Authors: John and Barbara Gerlach
Publisher: Focal Books / Routledge
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Total Pages: 214 pages
In short: A comprehensive instructional book on techniques and technicalities of capturing photos of flowers and insects you might find in your garden. Think of it as a multi-part workshop in book form.
Close Up Photography in Nature, by John and Barbara Gerlach, is far more information and instructional than some of the other macro photography books I’ve reviewed recently. Which is another way of saying that there’s a higher ratio of text to images. It’s not that there aren’t beautiful images in this book–there are still plenty of them–but they take a supplemental role to the text information.
The focus is also broader than some of the other books I’ve reviewed recently, which have tended to lean more heavily on macro photography of flowers. Flowers do make up some of this book, but critters also figure prominently, especially butterflies and bugs.
The book starts with a discussion about digital photography technique. Most of the first five chapters apply more broadly to digital photography. To be sure, the emphasis is on ways it applies to close-up photography, but much of it wouldn’t be out of place in books about many other niches of digital photography.
This book describes a photographic shooting system for capturing enchanting close-up and macro images. [p.1]
It’s not until Chapter 6, 141 pages into the book that we get to the chapter on photographing flowers. That chapter is about 20 pages long, nearly half of which is on focus stacking. That’s followed by a chapter on special techniques for capturing photos of butterflies and dragonflies. Then it’s on to gear.
As you can tell from that summary, the book is heavy on technicalities and techniques, on the nuts and bolts. Put another way, it’s like a book version of a class or workshop in close-up photography in nature. It covers a lot of digital photography jargon and technology that applies to other types of photography.
If that’s what you’re after–an instructional manual– it’ll be a good fit. If you’re looking for something a little more aspirational, something that will challenge you to expand your creative vision, you’ll likely find it less satisfying.
A huge advantage close-up photography offers is that it doesn’t matter where you live, there are unlimited subjects to photograph all year long. Weedy fields, marshes, ponds, and forests all offer numerous subject that vary through the day and during the year. [p.3]
A strength of the book is on the topic of focus stacking. That’s when you take multiple images of a since scene, with each one with a slightly different focal point. You then use special focus-stacking software to merge the images into one that has much deeper focus that you can usually get in a single image. Focus stacking is a technique that comes up in several parts of the book.
About the Authors
Official Bio: John and Barbara Gerlach are founders of Gerlach Nature Photography. They are professional nature photographers. Their pictures have been published in National Wildlife, Sierra, Natural History, * Petersen’s Photographic*, Ranger Rick, * Birder’s World*, Michigan Natural Resources, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and Popular Photography, as well as in books published by National Geographic Society, Sierra Club, Kodak, and wrote Focal’s own Digital Nature Photography and Digital Landscape Photography.
Flash is so frightening to many photographers that they avoid using it. If you fear flash, now is the time to master it. Using flash is crucial in close-up photography and easy to use well with digital cameras because you can see what it does right away. . . . We use some flash for about 75 percent of our close-up images. [p.4]
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Cameras and Lenses
- Crop Factor vs. Full-Frame Cameras
- Features to Look for in a Camera
- Taking Advantage of Camera Options
- Lenses and Accessories
- Final Thoughts
- Chapter 2: Exposure Essentials
- Avoiding Common Exposure Mistakes
- The Averaging Histogram and Highlight Alert
- JPEG and RAW Image Considerations
- The Ideal JPEG Exposure
- The Ideal RAW Exposure
- The RGB Histogram
- Clipping on the Left
- How Images Lose Highlight Detail
- Metering Modes
- The Language of Stops
- Exposure Modes
- Exposure Modes and Metering Modes
- Automatic Exposure Using Live View
- Manual Exposure Technique
- Chapter 3: Shooting Sharp Images
- Focus Properly – Manual Focus is Preferred
- Reduce Camera Motion and Its Effects
- Reduce Subject Motion and its Effects
- Use Focus Stacking
- Tripod Heads
- Lens Plates
- Dedicated L-brackets
- Tripods, the Environment, and Camera Steadiness
- Optimum Apertures
- Shoot a Little Looser
- Subject Plane and Sensor Plane Should be Parallel
- Keep Still!
- Ladies and Gentlemen: The Plamp!
- Focus Stacking
- Using Flash
- Image Stabilization
- Chapter 4: Light and Color
- The Role of Light
- Qualities of Light
- Chapter 5: The Power of Flash
- Ambient Light Defined
- Advantages of Flash
- Applications of Flash in Close-up Photography
- How the Flash Works
- Flash Basics
- Close-up Flash Techniques
- Specific Flash Techniques
- Main Flash
- Balanced Flash
- Camera-mounted Flash
- Should the Flash be Diffused
- Chapter 6: Photographing Flowers
- Something Extra!
- How do you Photograph Flowers?
- Focus Stacking Techniques
- Chapter 7: Special Photo Techniques for Butterflies and Dragonflies
- How to Find Butterflies and Dragonflies
- Find the Optimum Subjects
- A Successful Morning
- What About the Dragonflies?
- Attracting Butterflies with Flowers
- Photographing Active Butterflies in the Wild
- Butterfly Houses
- Chapter 8: What’s in Our Camera Bags?
- Barbara’s Bag
- John’s Bag
- Why Do We Use This Gear?
- Custom Macro Accessories
- Photography Workshops
- Photo Stacking Software
- Photographic Equipment
Where to Buy
You can find it in hardcover, paperback and e-book versions.
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-08-04 at 20:09. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Ricoh GR III Accessories & Replacement Parts
Here are the model numbers of some of the core accessories and replacement parts for the Ricoh GR III.
- Ring Cap: GN-1
The ring cap is the small plastic ring that attaches around the lens. Chances are, it's fallen off. While you do have to remove it to attach the lens adapter, it's a poor design that tends to fall off and get lost far too often. I've lost a couple of them now.
The camera will work just fine without it. But that will leave some contacts exposed around the lens barrel, which isn't ideal.
The official replacement part is overpriced. But you can also pick up much less expensive aftermarket versions. They're also available in different colors, so you can bling up your camera with a personal touch--or make it look like the Street Edition.
- 【Compatibility】: Designed for Ricoh GRIII (only).This decoration ring is made of high quality...
- 【Easy to use & Protector】:Easy installation and removal and Protects lens barrel exterior.
The GR III has a USB Type-C connector port. When you get a cable, you can get them with another USB Type-C connector on the other end or a more traditional USB Type-A connector. Which you choose depends entirely on what you're plugging into. For example, some newer laptops only have USB-C, while most other computers have USB-A.
- The Anker Advantage: Join the 50 million+ powered by our leading technology.
- Enhanced Durability: Improved construction techniques and materials make a cable that lasts 12× longer.
Battery & Charger
- Battery: DB-110
It's a rechargeable lithium-ion battery rated at 3.6V 1350mAh 4.9Wh.
There are some other cameras that also use the same battery--notably, some Olympus cameras (the Olympus model number for the same battery is LI-90B). So they're quite widely available. You can get the official Ricoh version. There are also aftermarket versions that can be much better value but work just as well.
- This Wasabi Power kit includes 2 batteries and 1 charger for the Ricoh DB-110
- Each Wasabi Power battery features Premium Grade A cells, 3.7V, 1300mAh
- Charger: BJ-11
You can charge the battery in the camera (using a USB-C cable). There are also external battery chargers available. They're especially useful if you're using spare batteries, so you can charge and shoot simultaneously.
- AC Adapter: K-AC166
This is used to power the camera for longer shoots, such as time-lapse, or if you happen to be using the camera for live streaming as a webcam. It connects via the camera's USB-C port.
Wide-Angle Conversion Lens
- Wide-Angle Lens: GW-4
- Lens Adapter: GA-1
- Wired Shutter Release: CA-3
- Easy to operate, Half-press to focus, Full-press to shoot
- Fits macro photography well, eliminates camera shake
- Standard External Viewfinder: GV-1
- Mini External Viewfinder: GB-2
- ✪LCD Screen Protector perfectly fit for Ricoh GR 3 DSLR Camera . Not for other model. Easy to install...
- ✪9H Hardness - Longer tempering time, which made the screen protector has a higher hardness. Prevents...
- Soft Case: GC-9
- Neck Strap: GS-3
- Hand Strap: GS-2
Ricoh has produced a wide-angle conversion lens that takes the standard 28mm view down to a 21mm (in 35mm equivalent). While it does add some extra bulk to an otherwise small camera, it works well and adds a more dramatic, wider view. I have an [in-depth review of it separately](https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/ricoh-gw-4-wide-angle-conversion-lens/).
Something to be aware of, though, is that you will also need to pick up the lens adapter separately. For reasons I really don't understand, the wide-angle conversion lens doesn't come with the adapter, and both are required to make it work. So make sure you pick up one of those at the same time.
Remote Shutter Releases
This is the official Ricoh remote shutter. It connects to the camera via a USB cable, and it's a simple shutter release (i.e., there's no timer or intervalometer).
You can also find aftermarket shutter releases for the GR III.
The Ricoh GR III doesn't have a built-in viewfinder. But they make two versions of an external viewfinder that slides into the camera's hot shoe. It covers both the standard 28mm view as well as the 21mm view if you're using the wide-angle conversion lens. There's also a mini viewfinder; that model seems to be hard to find.
The back screen of the GR III is quite exposed, and if you lie the camera on its back, the screen comes in contact with the surface. Even if you're putting the camera in your pocket, there's a risk of keys or coins scratching the screen.
There's no official screen protector, but there are good aftermarket versions. The one I use is this one. It's essentially a consumable that protects the screen. If you scratch the protector, you can quickly and easily replace it with another from the pack.
You can, of course, use the GR III with just about any camera case or bag. But Ricoh does make a dedicated soft-case that fits snugly around the camera and offers some protection even if you're toting the camera around in your pocket. I've been using one for a couple of years, and it's held up very well, and it keeps my camera safer from bumps and scratches.
Again, there's no particular reason you have to use the official GR neck strap, but there is one. The main part is leather, and it even has a discreet, embossed "GR".
If you do use a different strap, be aware that the strap loops on the camera are very small and won't take thicker (i.e., stronger) attachment loops. So you might need to use some D-rings as well.
There's even an official "GR" leather hand strap! But, again, aside from the branding, there's no special reason to use the official strap. If you do use a different one, you might need D-rings if the thread doesn't go through the camera's small attachment loops.
The GR III doesn't have a built-in flash. It supports the Pentax P-TTL flash protocol.Pentax External Flashes: