Cameras

Ring light, camera, action...

The cool thing about a ring flash is that it gives you enough light to forgo the tripod, which means you can chase butterflies around the garden and frolic in the spring sunshine like a newborn lamb with a digital SLR around its neck

I'm mucho excited because I've just splashed out on a Canon MR-14EX. Sex on a stick, obviously... with a name like that, how could it be anything other than highly desirable?

To be fair, it has a dull name because it's a somewhat obscure product. The MR-14EX is a Macro Ring Lite, more commonly known as a ring flash, and it's a circular flash head that wraps around the end of a macro lens to create an all-in-one, lights-and-camera solution for close-up photography. As I said, it's somewhat obscure... but also very cool.

I like close-ups because they make you look at the fine details of natural subjects and everyday objects. And unlike landscape photography, shooting close-ups doesn't involve getting up before dawn and hiking across muddy fields to reach a remote location by sunrise. You can take great pictures at home, using a table-top studio, and because the subjects are small, you don't even need the entire dining table. What you do need, most of the time, is a tripod, because if you don't hold the camera absolutely still, your subject won't stay in focus.


Flowers will hold still while you adjust your tripod, but dragonflies won't

The cool thing about a ring flash is that it gives you enough light to forgo the tripod, which means you can chase butterflies around the garden and frolic in the spring sunshine like a newborn lamb with a digital SLR around its neck. Given the forecast for the weekend (sunshine! 24°C!), that's what I'll be doing for the next couple of days.