Today’s introduction is someone that has been a tremendous help to me over time and has often given me advice about some thing, especially macro photography, or more how to do it without a macro lens. His name is Benjamin Rowe and his blog is Aperture64 Photography.
When you go to his blog it isn’t surprising to see a lot of macro images on it. He has a great way of getting them and doing them without a macro lens and, as I said, I have learned a lot from him. I really like the softness of them.
As usual, I asked Ben why he takes photos.
I believe in a way I take photos because I am not very good at writing creatively. For me photography is a way to communicate feelings, emotions and ideas that I can’t communicate in other ways.
The other reason I take photos is because I actually find it quite relaxing. I predominantly take landscapes and still life photos and spend a lot of time doing this solo with my music plugged in and concentrating on the subject. Being in the zone my imagination can take flight forming the composition and the eventual image. I am always amazed how much time has passed when I look at my watch as I feel hardly anytime has gone by when in fact maybe an hour or so has.
Another reason I take photos I feel is because I hold quite a negative self-image of myself and the things that I do. With photography I can share my work and see from the response something positive.
There is something about the details that I really enjoy in Ben’s work, there is a lot of it. I have said over and over how it is something that I need to start making a conscious effort to do. The macro and still life has helped with that a lot and I am trying to get more of that.
Inspiration was the next question.
I get my inspiration from books, magazines blogs, but mostly from walking around wherever I am and simply observing the world. I live in Łódź in Poland; a city that a famous Polish writer called “Beautifully ugly”, yet just taking the time to look I can see the beauty as well as interesting aspects of the city. Many say you have to live somewhere interesting to have great shots, but by stopping and looking around you can see interesting things all around you.
This always says to me Polaroid Extension Tubes, sorry Ben, but it does. When I was trying to work out how to do close up photography without a macro Ben sent me this image and told me how he had done it with, I think, a 50mm and the extension tubes from Polaroid, which then spurred me on to get some to try for myself.
I asked Ben if there was anything special about the way he works.
I generally pre-visualize how I want the shot to look before I press the shutter. For example I will see the scene in black and white or I want to do a certain post production technique. I also use a few “Photography Hacks” as I am still building up my kit after taking a 3 year hiatus from being serious about photography a few years ago. There are so many ways of creating great images without a lot of specialised equipment, just a little imagination and creativity will help you work around what you don’t have.
I know I have gone on a lot about the macro and close up work that Ben does, but I should remember to tell you that he does other things as well. There are quite a few landscapes on his blog and he does to great shots of buildings, like the one above.
The final question, as usual, was about gear.
I have a lot of gear kicking around my man cave although I mainly use, Canon 60D, Canon G10, Mamiya 135 with Canon 50mm, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 18-135mm, Sigma 28-300mm lenses. I also have Polaroid Extension tubes, and lots of filters and Canon EX flashes.
I have plans this year to buy a light tent and another flash and lights.
I edit my work in Lightroom and Photoshop and I have the Topaz and Niksoft suite of plugins as well as Alien Skin Exposure.
I will do the gallery now. I would like to thank Ben for giving me permission to showcase his work here. I would also like to thank him for all the help he has given me when I needed it. It has been great having people you know you can email when you some help. So thank you Ben. I would also like all of you to go and take a look at his blog, there is lots of usual information over there at Aperture64 Photography. Please direct your comments to Ben for this, I like it when the person I introduce responds to the comments, thank you.