Keeping An Eye Out For The Small Stuff

Feb 11, 2016  By Dick Gilcreast


My column in the last issue recommended carrying a telephoto of fairly major length either in the shoulder bag or in a backup bag stowed in the car. This time the recommendation is to also have some sort of closeup capability in one of those bags to record any small frames that might suddenly appear, helping to spice up any layout. Here are a couple of examples — both of which are seen much larger than life-size in a 4×6 print.

Barberries in ice:

This is an early photograph, one of the first which started me experimenting in macro mode. While doing winter scenes on a cold but sunny day, this small shot caught my eye. It is a couple of berries on a barberry hedge, coated in ice from a dripping house roof. The shot was close to 1:2, half life size on the film, and I had to go back to the house to get the needed Visoflex II with Bellows II and 90mm f/2.8 Elmarit lens head — and tripod — to get the shot. That was my macro gear of the time, used with M3 and M2 cameras. There had to be a simpler way! After the advent of the Leicaflex SL, my preferred gear for this kind of shot became the ELPRO supplementary lenses used on 50 and 90mm Summicron-R lenses. The 50-R with ELPRO VIb (later 50-R using ELPRO 2) could shoot down to about 1:3, and without any light loss due to extension. It couldn’t quite go down to the 1:2 size seen here, but could be carried in the bag and used handheld.

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