Macro and close-up

APOY 2010 Round 6 – Close to you

After five rounds of our 2010 Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, in association with Canon, we are approaching the home stretch. Some photographers are really asserting themselves, but we must stress that the competition is still wide open. The volume of entries remains incredibly strong.

As we?ve spent much of the year taking shots at traditional angles and wider focal lengths, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to mix it all up. In our sixth round, Close To You, we want you to look at the finer details and smaller subjects that you might overlook on an average day?s shooting. Below we have offered some tips and techniques to help you get started.

We would also like to remind everyone that it is vitally important to include a daytime telephone number and address so we can contact you in the event that you are shortlisted or win the round. Please also remember to include details of your image in your email entries so we can judge your image accurately. Without a sentence explaining what your picture depicts, our judges have to guess ? and they may guess wrong!

If you visit APOY 2010 Competition page you will find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Remember that the top 50 pictures each month all receive points on our league table, and the top 30 are printed in the magazine. Persistence pays off in APOY.

Be sure to look for the results from our current round, Here Comes the Sun, which will be published in AP dated 31 July 2010.

Due to a hard disc problem the results for round 4 – In Bloom have been delayed and will now be published in AP dated 21 August 2010.

APOY 2010 Round 6 – Close you to

We?ve had months of chasing wide vistas, atmospheric light and other weird weather patterns. Round 6 is about finding that non-traditional view of a subject by getting close. Of course, working in such proximity to your subject requires a hand as steady as that of a carpenter to get a sharp picture in low light, but we?re confident in your technical prowess.

Macro is often the first thought of many photographers when it comes to getting closer to subjects, and macro lenses or macro modes on digital compact cameras are spectacular at capturing detail in tiny insects, the surface of coins or the interiors of flowers. However, macro isn?t the only option for getting closer.

Telephoto zooms can give the effect of compressing perspective and bringing your subject to the fore, or they can zoom in on the texture of an elephant?s skin at your local zoo, for example. You might also notice patterns in cathedral walls that are worth a closer look. Even using a wideangle lens and getting next to your subject will add an interesting level of context to your image. On the right we?ve offered some tips to help get you started.

Creating a frame

One way to add an extra element of interest to your macro and close-up shots is to shoot through some of the colourful leaves and petals around your subject. Depth of field drops as magnification increases, and using a large aperture can make it even more shallow. Framing the soft, colourful outlines of these leaves in the foreground, for instance, creates a sort of montage effect.

Wider angles

?Close-ups? don?t necessarily have to be macro shots, and nor do they have to be flowers or insects. Simply getting close to a subject, such as a baby or a dog, with a wider focal length can offer equally stunning results as a highly magnified image. The wider angle adds a sense of context to your image.

Insects

Insects are very difficult subjects. They are sensitive to movement, so slow motion is a must. The slightest temperature changes also cause them to leave for warmer environments, so avoid breathing on or casting a shadow over them. Lastly, lighting is an issue working this close.

Try lighting your subject with flash and underexposing the camera?s lightmeter by 1 stop. Your background should go darker and the insect should stand out.

1st prize

Our first-placed winner will receive Canon?s EOS 50D and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM lens kit, worth £1,399.99. The EOS 50D features a 15.1-million-pixel APS-C CMOS sensor, Digic 4 processor and captures 6.3 frames per second with continuous bursts of up to 90 JPEGs. It also offers an ISO range of up to 12,800, making it perfect in low-light conditions. The EF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro USM is the first true macro lens in the EF-S series. It has an effective focal length of approximately 96mm in 35mm format, and offers high corner-to-corner resolution, contrast and image quality.

2nd prize

Our second-placed winner will receive Canon?s 14.1-million-pixel PowerShot SX210 IS compact camera, worth £359. With a 14x wideangle optical zoom and Canon optical image stabilizer, smart auto and face detection, plus full manual control and HD movies, the PowerShot SX210 IS combines power with style.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s 12.1MP PowerShot A3100 IS, worth £159. This slim compact camera packs a big punch, boasting a 4x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer, motion detection technology, smart auto and easy modes, super vivid and poster effect and capability for VGA movies.

In association with Canon

For more information on Canon products please visit www.canon.co.uk