Last September, my report on a day out in Java was illustrated with the output from my new Sony a55 digital SLR camera (although strictly, it’s not an SLR because it uses Sony’s remarkable translucent mirror technology) – it’s an amazing camera that I’m still learning about. I bought it along with a superb Sony all-purpose wide-angle to telephoto lens, but recently became seduced by the idea that another lens might broaden my scope further – I settled on a macro. Now these things don’t come cheap, but Minolta’s AF 100mm/2.8 macro had excellent reviews and, given that it is now discontinued, could be found on the secondhand market. Now in Indonesia, that’s an interesting market, and an Indonesian photography enthusiast (a slight understatement) friend located several available possibilities and proceeded to negotiate on my behalf – for several weeks. The result was a very acceptable and reasonable price for what is a great piece of kit – it is a genuine 1:1 macro lens. For those interested, here’s the camera and the lens:
Now shooting with a macro takes some learning and experimenting, and I am just beginning. But as you might have guessed, one of the subjects I was interested in experimenting with is – yes, sand. And above are some initial results – a local selection, clockwise from top left: Bako (Sarawak), Bali (Cemagi), Bali (Jimbaran), Komodo, Satonda (Sumbawa), Satonda again, and, centre, Lombok. This is a reasonably high resolution image, so click on it to see more detail. I’m reasonably pleased as a start; I have been well advised by Siim Sepp’s excellent macro-photography post on his Sand Atlas blog. I had tried to get hold of a remote shutter release for the camera (even with a tripod, pressing the shutter vibrates the camera), but with no success – but I found a very clever suggestion on a photography website – just use the self-timer.
You might have noticed the little spheres in the Bali Jimbaran Beach photo – well, here they are, beautiful little foraminifera:
And what makes the sands of Komodo pink? Well, these soft corals do:
[Thanks, Connie (one of my army of dedicated arenokleptomaniacs), for the Jimbaran sample.]