Dates are being revised due to Covid-19

Close-up photography reveals a whole new world. It is exciting and possible with any digital camera. This course will not only enable you to understand the basics, but show how to get extreme close-ups just millimetres across. We will look at the lighting of small objects and how to achieve maximum focus. Most will be done in workshops within and around the centre using simple material to practice on. No prior knowledge is assumed.

The aim is to help you achieve the maximum potential of your camera to get in close to the subject, whether it is flowers or insects, aquatic or terrestrial. We will be using various methods to achieve a wide range of close-ups. This includes general field macro such as butterflies and dragonflies through to extreme, ultra close-ups of just the head of the insect; an aphid or the pollen on anthers. Either a DSLR or mirrorless camera is ideal although almost any camera can be used to achieve stunning results. The diversity of methods will enable many options to be tried by the participants. Later in the course both seashore and freshwater creatures will be photographed. Depth of Field is a major consideration in close-up photography and we will look at different techniques that can be used especially Focus Stacking to improve the quality of your photographs. As well as your own equipment, other equipment will be available for participants to use.

We will be using the immediate, local environment for material and inspiration, concentrating on skills and techniques. Some subjects will be taken back to the Centre to look at methods of staging the material. Participants will find it best to bring their own laptop with the software which they are used to but, if necessary, a basic Windows laptop can be provided for use during the course. We will be using focus stacking software such as Helicon Focus but a trial version can be downloaded during the course.

If you have any question on the suitability of the course, your camera or needs, please contact Julian through the Centre for clarification.

Tutor: Julian Cremona

Julian Cremona was Head of Centre at Dale Fort with interests in aquatic ecology, wildlife photography, travel and computing. He specialises in all aspects of digitised imagery, from the taking of photographs to manipulating them on the computer. His recent books include Digital Photography Made Easy (2005), Extreme Close-up Photography and Focus Stacking (2014), Beyond Close-up Photography (2018) and Photographic Image Enhancement (2019).
  • Insect leaping to flower

Example Timetable

The following is an approximation of what will be covered although inevitably it will depend on the needs of the group. Also the timetable may change according to tides and weather. This is a practical course with class demonstrations followed by participants trying out the techniques themselves. There will always be plenty of chance for questions and one to one discussion.

Monday Evening: An introduction to the course with a slide show of some of the main aims

Tuesday Morning/Afternoon:  An introduction to all methods of achieving macro and extreme close-ups with demonstration, followed by practical work set up on site.A local walk after lunch to practice macro in the field.
After tea a chance to download and look at photos. Discussion of sharpness and depth of field. Principles of focus stacking.

Tuesday Evening: Will be mainly consolidation and chance for one to one discussion.

Wednesday Morning/Afternoon: Lighting Methods including flash and LED, followed by practical work. After lunch local walk followed by downloading and checking images. Brief discussion with demonstration of focus stacking, both manual and automatic.

Wednesday Evening: Will be mainly consolidation and chance for one to one discussion.

Thursday Morning/Afternoon: Additional materials, methods and photographing aquatic specimens in tanks. This is followed by practical work with observation tanks and marine specimens.
After lunch a local walk followed by downloading and viewing images.
After tea there will be a discussion and round up of additional features.

Thursday Evening: If required we will follow up any aspect of the course with more detail during the evening.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport

Before You Attend

Start and Finish Times

Resident visitors are requested to register at the main office between 4.00 – 5.30pm. Dinner will be at 6.00pm. An introductory talk will follow. Breakfast will be at 8.00am. Departure will be after breakfast on the last day. Non-resident guests are asked to arrive in time for dinner.

What to Bring

  • Own laptop with software (see course description)
  • Camera with equipment (a limited amount of equipment such as tripods, lighting and focusing rails can be provided)
  • Notebook, pencils and pens
  • Stout walking shoes/suitable footwear
  • Lunch box, flask and drink bottle
  • Waterproofs and wellingtons (can be borrowed from the centre, if necessary)