Imagine the mundane, everyday doldrums of life could be transformed in an otherworldly narrative. This is the world of macro photography, where the unseen universe at our feet becomes the fodder for creativity and beauty that we all ignore in our average day.
Macro photography is more than just a genre of images consisting of close-up images. Photographers in this realm often have to play by a different rulebook and experience difference challenges than “ordinary” photographers, but learning the techniques and skills on a macro level have far-reaching impact on all photographic thinking. When you start thinking “macro”, you almost always start getting inventive!
Note: the above image and all of the page spreads below are from a prototype of the book created for promotional purposes only. Most of the pages are currently empty, and while the bulk of the content is already created, the extensive time and effort in designing all the page layouts will commence once funding has been established.
This book aims to cover every challenge that a macro photographer might encounter, from beginner problems like focus and motion blur, to more complex issues with magnification and diffraction, lighting and composition, and so much more.
- 9” x 9” Hardcover (the same physical dimensions as Don's first book, Sky Crystals)
- 352 Pages, 80lb white gloss
- Sheet-fed press
- Printed in Canada
- MSRP will be CAD$60-80, dependent on quantity produced and upgrades if over-funded.
- Every copy of the book will be autographed
The content of this book is far-reaching. This is NOT a photo book, or “art” book. While it includes many elements of photographic art, the intent is to teach the reader every element of the creation of that artwork. The tentative Table of Contents is as follows:
- Table of Contents
- What to expect from this book
Section 1: Equipment and Basics
- Definition of “Macro” and modern uses
- Ways to get close (extension tubes, filters, etc.)
- Unusual examples of macro lenses, past and present
- Lighting – what to look for in a macro flash, ring light or off camera
- Using ultra bright LED flashlights
- Why xenon flash tubes remove motion blur and how to start controlling light
- Understanding the basics of depth of field for macro photography
- Diffraction and “effective apertures”
- Techniques to get the sharpest possible macro photograph
- How to design a macro studio at home
Section 2: Composition
- Understanding lines, shapes and colour
- Gravity is not (as) important
- Controlling and manipulating the scene for better light and colour
- Narratives and story-telling
- Finding new perspectives
- The art of bokeh and background
- Dealing with live actors (ethically?)
- Adding atmosphere with a fog machine
Section 3: Discovery
- The evolution of an idea and the “what if?” approach
- Budgeting for experiments
- The art of problem solving and the joy of tinkering
- Finding inspiration in everyday objects
- Pushing too far and breaking things
Section 4: Water Droplet Refraction
- Basic Concepts
- Equipment requirements
- Alignment, positioning, framing
- Lighting and why the background should be brighter than the foreground
- Shooting for a single shot, or shooting for focus stacking
Section 5: Snowflakes & Winter Macro
- Magnification and lighting
- Conditions, timing, and finding the perfect snowflake
- Angle of light for surface reflection
- Aside: The Colour of Snow
- Shooting handheld and focus stacking
- “The Snowflake” image and the journey to create it
- Freezing Soap Bubbles introduction + bubble recipe
- How to focus on transparent subjects
- Lighting equipment for freezing bubbles
- Camera settings, techniques and final results
- Adding more than just a bubble
Section 6: Ultraviolet Fluorescence
- Getting good, pure UV light
- Tutorial for flash modification + alternatives
- Finding the right subjects in nature
- Using artificial fluorescence for creative effects
- Never enough light and what to do about it
- Editing and processing for best colours
Section 7: Specific Image Deconstruction / Tutorials
- Warmth of Winter
- Midnight Sun
- Fortress of Solitude
- Essence of Reverie
- Maple Leaf Flag
- Gazing into Vibrancy
- Snowdrop Sedulity
- Crystal Canvas
- Jewels of Summer
- Sinister King
- “The Snowflake”
Section 8: Focus Stacking
- Why focus stacking is required
- Tripods and focusing rails
- Why you might choose the handheld approach
- How to process an image and what software choices to make
- Fixing problems in the automatic algorithms
- Why use stacking when you can get more in focus in a single frame
Section 9: Macro Video
- Subjects conducive to shooting video on a macro scale
- Focusing aids
- Basic concepts for building narratives
Section 10: The Extremes
- Infrared macro
- Ultraviolet reflectance macro (not fluorescence!)
- Cross-polarization / Birefringence
- Kirlian Aura photography
- Using microscope objectives and how to fit them on your camera
- X-ray photography
- Electron Microscopy
Section 11: 3D Macro Photography
This image is "crossview", configured so that you can see it when you cross your eyes! Here's how its done.
- How to view 3D images (primer)
- Composing in three dimensions
- How to shoot 3D macro with an ordinary lens
- 3D macro lenses and adapters
- Editing for a proper stereo window
- Printing a stereoview
Section 12: Specific Equipment Recommendations and Comparisons
This Table of Contents will change as the book is fully written, likely adding new points and re-arranging others to make more chronological sense, but it’s the starting point.
The first book produced by Don Komarechka, Sky Crystals, is now out of print after a successful crowd-funding campaign that produced 3000 copies. Many lessons were learned from that project – some learned the hard way when the entire first print run needed to be scrapped and the entire production restarted on a sheet-fed press vs. a web press. Quality in production has always been as important as quality of content, and this project is no different.
With considerable experience in production and logistics, we’ve come to the number needed at a bare minimum to produce this book:
We need CAD$30,000. This is for a bare-minimum print run of 1000 hardcover books, plus the hiring of professionals to help with polishing the final design, fact-checking, grammar etc. A portion of that would help cover the Limited-Edition run, but not all – that would be paid out-of-pocket to make this project push forward. We would still be “in the red” at this level of funding, but the risk would be entirely mitigated and the ROI would be solid.
If we exceed our funding goal, that’s when things get interesting! Since Don isn’t paying himself any money for the production of the book, ordering more copies for future sales would help cover that reimbursement. Beyond that, there are some added value considerations as “stretch goals”!
CAD$45,000: We will have achieved enough funds to allow more time on the project in the form of videos accompanying every section of the book. Many people learn more strongly when they see video of others properly executing a technique, both in camera and in post-processing. Our aim is to offer a suite of videos bundled with the book to allow for the most comprehensive learning.
CAD$60,000: This is our happy place, where will have enough funds to start improving the material quality of the book for everyone: we will look at better paper quality, possible a larger physical footprint, whatever we can do economically to make the book a better product for every single backer.
Keep in mind that this is a big, heavy book. No shipping service in Canada offers flat-rate book shipping so the prices are calculated for all major English-speaking countries around the world based on estimates of previous book size and weights (based on Sky Crystals). This book is likely to be slightly thicker and heavier, but it would only have a marginal impact on these values and we'll absorb the difference in cost. For international / overseas people, I apologize in advance that the shipping costs are as high as they are.
Extra details, to offer additional confidence in this project:
We have decided to work with Friesens for the production / printing of the book. They are one of Canada’s very best printing facilities for the best quality products. Don Komarechka will personally oversee the production on press and no defect in quality will make it into a final book. Friesens had previously done a production run of “The Snowflake” as a commercially available poster print, and their worth has been proven through reputation and experience to handle the production with the degree of quality we are striving for.
Quotes have been given, timelines established and work is already underway to create print-ready page layouts for the production run. Everything is timed for a Christmas 2019 delivery date, and the confidence in manufacturing once the print-ready files are delivered is extremely high.
Risks and challenges
Many of the risks for this book have been mitigated by previous books and lessons learned in the proper association of shipping costs, printing methods, and additional support to get the files print-ready.
Since most of the visual content is already created, and most images already have at-length prose associated to them, the main risk will be meeting the arrival deadline of Christmas 2019 for shipping. Page layouts need to be created and some instructional / example images need to be taken, and the process will begin with full-time efforts as soon as funding goals are met.
If book creation averages 5 pages per day, the book will take just over two months to create and be press-ready. This is on-par with the time required to write the previous book, Sky Crystals, and allows ample time for printing and logistics.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)