Tag Archives: macro

Olloclip Macro Lens and Quick Clip Case for iPhone Review

Macro, close-up photography via smartphone opens a whole new world of detail and interesting possibilities for mobile photographers.

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case

Olloclip macro lens and Quick Flip case.

And for the more committed practitioners, I definitely recommend stepping up to the Olloclip macro lens.

I happened upon Olloclip’s booth at the SXSW trade show recently, and after a hands-on look at the lens and accompanying Quick Flip case (impressive engineering in its own right), I bought one on the spot thanks to the show special of getting a free case with a lens purchase. Gotta’ love trade shows.

The whole outfit is deliberately and intelligently engineered. The system is everything an accessory lens should be: easy, convenient, strong, affordable; and the case is really what sold me, since it solves for my major gripe of having to otherwise remove a case or deal with a less desirable alternative (such as an adhesive magnet, or just manually holding the lens to the iPhone). I also dig the futuristic, sleek design of the case — it has almost a cyborg-esque feel and even allows for tripod attachment.

Here’s a video review of the case itself:

And here’s a look at my first project with the Olloclip Macro lens:

Macro Budding Cactus Flower

“Budding Time”
This is a close look at a budding cactus from my kitchen with a little extra lens flare. What’s extra cool to me is that some of the flare spots happened organically, and so that inspired me to add a little more via the LensFlare app. I did some post-processing with Dynamic Light, and voila: surrealism macro magic.

Feather at Regular and Macro View:

feather macro

Here’s a feather from a pillow on my kitchen table at regular view, then at 21x via the Olloclip lens, with no post-processing. You can actually count the individual barbules. Also, I’m excited to use the word “barbules” in a blog post.

These results speak for themselves. While there are a number of macro lenses available for smartphones, Olloclip has gotten it right at every level.

I’ve long been a fan of my previous macro lens made by Olloclip’s competitor, Photojojo, and at $20, it’s still one heckuva deal — a great way to get familiar with the possibilities of macro photography via smartphone. But for a bit more up front ($70 for the Olloclip macro lens), you get much more overall. Pair it with the Quick Flip case, and you’ll be set for some serious macro fun for a long time to come.

What do you think? Ever used an accessory lens for smartphone photography? Or for traditional camera photography? What’s a discovery you’ve treated yourself to lately? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Macro Mantis: Insect Photography Up Close

I see the world in new ways since discovering iPhoneography, especially in close-up macro view. A rich universe of detail exists all around us, all the time, just waiting to be appreciated. And with only a little effort we’re free to visit whenever we want.

Praying Mantis – Here’s Looking At You!

Macro Mantis by rsmithing

I noticed this mantis on the porch one morning and brought him to the kitchen table with a glass and some paper. He seemed fine with that, and I was careful not to harm him throughout the shoot.

With my iPhone 4, a macro lens by Photojojo, and a high-powered flashlight from Home Depot, I captured several shots, some like this using Hipstamatic’s John S. lens and Rock BW-11 film. The app adds a random depth that I like.

Experimenting with the light and camera positioning, I coaxed out varying shadows and highlights, the most dramatic being when the beast seemed to stare right into the lens. No doubt he was experiencing what being abducted by aliens must be like for humans.

After about five minutes of that, it was back to the wild on a bush in the yard where he blended in much better than in the kitchen.

What do you think? Ever done any macro photography? What are your techniques? Let us hear from you in the comments.

20120226-154334.jpg

Macro view of a nail in the laundry room. Shot with my iPhone using a Photojojo macro lens and the Hipstamatic app, using its Buckhorst lens and Blanko film settings. I also raised the saturation and sharpened slightly in Photoforge 2. The untouched version of this image made the honor roll in a recent Instagram challenge, which inspired me to extend from my usual style and see what could be done within the limitations set by the contest, which indeed proved challenging, yet rewarding.

The Jungleamongus: 5 Tips for Great Insect Photography

We are surrounded all the time by insects. There are WAY more of them than there are of us, by many millions. When the Earth recovers after inevitable, mutual self-assured destruction, there will be two things left: smoldering rubble and cockroaches. They outlived the dinosaurs; they’ll be here long after you.

Insects are at once simple and complex: sets of multiple eyes and limbs coordinated for a focused mission, hunting and being hunted in the shadows, in the air. Basic bodies and life mechanisms forming energy into movement for eating, mating, moving in their own world, amid our world. Also, they’re kinda creepy, with they way they… you know, creep.

So, here I’ve gathered here some of my recent encounters with the buggy set. For the record: none of these creatures were harmed in the creation of these images/video. Annoyed? Probably. Harmed? No. All images here link to hi-res originals, pre-editing.

Click for full-size unedited raw images

Moths – who knew they were so hairy?

Click for full-size pre-edit raw image

Camel Cricket

Click for hi-res, unedited similar original (not exact original)

Pentatomidae, or Stink Bug

Take lots of photos? Consider a removable lens like this one by Photojojo.

What brought me to this were some compelling photos I’d been perusing through Instagram (yep, still obsessed) of insect close-ups and other micro-world views. I started asking folks how they wrung such detail from their iPhones, and was eventually steered to Photojojo’s macro/wide angle attachment lens.

Holy crap, is this thing awesome. Basically, it’s a scaled-down jeweler’s loop that magnetically attaches to your iPhone, droid, or other camera phone, giving a magnified, super-clear view of your subject matter.

For the record, I do not work for Photojojo; I’m just an enthusiastic customer. And I’m now enjoying being turned on to a universe of detail I didn’t know existed before getting this gadget. And it’s not just for bugs; this thing opens up a vast dimension of beauty to flowers, textures, or even leaves. There’s a whole new level of minuscule subject matter now available that’s seriously rewarding and enlightening to experience. I had no idea moths were so bushy — now I’m fascinated by them.

Camera phone macro lenses open mini-frontiers with ease, and I encourage anyone with the inclination to pursue some macro photography (and if you or someone you know is of South Asian descent, possibly help out Photojojo founder Amit Gupta, recently diagnosed with acute leukemia). On to the tips…

5 Tips for Great Insect Photos

  1. Get a macro lens. For the price of a good pizza, you’ll get a supremely major upgrade to your gear. They’re easy to use and aren’t just for iPhones. In addition to Photojojo, there are several other possibilities worth considering.
  2. Isolate the subject under a clean glass with a clear sheet of white paper underneath in a well-lit area. But don’t do this so long that you cut off its air supply.
  3. Be at the ready with your finger on the button to snap a photo. Since a bug under a glass generally darts around in a panic, you don’t want to miss out when it finally comes within focus range.
  4. Go hunting in your own yard, sidewalk, or if you’re really brave, the basement. The simple moth I noticed flapping around a light at my door one night turned out to be one of my favorite photo subjects, with fluffy fur and big, deep eyes. Kinda like a teddy bear (OK, maybe that’s a stretch). So grab a glass and get to know your visitors.
  5. Set them free in an advantageous location. If you can return a bug to the wild near something close to its own habitat (dark corner for a spider, bright light for a moth), you’ll be restoring some balance to the universe. Or, at least helping feed the birds. Ah, the cycle of life.
SAVE MONEY: If you purchase one of these lenses from Photojojo, you can save $5 off your order by using this link: http://photojojo.com/r/a389. This also gives me $5 off my next order, too. Thanks. 🙂
What’s your experience with phone camera attachments? Have you ever used a macro lens on a traditional camera? Do bugs creep you out too much to get in their faces for photo ops? What do you think of these (or other) macro photos done with just an iPhone & attached lens? Any tips to share? Tell us in the comments.