Macro Photography, Bulb Filament

My goal for this first experiment was to accomplish a couple of macro photographs.  In making this decision, I chose to shoot the filament of a light bulb under low power.  I encountered some limitations along the way, but was rather pleased with the outcome overall.



Pictures depicting set-up are taken with my iPhone.

My first stop was the hardware store to pick up the supplies that I would need to make this shoot happen.  I knew that in order to accomplish my goal, I would need to set up something low-profile.  A regular lamp just wouldn’t do, it would sit too high on the counter that I am using, I would need to build my own lamp.  All in all, the items I needed cost around $90.  I could have saved about $30 if I already had the wire cutters and electrical tape.  Cost was one of the few limitations when completing this project.  Not every project is going to be cheap though.  After all, building the props you need are only half the fun of the shoot.




Assembled project.


Macro-Bulb-Dimmer-SwitchThe dimmer switch is paramount to this shoot.  This allowed me to control the amount of light being put out by the bulb and gave me the option I desired for exposure settings.





Lowest setting I could get to with the dimmer switch.


Macro-Bulb-Extension-KitNext up, I needed to place an order for a macro tube kit.  This kit allows a photographer to increase the distance between the lens and the camera’s sensor, thus increasing the magnification of the subject being photographed.  They aren’t always as complex as this model is.  Some of them are very simple and have no internal components.  I chose this set because it allowed me to maintain control of the auto focus, and the size of the aperture.  This particular kit is made by FotodioX and costs around $48 from B&H.




When it came to the lens, I decided to keep things simple and used a standard 18-55mm kit lens that came with an old Canon T5i.


The above picture shows all the equipment combined. As you can see, the extenders rest between the camera body and the lens.











Macro-Bulb-ShootingAnother limitation that I ran into, was trying to get the lens as close to the filament as possible.  As you can tell in this picture, the bulb itself created a big obstacle that I could not get around.  If I moved it any further away from the lens than this, my camera would not be able to focus on the subject.






When all is said and done, this really wasn’t a very hard project to complete.  It required very little effort and time.  I did have to spend a little cash to complete the project thought; but, in the end, I came out with some custom images that I didn’t have to pay for.  I didn’t actually get to take very many pictures this time around, but I did I get three images that I do enjoy.  I will put those at the bottom of this article.  If you could have done this project, what would you have done differently?  Please leave a comment below.


Light Bulb Macro 1IdeasLight Bulb Macro 2


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