I've been playing around with the extension tubes again. Above is one of a set of Chinese iron balls that a friend gave me for my birthday. They've come in very handy (if you'll excuse the pun) and are a great way to relax your hands and your mind after a lot of typing and thinking.
Taking macro shots has been a good learning experience. The more you extend the lens with extension tubes, the narrower the depth of field becomes. Consequently focus becomes more important and if you move the camera or the subject by even a millimetre or less, the focus is noticeably off. To take shots with a larger depth of field (stopping the lens down/decreasing the aperture size, and thus letting less light in), the exposure time has to be increased dramatically. The longer exposure time means that you have to keep the subject still for longer, which can be more difficult at that scale than it first appears. The way around this is to get more light on the subject to reduce the exposure time, but you need a lot of light. Two 500 Watt floodlights did the trick for me, but they get hot quickly!
With the extension tubes stacked it's possible to get some impressive magnification happening.
Above is macro shot of a Galileo thermometer. It's good to see all of the glass bubbles huddling together at the top of the tube - it's getting colder! Similarly, for the first time in months my temp-sensitive Massive Attack singles box has turned black. It's nearly cold enough to wear beanies again \o/
The down side of wearing beanies is that it makes it impossible to use headphones at the same time (try it, you'll see what I mean), and I've never been able to find earphones that produce enough bass. Actually, the earphones produce the bass but they don't fit well enough in my ears, so most of the low frequencies are lost. Lost! Thankfully in a few weeks that will be solved as I've been (im)patiently waiting for some Sony Fontopia Earbuds to arrive. They're the sort of earphones that go inside your ear canals and form a complete seal, thus locking in those tasty frequencies (and also locking out ambient noises - probably not a good idea to use them while out and about unless you don't want to hear your untimely death coming). In other words, Sony earbuds are sort of like Shure's in-ear monitors, without the insane price tag.