Friday, September 22, 2017

The Toad Blog

My blogs about anything related to photography, and equipment, with a focus on non-technical enjoyment of photography. I like to publish these for the pure pleasure it brings. My equipment, and techniques shared here with a mix of landscape, macro, birds, flowers and all articles written by the person who uses the equipment - TrueToad.

The Toad Blog

Macro Photography Best Lens
TrueToad / Sunday, August 27, 2017 / Categories: The Blog, Photography, Macro

Macro Photography Best Lens

My setup and gear

Today I had a desire to get out of the house with my Macro setup to capture a few images,  this is what I came home with and why I choose this set up.


  • Month: August
  • Arrival time on the trail was 08:40 shooting.
  • Camera: D500 
  • Lens: 105 Macro f/2.8 (see notes)
  • Other Gear: Nikon R1CI Macro setup  
  • Garmin Fenix 5x watch for "how far did I walk to get this photo"  distance capture
  • Environment: Nature - out in the wild, everyday offers different opportunities

Images in this article are mostly from one great weekend out for one purpose - doing macro photography!

Lets start with the foundation: I ALWAYS carry, use and depend on a good tripod system - even if I dont use it I carry one just in case.  This saves my back from hand holding a DSLR system for hours on end and for subjects that do not move! My tripod choice is a Gitzo Off Center carbon fiber tripod (Gitzo GT2531EX) with a acratech head (great tripod head) on top.  This is one awesome system - light and can be setup in almost any level or angle. For me I always carry a lightweight tripod, If I do not  need it or the subject is not cooperative i simply drop the tripod and continue with hand holding - because I use the Arca Swiss quick release, dismounting the camera from the tripod is quick and simple.  Macro photography can be very tiring, more so than other photography because you may find the best angle is lower and you need to hold the camera in a way that stresses your back - the tripod saves me every time - why hand hold and wear yourself out?  Static subjects are the flowers, plants and non moving subjects.  Gitzo makes great tripods and my Gitzo Tripod allows for any angle and any level of shooting, so I recommend you get one to save your back as well.

Lens:  Nikon and other 3rd party lens makers offer exceptional glass for both DX shooters and FX shooters alike. My personal recommendation for either is a 105mm from Nikon to start with. If you are a crop body shooter - this is a great choice for a lens. a 1.5 factor gives you a 160mm fov with the latest in VR and optical quality.

I have three go to Macro lens.  My 60mm, my 105mm and the awesome 200mm Nikkor macro lens. Depending on what my intentions are will drive me to one of the three.  For Indoor gardens and general plant photography I choose the 60mm. For more detailed shots of flowers and some larger insects I use the fantastic 105mm.  When I require maximum sharpness and working distance the 200mm is it. I like shooting spiders and capturing extreme details, the 200mm offers me a comfortable working distance and has the sharpness to match.  All these lens are fantastic, the 60 can double duty as your normal lens and the 105mm good for portraiture shots as well.

I normally prefer the 105mm or 200mm macro lens, but at times shoot with my Nikon 60mm macro for flower groupings.  The one issue I have with the new 105 is that as you change focus the image size also changes making it difficult to do focus stacking.  This issue was noted by many macro photographers for this lens.

Do you need a flash in bright daylight?  Not really, but you would be missing out on the ability to control your lighting.  Using a Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS), it offers you the ability to throw some lighting at your subject, filling in the shadows while blending into into the natural lighting situation, create dramatic effects and simply reduce the background to dark if you wish.  

My Macro Flash of Choice is the Nikon R1C1 system, it simply works and allows me to dial-in individual settings for each flash you use.  As an example one can be 1/3 under while the other +1 over - it is your choice, and since it is wireless you can move a flash anywhere you want to help show details from of the subject from various angles. This system is small and portable and the flash can be incorporated into larger arrays if you so desire.  I like removing one flash and hand hold it off to an angle for some shots, making for some nice lighting effects without looking like it is with flash.

In closing - Macro photography is very rewarding and habit forming, If you have not tried it I recommend you take some time to explore the small world or Macro.

Rate this article:

Leave a comment

Add comment


Sigma 180 Macro Lens Review

Sigma 180 Macro Lens Review Read more

This week I bring to you a full two years of the Sigma 180mm Macro lens. Is it a solid lens and worth the price? Does it deliver as a medium telephoto? Can you use this lens as your go to portraiture lens. Over the course of two years now, I will give you my opinion and a few Macro shots.

Savage Product Pro Led Light Table Review

Savage Product Pro Led Light Table Review Read more

Do you need a small led light table for your ads for selling of your products or used gear, if so read on about the Savage Product Pro Led Light Table.  A somewhat straightforward approach for obtaining pleasing images of the smaller type products you wish to sell or place in ads.  In operation, it is simple to use and the results are good.  Read the full review here....

Black & Yellow Garden Spider

Black & Yellow Garden Spider Read more

Over the last few years I became interested in the Orb Spiders, in particular the Black and Yellow Garden Spider as the common name or the Argiope aurantia, scientific name. Ultimately my fascination for spiders and insects in general always cause me to stop and take a closer look when I run across them out in the wild. As a photographer I enjoy taking a few photos at any opportunity, here in this write up I share my observations and images of the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

Macro Photography Best Lens

Macro Photography Best Lens Read more

I spent a few hours outdoors enjoying my macro photography and I hope you enjoy and find inspiration in the images I captured. What do I use for my Macro setup and why?  read on...

Nikon D85O Real World Review

Nikon D85O Real World Review Read more

My Intel back in 2016 was close to what Nikon announced in the next release of the 800 series, the D850.   This camera is CLOSE to a game changer and now that I have mine let me give you my initial input.

Thank You Nikon!

Thank You Nikon! Read more

Thank you Nikon for being a wonderful company. In particular as my camera company of choice, I could not think of photography without Nikon as being part of it.

Wood Duck Photography

Wood Duck Photography Read more

I was not all that lucky in previous years of getting any real useable photos of Wood Ducks in the location I lived, due to the scarcity and short time frame they seem to stay in this area during the late spring season.  I find the Wood Duck a stunningly beautiful waterfowl. The males in particular with iridescent browns, blacks, white green, ornate patterns on nearly every feathe, this is one pretty bird.   Females very attractive but have a less colorful pattern but the same distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye. I find Wood Ducks in the wooded marsh ares that have hardwood forest adjacent to the water.  With some research I discovered they nest in holes in trees or use man made nest boxes. Little did I know they are one of the few duck species with claws that can grip bark and perch on branches- see my photos of a group perching.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing Read more

Each year I am blessed by the migration of the Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum through my area of the country. Their visits are timed almost perfectly with the arrival of the fruiting trees and bushes.  These delightful birds will stay in the area for several months basically as long as the fruit holds out. See my gallery and read more on these birds.

Flower Photography

Flower Photography Read more

I have a couple photographic weakness, Birds and Flowers.  Whenever I am out doing some photography shooting regardless what my intentions are, if i run across a great looking flower I stop and take a photo or try to incorporate the flower into my scene. The great thing about flower photography is you really dont need any specialized equipment.  I have even taken flower photos with a fish eye lens. I you want to discover more about flower photography read on...

Rainy Day Photography

Rainy Day Photography Read more

I admit I like being out during rainy days  Why?  It is refreshing and stimulating to walk a wooded trail hearing and feeling the rain,  and besides that, It offers many opportunities for photographers - if we come prepared.

Stellarvue SVR102T Review

Stellarvue SVR102T Review Read more

I have been around the Astronomy community for some time with many telescope adventures under my belt. One of the scopes that I was looking to acquire is a nice 4" refactor, not just any refactor but a premium performer, capable of doing what I wanted to do visually and imaging wise, my choice was.....

Lower Cost Wildlife Kit

Lower Cost Wildlife Kit Read more

You probably noticed most of my blogs cover the upper end of the Photo Spectrum. I owe it to many my recommendation for getting a 90% solution for fantastic wildlife photography.

Rest in Peace Easter

Rest in Peace Easter Read more

Our family feline of 13 years passed away early this morning, bringing to closure Easter's wonderful life with our family. At his passing he was believed to be 20 years + of age. Everyone in his family will miss his presence and are saddened by the loss of  our cat Easter. He is survived by Teeny his fellow feline house companion, and three caretakers who provided and received his love over the years. 

Nikon WT-7

Nikon WT-7 Read more

This is a write up from Don C who added an extensive "comment" to my WT-7 post/review. I though it was worthy of an individual post.

The remainder of this post is Don's comments: I decided to breakdown and purchase the WT-7a,..being that 1) I own a D500, and 2) I love to shoot untethered. Note, my forte' in the photography world is "Event Photography. That is, capture and print "onsite". It's 90% of my business model and every since the days of the mighty D2X and WT-2a, I've always admired the ability of "capturing and image and it instantly popping up on a display monitor" for customers to see, and of course, buy prints! Well, time has changed since those 'good old days' to newer 'good old days' of the D500 and WT-7a!

Woodland Photography

Woodland Photography Read more

I truly enjoy the outdoors especially during spring months, plants and animals begin to flourish and the forest comes alive with colors, sound with a calm atmosphere.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron Read more

I am lucky to live in an area that the Great Blue Heron is found in most of the year. Here in North Va, you can expect to see the Great Blue Heron in numbers starting in Mid April through Late September. I really enjoy watching and photographing these birds. They are large and somewhat predictable and with some good planning you can acquire a few good photos on most occasions..

Photo Storage +

Photo Storage + Read more

So, you are an avid photographer with thousands of images in your collection.  Maybe you have been relying on an USB 3 external drive to as your file backup along with your lightroom database;  one copy on your work computer and a backup on the external - does this sound familiar?  While that approach is a viable one, you just might be at risk of serious data loss.  Here is my story on the near loss of many years of work, and why I decided to go pro, and invest in a serious NAS.

DX or FX Camera Bodies

DX or FX Camera Bodies Read more

This is about using a DX camera body or FX body with teleconvertor. Which combination is better?  I am sent this question many times - it depends...  

Wimberly CK-100 Sidemount

Wimberly CK-100 Sidemount Read more

This is my review of the Wimberley CK-100 Sidemount Conversion Kit.  I have owned the Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Tripod Head II with Quick Release Base for a couple years without any issues.  But, I was looking for a more compact setup to use.  I ran across the sidemount kit from Kimberley and decided to give it a try.

Coming of Spring

Coming of Spring Read more

This wonderful Male Cardinal sits on a perch as sleet comes raining down, and is undaunted by the ice crystals that are falling on his face and feathers. The Cardinal is a native species of North America and suited for the elements, he appears well protected from these elements.  


Get Wired

I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It

  • 22 September 2017
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 0
I Helped Create Facebook's Ad Machine. Here's How I'd Fix It
Facebook finally laid out some changes to its ad platform. But a former employee who built it shares his own ideas on how to fix the Russia problem.

Baltimore Built an App to Map Opioid Overdoses in Real Time

  • 22 September 2017
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 0
Baltimore Built an App to Map Opioid Overdoses in Real Time
Opioid overdoses proliferate, like a disease. A new app lets health and law-enforcement officials anticipate their spread.

What Is a ‘Dotard’? Kim Jong-Un Gives Trump a Language Lesson

  • 22 September 2017
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 0
What Is a ‘Dotard’? Kim Jong-Un Gives Trump a Language Lesson
If there's one good thing that came out of President Trump and Kim Jong-Un's back-and-forth, it's this.

Review: Leica Sofort

  • 22 September 2017
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 0
Review: Leica Sofort
The cheapest-ever Leica camera is cute as a button.

Don't Rely On an Unlock Pattern To Secure Your Android Phone

  • 22 September 2017
  • Author: TrueToad
  • Number of views: 0
Don't Rely On an Unlock Pattern To Secure Your Android Phone
A new study found test subjects could mostly spot the patterns from five or six feet away on the first try.
Copyright 2017 TrueToad Terms Of Use Privacy Statement
Back To Top