By now my loyal readers know how much I like to grab a camera and walk around our patch in the country — winter or summer. This week, with almost everything in bloom, I picked one of my favorite flower lenses, my Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro.
The light is beautiful during the “golden hour,” which is generally the last minutes during and after sunrise and before and during sunset. The darker periods before sunrise and after sunset are called the “blue hour” and have much to offer in terms of light as well.
The term “macro” is thrown around a lot by lens makers and smartphone companies, and though your mileage may vary, nothing can take the place of a true macro lens. Nikon, for some reason, calls them “micro,” but they all work the same way: The optics inside are designed specifically for focusing very close to the subject, often close enough to resolve details the human eye cannot.
In addition to my 100mm, I have a Nikon 60mm f/2.8. It’s a great lens and might be the sharpest optic I own, but the 100mm lets me work a little farther away from the flowers and critters I like to photograph.
My photography students sometimes ask if the 100mm is a good portrait lens, and the answer is yes, but there are even better options for portraits. My 85mm f/1.8 comes to mind.
If you have any interest at all in going down the macro rabbit hole, consider a real, dedicated macro lens. You won’t regret it.