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Practical Photography Series #6 - Using Digital Camera's Macro Mode to Capture Nature's Small Wonders

Updated on June 19, 2013

Crystal-clear details using Macro mode

Water droplet at the big taro leaf (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)
Water droplet at the big taro leaf (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala aka travel_man1971)

Magnifying backyard's beauty

BIG SURPRISES come in small packages, so they say.

It is very true in photography.

As my latest installment in this practical photography series, this hubber spent the last two weeks of February 2013 compiling interesting subjects that can vividly capture your imagination as I share with you the 'small wonders' frolicking at the backyard of my home.

As I greeted my dog, Brownie, around five in the morning, I carried my point-and-shoot digital camera and proceeded to do my morning jogging spree.

I was amazed by the beautiful hue of the sky as I awaited the sunrise.

Summer is approaching and tropical rain shower is already scarce at this time of year.

Local residents wonder why a slight change in the weather and climate is now apparent. Here in Bicol, Philippines (where I reside), people seldom experience the torments of typhoons the whole year round.

So, I am now enjoying a typhoon-free vacation even if it's not summer or the wet or rainy season is approaching.

And with the passing of idle times as I spend my shore leave after I disembarked from my latest ship's contract, my uncomplaining overused Canon digital camera endured the point-and-shoot episodes as I recorded awesome shots of the local flora and fauna just inside the backyard of the house.

Since the magnifying capacity of my cam is only up to 12 times the size of the original subject, let's say a panoramic view, I switched into the 'macro' mode of the digital camera.

Most of us will always ignore such mode since we can also have a clear shot of the subject using the 'normal' mode.

But using the macro will give a more ample details on the part of the subject being magnified.

This will always be applicable to 'small wonders' and an attention to details will give you an edge once you tap the use of this mode on your digital camera.

It smells like honeysuckle!

Photo Source: Ireno Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno Alcala

Wildflower Photography - You can choose one from these books!

Appreciate the inner beauty of wildflowers.

Most of the birds frequenting to visit our backyard often choose to sip the nectar of the wildflower that I captured above.

I am not familiar with other wildflowers that are available for photo-shoot, with the exception of the shy 'mimosa flower'.

I forgot to ask my mother about its local names, but the attractive colors of those tiny beauties captivated my attention to pursue my 'floral expedition' before someone intrude my concentration each time the morning comes or other things occupy the rest of my day doing other household chores.

Now, enters the 'macro' mode.

Although, the pulse of my hands may fail me, I always shoot a subject twice or thrice so that I can select the best shot whenever possible.

Tropical Wildflowers...can you identify it?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo Source: Ireno Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno Alcala

Pointers when using the 'Macro' mode of digital camera

Once you open the digital camera, the 'normal' mode will always be the automatic setting.

If you want to change it to macro, click the icon, then focus on the subject, about 5-10 centimeters at a distance.

The magnified feature will look great as you diligently work on every subject you shoot.

Spiders and other insects enjoy their habitat in the garden.

Tiny insects, flies, mosquitoes or name it (I can't distinguish it), almost have it here at home.

From the tiny spider that you can find, I also found out that there are other species that enjoy trapping flies, mosquitoes and other insects that will be lured to land on its webs (cobwebs). For the first time, I captured this yellow spider which is rare from the array of homey ones that usually occupy the dark corners of the house.

Included in this set of photos was the tiny baby rat that fell from the iron roof of our kitchen. I immediately placed it on dry leaves (still breathing) and hoped that its mother will sniff its location. We don't have cats at home anymore. My youngest sister immediately dispatched it when my mom just recently;y recovered from a serious pneumonia bout.

Truly, the biodiversity of life abound at the backyard of our homes.

Spiders...and other creepy critters.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yellow spider (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Yellow spider (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Yellow spider (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)

This ant sniffs for food.

Photo Source: Ireno Alcala
Photo Source: Ireno Alcala

Studying nature at home

Most of us are oblivious of what is happening at home, especially the gradual change in nature.

It is because we are always pre-occupied with family matters.

I'll admit that I'm one of the guilty persons who seldom appreciate the 'small wonders' that abound at the premise of my home because I'm busy with other things, like fencing the backyard, cleaning the yard and uprooting some grass on my garden and vegetable corners and plots.

The gradual change of the surroundings, especially nature is evident with the tiny creatures in our backyard.

The chirping of homing birds and visiting farm waders and other wild birds will always indicate that the balance of nature is still existing in the countryside.

The occasional blowing of horns from the passing public and private vehicles will never alter the serenity and simplicity of my place, where at night, the sound of chirping cicadas will be heard and will lull you to sleep, right after you switched off the button of the television set.

Wild fruits and flowers from my garden at home

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The edible  tiny, wild melon (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)KorumbotGumamela 1Gumamela 2Zigzag flowerTomato flowerettes
The edible  tiny, wild melon (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
The edible tiny, wild melon (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Gumamela 1
Gumamela 1
Gumamela 2
Gumamela 2
Zigzag flower
Zigzag flower
Tomato flowerettes
Tomato flowerettes

How Practical Photography started

I had included a 'screenshot' on how Practical Photography started.

My idea of making this as a series, according to what I've learned from the school, way back my college years in the academe, prompted me to coin those two words as my banner theme whenever I tackle subjects in Photography.

It was a Frenchman Louis Daguerre who accidentally discovered the long lasting usage of practical photography.

Photo Source:
Photo Source:


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    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @kashmir56: Thank you! What can I say? I am continuing my quest to discover more on 'small world'. Every day, there are new things to be photographed and shared.

      You can do it, too!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I have enjoyed reading your great article and have enjoyed viewing your very beautiful photos. Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Jackie Lynnley: Thanks for appreciating my effort here. I'm trying to focus on small wonders and its details. I hope I did justice with some of my samples here. I know you can do it. It's just proper timing and concentration.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @moonlake: I also experience the same. You can always take several shots at/on one subject then choose the most vivid ones. Thank you for dropping by.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Very good. I do some photography but not much intelligence about it. I did try some rain drops today with sun behind them but haven't checked them yet. I have a couple of cameras, I should dig out my books and learn to do this. Thank you. ^

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I like to use the macro mode but sometimes my camera acts up when I try to use it. I appreciate all the infomation on your hub and voted up.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Suzie HQ: Thank you for appreciating my effort. This is what I've been doing this summer. I will be sharing more in my Practical Photography Series.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi travel man,

      What a lovely collection of shots you have. Really interesting showing the benefit of the macro setting on the camera. Loved so many particularly the rain droplet on the taro leaf. Nice job, voted up, useful interesting & shared, pinned.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @agusfanani: Thank you. You better try it, too. :) Macro photography eases my mind from the rigors of daily chores at home or even at work. From time to time, I take photos on interesting subjects in the neighborhood.

      For example, fruits of fruit-bearing trees, flowers, insects, etc.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @vibesites: You're right. I just snap and shot subjects that I like using my old Canon digital camera.

      It's good that we share the same hobby. :) Thanks for the hub-visit.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Suhail and my dog: You can still go back to your old love: macro photography. There are lots of external drives where you can store your collection safely. Good lucj to your trip. :)

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Nancy Owens: I hope your camera does have the 'macro' mode. It's very ideal to document those little wonders in the vicinity of your residence.

      Thanks for dropping by and making this hub as an inspiration.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @Kathryn Stratford: The spider you've been mentioning is common in Australia. Spiker spider is also rare in the Philippines. Maybe, the air brought it here in my country. :)

      Thank you for appreciating my research regarding those little and wild wonders around my home.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @sgbrown: I hope it is not as cold as I experienced it whenever our ship discharges cargo during winter time in the US. Yes, spring signifies a start of a new beginning, a new life. Surely, you can focus-and-shoot your camera to sprouting plants that will welcome the succeeding summer.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @carol7777: It's one of my hobbies, Ma'am Carol. Photographs of nature and the like always lighten up my mood. In a way, I always appreciate what God has provided and given us in order to live fulfilled on Earth.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 5 years ago from Indonesia

      I love macro photography. Thank you for your useful tips.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 5 years ago from United States

      I only recognize a mimosa and a hibiscus plant... but hey it doesn't matter LOL. Liking the photographs, and nature photography is also my hobby. What camera do you use? Anyway, I vote this up, etc. :)

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Very informative and eye opening hub.

      I haven't taken macro-pictures for last 15 years now and this is to my complete loss. I used to take lots of them before that.

      Now that I am becoming more and more of a micro-explorer, this hub has opened up my eyes to this front as well. I will be taking macros from my next micro exploration trip.

    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 5 years ago from USA

      Beautiful photographs. Like sgbrown, I love nature and spend a lot of time in my back yard. I am going to see if my digital camera has the Macro Mode capability. You have inspired me!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      The fifth spider looks like one I saw in Virginia, real spikey and angular looking. I had never seen such an odd looking insect before!

      I love using macro mode to take photos of flowers and small things. I also really enjoy looking at the small and beautiful things around me.

      The photos you have are so pretty, and I like your article. It has been nice to see what life is like around where you live.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I love your hub! I love nature and taking pictures of the flowers and "bugs" around my flower gardens. I see that you appreciate nature as much as I do. Spring is almost here, where I am, and I can't wait! I am beginning to see some of my little plants trying to peek out of the ground now. I plan to "clean up" my yard this week, hopefully we have had our last freeze. Your pictures are awesome and I really enjoyed this hub. Voting up and beautiful! Have a wonderful day! :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      though I am not much of a photographer I did enjoy learning about this and lovely photos. Voting up and pinning.


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