Roaming around in natural areas, there’s usually a long lens on the camera always at the ready for any birds I might come across. In the camera bag are a range of items including a flash I rarely use, a teleconverter, macro lenses and a relatively new add-on, extension tubes.
Having a 400 or 500mm lens is excellent for capturing things from afar. The problem with these lenses is that they’re not as useful when shooting nearby subjects. On my 500mm lens for example, I need to be over 8 feet away to be able to obtain focus.
This is where extension tubes come in handy. They can be added to a wide range of lenses, and once added, they dramatically reduce the minimum focusing distance of a lens.
In some of the included shots, I was using a 70-200mm lens, and shooting from less than 3 <i>inches</i> from these tiny flowers.
The detail you can capture with a telephoto zoom is amazing in itself, but with the addition of extension tubes you get a super-macro lens and a new world of perception opens up.
This summer I have a goal to use these tubes to photograph small flowers and lichens, as well as dragonflies, butterflies and other smaller insects. There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, but from a few recent shots it looks like it will be worth the effort.