At home Photo Challenge: Close Focus Photography

Hey folks,

How are you all doing? I hope things are good – that you and yours are staying well and healthy. 

Di and I and our kids are doing just fine. Staying put in our peaceful little village. Being grateful and thankful for this beautiful country of our adopted homeland. 

Today I wanted to share a new photo challenge with you that is perfect for these days of being at home.

I am finding that I need something creative to do every day whilst I’m at home so much. 

I am not shooting every day, but I am finding little fun projects to do, as well as spending time in my archives and having some fun processing (or reprocessing) my images.

I am remembering the good times I’ve had shooting these past years, and enjoying the photography I have already done (and of course dreaming of the times I can do more!)

This idea today, though, is for shooting now! It is super fun, and will let you explore and play with a different style of photography – if this is a new way of shooting for you.

Close-Focus photo challenge:

Since we’re all focusing on a bit of distancing in our lives right now, I thought I would  propose a challenge that reflects this change in our lives.

But unlike social distancing, this is going to be close-focus distancing.

I’ve taught this technique many times in my workshops for those people who have wanted to do a macro image.

You don’t have to have a macro lens to do this. A macro lens just allows you to get a lot closer. The closest focusing distance of a macro lens will be much nearer, as that is what they are designed for. This distance will vary from lens to lens. 

For example, with a 50mm lens that doesn’t have macro capabilities, the closest focusing distance will be about 24 inches/60cms. 

A 50 mm macro lens will allow you to focus much closer, probably around 3 to 4 inches/7.5 – 10cms; some go even closer. 

The challenge is this:

  1.  Take your lens off auto-focus and put it on manual focus
  2. Then turn the focus ring to the close-focus distance; this is the opposite direction of where the infinity mark is. [Infinity mark looks like the number 8]
  3. Once you have the lens set to this distance don’t move it again!!
    • TIP: Put your hand in front of the camera and move it back and forth (your hand not the camera) until your hand comes into focus. This will be that lens’ close-focus distance.
  4. Now that you have the close-focus distance you can properly position yourself to your subject.
  5. Make the shot!

The technique is not to twist the focus ring on the lens. 

What I want you to do is move the camera back and forth to find your focus point for each shot

Smaller apertures can be really handy in this exercise, as they give you more depth of field, and this in turn means you might want to have a tripod handy for those lower light scenes. 

What we’re doing with this challenge is down scaling our universe. 

Changing our perspective and finding creativity in the small things that are all around us.   

Every image you take is going to be within a few inches of you. 

This can make your home or your current surroundings very interesting. You may start to see the place you’re in in a whole new way. 

As the writer Henry Miller said: 

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

Let’s make many magnificent worlds in the places we call home! 

You can do this challenge on your own, or if you want to share and get feedback from me and other photographers – post it in my

Light Monkeys Facebook group

I am also going to pick a selection of my favourite submitted images and do a live critiquing session this coming Saturday. 

This live session will offer lots of great tips and techniques if you want to develop in this area of photography, as well as giving some in depth feedback on your images! 

The event will be held on Zoom – a very easy online meeting room so you can join in even if you don’t post your photos on my Facebook group.

Close Focus Photography 

Live Lesson & Challenge Critique

Saturday April 4th

Register for this free Close Focus Photography Session here.

These live critiquing sessions are always packed to the brim with ideas and knowledge that you can use in your photography – so I encourage you to sign up for this in depth hour of learning this weekend.

So – post your photos to my Light Monkeys photo sharing group here – if you’d like comments and feedback with the chance to have me critique them live on Saturday. 

Post your images by Friday 3rd April – at midnight PDT (California time).

And – register for my Close Focus Photography Session here.

Have a good day and as always, hit reply if you have any questions at all about this or anything photo related.

Always good to hear from you.

All the best,

Anthony and Diana 

PS – I have another awesome idea for you tomorrow….all about processing. Watch out for it.