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GETTING INTO THE REVERSE RING MACRO CRAZE

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There’s never a right or wrong in photography. It’s more of a perspective and everybody has an opinion. The Reverse Ring Macro is a very old technique, an “oldie” but “goodie”, and I will be sharing my personal experience in this article.

I’ve been trying to get this technique to work for the last seven years. While I love macro photography, just magnification alone was not satisfying my creativity. Going back to the books and looking up old techniques helped narrowed down what I needed to get. I was looking for a distinguished blur, or as I call it, “artistic bluriness” for the background. And that’s when I discovered Reverse Ring Macro (RRM).

Here comes the trial and error learning process. Insect photographers swear by this technique. I was told that you could get more magnification on the reverse lens than your normal macro, but I wasn’t convinced till I tried it. And it wasn’t easy to master. First of all you needed steady hands, a cooperative subject and loads of patience. Everything is done manually – No autofocus, just you and your understanding of your equipment

What I also loved about this technique is the opportunity to try different lens that I already had in order to get closer to the subject. For instance, I had a NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5 lens from my Nikon D70s days and that worked out to produce some really interesting magnification. Then I had the new NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, and that gave a set of different effects altogether.

I then wanted to go further with the experiments, so I combined lenses to further achieve my effect and got better and sharper details from my subjects. I tried a NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4 with a 50mm f/1.8, a 24 -120mm f/4 and more! It’s basically endless and with the best glasses that Nikon has to offer, the images are just out of this world. Instead of investing on third party glasses it was nothing compared to the NIKKORs, it’s much better working with what’s in your camera bag and learning the possibilities that it possesses.

Now, here’s the best part of my experience, shooting the subjects, underwater. Unlike being on land where it’s much easier to work, I had to work with my conditions like the sea condition, shy subjects, backscatter (floating debris) and water currents. Shooting RRM underwater, requires more discipline and patience. You must first understand your working distance, how light travels and reflects, subject characters and behaviors and lastly, the buttons of your chosen camera.

I had my Nikon D4 so that’s a pretty huge setup, underwater. Nevertheless, practising at the pool prior to getting into the ocean does help. RRM is not something you can just click and be happy with. It is a lot more of understanding what is presented to you and how you are going to making it look better. After all, it’s your duty as a photographer is to make the ordinary, extraordinary.