutter release prevents you from touching your camera when you snap the photo. And, this is helpful because pressing a button on the camera will cause it to shake a little, and that could potentially result in a less sharp photo.
#3 – Extension Tubes
An extension tube is a hollow tube that attaches to the back of your lens. It allows your lens to focus much closer to your subject, which helps a lot with closeup photography because getting closer will help you fill the frame and get a more out-of-focus background (remember: depth of field decreases as you get closer to your subject).
#4 – Tripod
To ensure you get the sharpest photo possible, it’s important to keep your camera steady. And, nothing will do that better than a tripod. Yeah, they’re heavy and take a lot of time to setup, but you’ll be happy you used one when you’re back home admiring your super sharp photos 😉
#5 – Bean bag or soft cloth
Some of the most interesting subjects in nature are found so low to the ground that a tripod won’t work. So, you’re only option is to rest the camera directly on the ground, but if there’s a bunch of rocks on the ground that could be a problem for your camera. To avoid scratching your camera, it’s helpful to carry around a beanbag or even just an extra bandana so you can rest your camera on it for those super low shots.
What did I miss?
Is there another tool or camera accessory that’s been invaluable to you for closeup photography? Please tell us about it by leaving a comment below! Thanks 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, computer scientist, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of Southern California.