One of the best things about this kind of photography is that no special equipment is needed. A basic compact camera will usually have a good close-focusing ability, making it well able to take this kind of image. If you have a DSLR with a zoom lens which includes a standard length and longer, it will be very versatile – and if you have a macro lens, then you have a whole world of possibilities!
You don’t have to look very far for suitable subjects either. Patterns in nature can be found everywhere. The fronds of a fern, ripples in the sand on a beach, the spines of a cactus, or the overlapping petals in the centre of a dahlia – the list is endless. At this time of year, when flowers and foliage are not so abundant, tree bark can be a great source of pattern pictures. In this photo of a birch trunk, I composed the picture so that the stripes were at a diagonal across the frame, which I though made the picture a bit more interesting than having them horizontal.
The more you crop into your subject, the more your macro photography will feel abstract. We all know that the bark photo is a picture of bark – but in fact it is more a picture about patterns and color.
In the same way, this close up of raindrops on a leaf has an abstract feel to it. Of course we know that it’s a leaf – but because it’s only part of a leaf, and not the whole, it seems to be more an abstract pattern made by the veins of the leaf and the circular drops of water.
For this photo of a Gloriosa lily, I intentionally threw the entire subject out of focus, so that the picture has become very abstract indeed, just a composition of colors and curving shapes. It’s about as far as you can get from a botanical record photograph of the lily!
If you would like to learn more about macro Photography why not consider doing Heather Angel 4 week online course Mastering Macro Photography.