Close up photography covers images that your closest focusing lens or camera can take effectively. Macro allows you to go even closer, using extension tubes or macro filters fitted to your camera and lens which allow you to focus beyond the 1:1 ratio.

For the iNaturalist challenges where you will be looking for any number of the over 4 700 confirmed species found in the Garden Route district, here are a few tips. If possible, ensure your camera is set up to record the GPS position and the date and time the image is taken. Use a tripod to keep your camera still which will allow you to attend to your subject. Get close-up so you see your subject clearly, while maintaining focus. Use white paper or white card to reflect (bounce) sunlight or artificial light into the shaded areas of your subject. For insects or other invertebrates, temporarily hold them in a petri dish or similar container to photograph; if transparent, use a plain card in the background to minimise visual distractions. Focus on one subject at a time.

Remember you can increase the sensitivity of your camera by using a higher ASA or ISO setting to get higher shutter speeds (for better focus) and smaller apertures (for greater depth of field). There is a trade-off though – the higher the ASA/ISO, the more image noise or grain, so don’t go beyond the point where image noise cancels out the sharpness of the subject matter. Happy exploring!