Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wildflower Photography using Medium Telephoto lenses with Extension Tubes

One of the first lenses I bought almost 20 years ago was a macro so I could photograph small things in nature such as wildflowers and salamanders. Although I still love to photograph small subjects, I rarely ever use or carry a macro lens with me any more. Instead, I use my 70-200mm medium telelphoto zoom lens (which I always have in my camera bag anyway) with a 25mm extension tube to achieve close focus. An extension tube is just a spacer that goes between your lens and body that changes the ability to close focus. There is no glass in the extension tube, but there are electrical contacts so your camera and lens can still talk to each other.

It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of using an extension tube on a medium telephoto lens and it requires that you still use the same methodical and precise technique as you would shooting with a macro lens. But the beauty of this combination is that if you already carry a medium telephoto lens (as many outdoor photographers do) you don't need to lug around an additional macro lens.... only a light weight extension tube. Virtually every close-up wildflower photo I've taken in the last 5 years has been shot with this combination. Here are some spring wildflowers I've shot with a Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens and Canon 25mm extension tube over the past few weeks. 


25mm extension tube with Sigma 70-200/2.8 lens
White Trillium

My typical  wildflower photo gear - shooting the flowers below. 

Spring Beauties


  1. Good idea Ethan. I've got an 85mm PC (Nikkor) lens that I want to try on some spring flowers over the next few weeks. I've only used it in the studio for product photography and almost forgot I had it. But like you said, I rarely bring it with me and the 70-200 f2.8 stays in the bag. Although we differ with cameras, looks like we have the same taste in ball-heads and tripods. Cheers!

  2. wow thats really a nice idea in upcoming week i m also going to buy 70-200 mm lens with that i will by this extension tube by the i m using canon 60d

  3. Images are very clear and good. Thanks for sharing your experience about 70-200 mm lens. Looks great lens.

  4. Luxury Resort in Jim Corbett Park

    We are back at home, after an adventurous and novel experience trekking in the forests around Jim Corbett National Park, and still recounting the stories of our trip.
    A big thank you to Wood Castle Spa & Resort Staff for the warmth and personalized care you extended to all of us; it made the trip very special . Arrangements of place of stay, food, itinerary and thumbs up to you in terms of understanding our needs in particular.
    This is a first rate resort. Everything is taken care of and they add that human touch which makes any holiday experience a little more fulfilling. Our bookings were taken care off by their Delhi Office the same day we requested the reservation. Corbett is a 5 hour drive from Delhi and Wood Castle is about 8 kms from Ramnagar, the last proper town before the National Park.
    The rooms are basic but have all the modern amenities. We requested rooms that opened out to the central lawns and got our wish. Out of the 64 beautifully designed rooms that they have, about 20 are located around the central lawn and the rest are on the path leading to the lawn. The swimming pool is of good size. The children's pool flows into the main pool which we found very convenient. Spa is located right next to the pool.
    The one facility which consistently impressed us was the Restaurant. Ours was an all inclusive plan and eating all Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners in the same place can sometimes get boring but one has to admit that was not the case. They offered variety every time and the quality was always top notch. They offered child menu for our 2 year old and even cooked food outside the buffet and child menu to our exact specifications. The soups were particularly good on all occasions.
    The hotel arranged for the Safari and Angling excursions. The fishing guide who accompanied us to Ramganga river was particularly knowledgeable and knew the exact spots and baits for different fishes. We caught about 6 mahaseers but had to release them back in the water since permits in Corbett are given only for "Catch and Release". The open jeep jungle safari was good fun although we failed to sight the tiger even in the 6-9 am slot.
    Evenings used to come alive with projector set up in the lawn showing wild life documentaries. On one occasion the dinner buffet was organized in the lawn's open setting. Kosi river flows right next to the resort and makes for an excellent evening relaxation spot.
    On all counts, this resort comes up trumps. Definitely going back sometime soon So that is the review of our trip and our happy experience with you.

  5. Congrats Mr. Meleg! You really know your way around the lenses (not that I had any doubt about it). Such delicate little flowers. Beautiful work!

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  9. Great post and awesome shots of the flower. I love the Spring Beauties photo.
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