I broke down and purchased Vello extension tubes for my Nikon D5100. One of my favorite photography sites, DP Challenge, finally had a macro challenge and one of the photographers talked about using these extension tubes and being happy with them. Plus the reviews at B&H Photo were good.
My favorite types of photos to take are telephoto and macro. I've been waffling for a while between getting a bigger telephoto lense (right now my biggest is 70 - 300 mm) but is a 400 mm telephoto a big enough step to keep me satisfied? The 500 mm telephoto is just too expensive right now, maybe too expensive for a long time.
But I've also been looking at the Lensbaby products. Those could be fun, and I could probably take more unique photos with that system. But with Lensbaby I'm not gaining anything in telephoto ability, and Lensbaby relies on the ability to manual focus and on more extensive manual camera use than I am comfortable with yet. So would I be successful or would I be frustrated?
I finally decided I was not going to make an expensive decision anytime soon, so $80 to get additional macro capabilities would not be a waste of money.
They arrived today and already I like them. They are going to make me start learning how to use manual focus, and while the photos are not perfect, I liked what I got even on day 1. (The extension tubes still work with auto focus, but since the focus area is so small I found it necessary to use manual focus to figure out how far from the focal point I could be, then I could shoot some with manual focus and some with autofocus. I'm not sure which, if any of the photos below, were manual focus.
Now for the pictures I captured today...
(Remember I'm a South Dakotan who loves summer, and I was just in a blizzard last week so this budding vegetation was very exciting for me.)
This first picture is from a flowering tree, one of those trees that turns all pink for a couple of days until the wind blows then it's just brown the rest of the year.
These are buds from our lilac bush. We really need to prune the bushes, they are over six feet tall. But the bushes are right on the property line so we're not sure if they are our bushes or our neighbor's, although they touch our dining room windows almost so I'm kind of thinking they probably belong to us. But I liked that you can see a hint of lilac.
The neighbor on the other side has this old, tiny, falling down shed. When I came home yesterday there were hundreds and hundreds of these boxelder bugs coming up from beneath the shed. The huge clumps of bugs had scattered by today when I was playing with my new lenses, thank goodness, it was kind of a horrific site, but I still kind of liked this shot.
Happy Mother's Day!