‘Wide-Angle Macro’ puts a whole new perspective on close-up photography


posted Monday, November 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM EDT


The new e-book "Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide" is dedicated, detailed and delightful -- a far cry from your typical "how-to" photography book. The book is focused, pardon the pun, on just one thing: wide-angle, close-up shooting. Filled with solid technical information and lots of large illustrative photographs, it covers the specialized topic both fully and beautifully. Best of all, the price of this bounty of knowledge is just $5, and you can download and start devouring it instantly.

Macro photography is a popular subject with IR readers, as our daily photo contest demonstrates. However, most macro images are shot with moderate or long telephoto lenses. This makes the authors' selection of wide-angle macro photography an interesting choice in itself. But there is a good reason for this choice.

"Using wide-angle lenses to set a subject up close but in the context of its background shows the viewer so much more about the subject, and where it lives and how it behaves," said photographer Paul Harcourt Davies, the e-book's co-author. "The message of caring for the natural world and respecting the subject runs through the book; that is of prime importance to us."

Here's a few stunning examples from the e-book that illustrate exactly what Davies is talking about:


Davies is a prizewinning photographer and the author of numerous other books on nature photography. A formidable Welshman with a doctoral degree in the natural sciences from Oxford University, he now resides in the Umbrian hills of Italy, near Orvieto. In the name of full disclosure, I must note that he is also a friend of mine. Along with his American collaborator Clay Bolt -- an established photographer and graphic designer -- they have produced what they hope will be the first of a series of e-books on different and very specific nature photography topics.

"Wide-Angle Macro" makes for a good start, and I found it very detailed and technical. And though Davies is distinctly a gear geek, his writing is easy-to-read and compelling. "We tried to write the book in as accessible way as possible," Davies said.  "It is inclusive, so that keen photographers at any level of ability will not be intimidated. A decent wide-angle capability is all that is required of your equipment and, through the numerous examples of real-life shooting, we hope we have shown how, with just a little patience, our readers can make their own images with impact."

Speaking of accessibility, since many pocket digital cameras have macro capabilities only at their widest focal lengths, what the book has to teach is relevant and helpful to just about every photographer, from casual snapshooter to serious enthusiast. In 93 pages, Davies and Bolt describe techniques ranging from basic setups to advanced lighting, and even discuss view-camera macro work. Even an old pro like me learned several new things.

"Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide" is currently available for $4.99 as a downloadable PDF by clicking here.

All photos courtesy of the authors Paul Harcourt Davies and Clay Bolt.