Macro close-up of wooden Grandma toy figure

Macro Photography: A Fisher-Price Grandma in Found Light

Macro close-up of wooden Grandma toy figure

Macro photograph of a wooden Fisher-Price grandma figure face


Macro photography was today’s subject in our one-picture-a-day project. I broke out the venerable Nikon PB-6 Focusing Bellows. I didn’t want to take the time to set up a light box, so I found some ambient light at a window in the living room. The complete rig consists of a Manfrotto tripod, Nikon D90, PB-6 bellows, and a Micro-Nikkor 60mm 2.8 AF. The forward placement and the tissue box were necessary to get over an obstacle on the floor in order to use the light as it fell in the room.

Macro set-up

Impromptu Macro Setup at a living room window

I set the aperture on the 60mm at F8 to get some depth of field. The D90 will not meter without direct attachment to a CPU lens, so I bracketed the time. This one was 1/30th of a second. I used a remote to get around camera shake. Note that the bellows is cranked most of the way closed. This set-up is powerful; this was the largest part of the subject I could fit in the frame in focus, even cranked down this far. I could have done the same work with extension tubes. I have those, too, but the bellows is what I wanted to play with today.

I like the challenge of using available light. I was not looking for a particular result; I just wanted to experiment with macro photography. I rather like how the roughness of the wood is complements the “granny” features of the toy. The strong side-lighting brings that out. I suppose in a light box studio we’d work more with filling in the shadows, etc. The danger is that we’d end up with a sterile studio look–which we’d then try to compensate, and in the end we’d spend an hour reproducing what otherwise took ten minutes at a plain old sunny window!

Incidentally, that’s a vintage Fisher-Price granny; she has an older-style wooden body. She may well be as old as grandma.

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