Seattle Photographer | Macro Photography with Extension Tubes

It’s time for my Tuesday blog post and my blogging group has been talking about macro photography this week. Macro photography absolutely amazes me. I find it very impressive that a lens can be focused to make a tiny object look much greater than its actual size. I’ve wanted to purchase a macro lens for quite some time, but I’m somewhat hesitant about spending the money because I’m not sure how much I would use it.

The good news is that there is a less expensive alternative to achieving macro results by attaching an extension tube between the lens and the camera body. The tube does not contain any optical elements, and it’s purpose is to move the lens further from the image plane. The longer the extension tube, the greater the magnification. Unfortunately, this also cuts down on the light hitting the sensor, so a longer exposure time most likely will be required.Β The ability to focus to infinity is also lost in this process.

There are a number of extension tubes on the market these days. Check out Amazon, Ebay, B&H, Adorama, and your local camera store to find the option that works best for your needs and fits your budget. Prices vary from $150 down to $5.00. From my research, it appears that you get what you pay for when it comes to extension tubes. I have Canon cameras and if I purchase their EF 25II Extension Tube, I will be able to focus and control the aperture with my EF lenses. However, if I purchase a $5 extension tube set on Amazon by Bolo Brands, I will not be able to control my auto focus system or choose my aperture

Will adding an extension tube to one of my professional quality lenses allow me to achieve the same image quality as if I used a macro lens, such as the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM ? At this point, I believe that it’s possible, but I anticipate a few downsides with the extension tubes, especially the cheaper ones.Β  I mentioned above that a longer than normal exposure time will most likely be needed. Since I generally handhold when shooting, I’ll have to use my tripod. This is not a complete downside, but it may be inconvenient at times.Β  I’ve also heard of larger lenses falling off the cheaper extension tubes and that is something that I certainly don’t want to risk with my expensive lenses.

I’m willing to give extension tubes a chance while keeping these limitations in mind so I’ve ordered a set from If I like working with them, then I might invest in a better quality set or one of Canon’s excellent macro lenses.

Now go check out my friend Tara of Tara Colburn Photography and see what her macro photography post is all about this week by clicking here!

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Tara ColburnNovember 13, 2012 - 7:21 am

Great info! I’ve been wanting to try extension tubes for a while since I know I would RARELY use a true macro.

Karen CooleyNovember 13, 2012 - 7:45 am

Ooo, love this info! I forgot about extension tubes… I should invest in a set until I can get a macro lens. I’m such a detail junkie that I think the lens would be a good investment! πŸ™‚

David GNovember 13, 2012 - 8:28 am

Another inexpensive option is a lens reversing ring, which allows you to mount your lens “backwards” onto your camera body. Of course you lose auto focus and exposure capability, but it’s another way to make it work for a lot less money than the lens itself!

BrianNovember 13, 2012 - 9:16 am

I have tried the reverse 50mm the dof is paper thin. also heard good things about the kenko extension tubes but have not tried them yet

JamaNovember 13, 2012 - 9:52 am

Wow, great info! I wasn’t aware of so many options. Thanks.

ChristineNovember 13, 2012 - 11:58 am

I never knew how extension tubes worked – thank you for sharing!

I played with the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro last week and LOVED it. I figure it is pretty dual purpose – the bokeh is so dreamy with portraits. Definitely considering purchasing it, seeing as I don’t HAVE to use it solely for macro!

Tina BeckettNovember 13, 2012 - 12:36 pm

Thank you for the information on macro tubes! Never really looked into them before πŸ™‚

Jennifer BatzNovember 13, 2012 - 5:10 pm

great information! I should get some extension tubes!

Melissa BergNovember 13, 2012 - 5:55 pm

Great info! I never had luck with extension tubes and finally recently got the 100mm macro 2.8. Love it so far!

Huong ForrestNovember 13, 2012 - 8:18 pm

Very intriguing, Ally! I’ve never tried extension tubes and may have to do so soon!

[…] need a macro lens to do macro photography at all!! Yes, you’ve read that right! Check out this post about using extension tubes instead! It is an inexpensive solution that will you get you the macro […]

Seattle Photographer | A Vintage Treasure

A couple months ago, some of my friends and I started a blogging group where we have one topic a week that we write about and share it on our blogs every Tuesday. This week’s topic is “vintage,” and I’m pretty excited about it!

My vintage object that I chose to write about and photograph is a Brownie Junior Six-16, which I received for my birthday in July. Unfortunately, It doesn’t work, but I think it’s beautiful and I love displaying it on the mantel in my living room.

The Brownie Junior Six-16 is a box roll film camera made by Kodak and was just one of their many Brownie cameras they produced over the years. The Six-16 has a rotary shutter and a meniscus lens. The film size is 616, producing an image of 2 1/2″ x 4 1/4.” The body is a letherette covered metal box and the front panel options always included either black with an embossed design or gilt with a geometric Art Deco (

The Six-16 was first introduced in 1934, but later discontinued in 1942. In 1934, you could purchase this camera for roughly $2.75. It can be purchased today online anywhere from $8-$100. If you are interested in purchasing one, check out what eBay has to offer by clicking HERE.


Now go check out my friend and amazing photographer, Karen of Be Photography by Karen Cooley, to see what vintage treasure she wrote about this week by clicking HERE!

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[…] lens – rookie move! Hope you enjoyed!Β  Now hop on over to my friend and fellow photographer, Ally’s website, and see what she’s up […]

ChristineNovember 6, 2012 - 9:28 am

Ally, this is absolutely gorgeous! Definitely a collectors item with sentimental value πŸ™‚

Tara ColburnNovember 6, 2012 - 10:55 am

Ooooh nice! I’d love to play around with a working Brownie six-16!

David GNovember 6, 2012 - 5:56 pm

This is a really nice image of that “vintage” photographic staple. Funny thing is . . . I may actually have a roll of 616 film in my own collection. πŸ˜‰

KristinaNovember 7, 2012 - 7:15 am

I love old cameras! πŸ™‚

AudreyNovember 7, 2012 - 7:21 am

Whoa that’s a beauty! Vintage cameras should be something I start collecting πŸ™‚

EllyNovember 7, 2012 - 7:37 am

Love the camera! Love the vintage theme!

Donna BeckNovember 7, 2012 - 7:56 am

Vintage cameras are so awesome, would love to try one out and play!

Karen CooleyNovember 8, 2012 - 6:57 am

Omigosh! A Brownie!!!!!! Squee!!!! I would love to get my hands on one of those and play with it!! Shame yours doesn’t work, but man, what a treasure to have & display!

Seattle Child Photographer | Little Miss M

I can’t believe tomorrow is November 1st! Where did this month go??? It seems like I was photographing Thomas for his newborn photos yesterday, but it was almost a month ago! If you’re interested, you can view his newborn blog post by clicking here.

During Thomas’ session, we took several breaks, including one where we went outside with his big sister, Miri, to get a few shots of her. Below are some of my favorite images πŸ˜€

Miri was such a pleasure to photograph and she has the most amazing blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I loved how curious she was about everything that was in reach and/or sight.

Isn’t she a doll? πŸ™‚

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NatalieOctober 31, 2012 - 8:45 am

You’re right, she has gorgeous eyes!!! Can’t wait to see the new ones of her little brother πŸ™‚

JamaOctober 31, 2012 - 8:50 am

Her eyes are gorgeous and her pink shoes make her outfit. So sweet.

Cherilyn HainesOctober 31, 2012 - 8:51 am

She is precious! Love her big, beautiful, blue eyes. πŸ™‚

Huong ForrestOctober 31, 2012 - 9:55 am

Wow, her eyes ARE very blue! Gorgeous!

loriOctober 31, 2012 - 11:18 am

What a doll! And what gorgeous blue eyes! The year is truly going by too quickly.

Danielle DuttaOctober 31, 2012 - 11:46 am

I love these photos, Ally. She is adorable!

Seattle Newborn Photographer | DIY Background Stand


After photographing a few newborns, babies, and even a couple puppies, it occurred to me that I could make things a little easier on myself if I had a small background stand of some sort. Since I normally travel to a family’s home to make it easier on them, I realized I needed something that is light to carry around and easy to build and pull apart again. I also didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but it needed to be sturdy so it was safe to use around a newborn.

Somewhere online about a little over a month ago, I came across instructions for a DIY background stand made out of PVC. I didn’t think that I would blog about it until a few weeks ago, so unfortunately I don’t remember who made this design. I quickly typed the list of parts into my iPhone’s notepad and planned to pick up the necessary items of PVC at the Home Depot near my house.

The PVC background stand that you see below was very easy to make. I used a saw at the hardware store to cut the pipping, grabbed some of the necessary joints (I had ordered a few online already), and headed home to quickly put it together in about 5 min. The total cost for the stand was about $20.

When I was at the hardware store, I also picked up some cheap plastic clamps. Plastic clamps have been a great way to attach a blanket to the stand to use as the backdrop.

Below is a list of all the parts that were needed. Please note that the 3-way corner joints needed to be purchased online (click HERE) and all PVC pipping and joints were 3/4 of an inch.

7 ~ 44″ Long Pieces

4 ~ 19″ Long Pieces

2 ~ 24″ Long Pieces

4 ~ Bend Joints

2 ~ “T” Joints

4 ~ 3-Way Corner Joints

My friend and fellow photographer and blogger, Huong of Huong Forrest Photography also blogged about a DIY project this week. Check out what she made by clicking HERE!

Photos Taken With Instagram

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[…] on over to my talented photographer friend Ally Davis’ blog and see what DIY project she undertook this […]

ChristineOctober 30, 2012 - 7:09 am

Wow, this looks super easy to put together Ally, and so useful too! Have you had a chance to use it yet? Is it quite stable?

AllyOctober 30, 2012 - 7:40 am

Christine, I’ve used it a couple times and it’s been great!

MonicaOctober 30, 2012 - 8:18 am

wow looks super handy. might be a DIY project in my future

Melissa JeanOctober 30, 2012 - 8:55 am

I’ve been considering making one of these as well! I have a large stand I use, but it’s too cumbersome for taking to clients homes. I’d love to see photos shot using this!

Katherine WeeksOctober 30, 2012 - 9:33 am

What a wonderful and cost effective idea. thanks for sharing

Huong ForrestOctober 30, 2012 - 11:11 am

Eeeeeppss! I’ve been wanting to do this forever! I can’t wait to do this!

Love Me Kiss Me - ChasityOctober 30, 2012 - 1:39 pm

This is really cool. I remember making something like this when I first started photography but it didn’t look as cool as yours!

SylviaOctober 30, 2012 - 8:06 pm

I saw this on pinterest too. Pretty neat idea!!

MaggieOctober 30, 2012 - 9:59 pm

What a great idea; thanks for sharing!

LoriOctober 31, 2012 - 2:40 am

What a great idea! And so simple and inexpensive to make!

SarahOctober 31, 2012 - 9:28 am

What a great idea!!! It looks so simple too!

WendyDecember 29, 2012 - 10:54 am

I’ve been trying to find the pieces for this stand for a while. My little town doesn’t carry the corner joints. When I finally was able to find everything (minus the corner joints) and got them all home to start construction, I realized that the joints and the pipes don’t fit together. They’re both 3/4″? How can 2 pipes that are the same size fit together? Did I miss something? Or am I supposed to get joints that are 1″?

AllyDecember 29, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Hey Wendy! I’m sorry that is happening. I sent you an email with some info. Happy New Year!

Seattle Pet Photographer | Meet Sevita!

Seattle Pet Photographer

Photo by Sevita’s Parront

A couple weeks ago, I visited the Northwest Parrots Fund in Seattle, WA to photograph a few of their wonderful parrots. I had a great time, and I was amazed by each parrot’s unique and fun personality. Click HERE to view last week’s blog post about that experience that includes a slideshow of images.

Michael Ostrogorsky, Ph.D, is the founder and director of the Northwest Parrots Fund. He contacted me a little bit ago about one of their parrots who is ready for adoption. I wanted to take this opportunity to blog about Sevita and get the word out that she is in need of a new home.

Sevita, who you see in the picture to the right, is an 8 year old Congo African Grey parrot. She has lived with her current owner, or “parront,” for the past 7 years. Sevita’s parront feels that she can no longer give Sevita the attention and care she needs anymore.

Sevita is in good health and her wings are clipped. She has her own perch, cage, and a plethora of toys. Sevita has a distinct preference for women and has always been the only pet in her household.

According to the Northwest Parrots Fund website, African Gray’s are not starter parrots and it’s important that owners have prior parrot experience. African Gray’s also have a long life expectancy of over 50 years.

If you are interested in adopting Sevita or just finding out more information, head on over to her adoption page on the Northwest Parrots Fund by clicking HERE.

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Cherilyn HainesOctober 26, 2012 - 6:53 am

She’s beautiful! I would totally adopt her if I had any knowledge of birds at all. (And if I didn’t have a super annoying dog!)

David GOctober 26, 2012 - 9:54 am

Parrots are beautiful and intelligent birds . . . this is such a great opportunity for someone who truly wants a lifelong companion!

Huong ForrestOctober 26, 2012 - 10:28 am

Ahhhh! You’ve been photographing more animals lately! I hear parrots live a LONG life, so I hope this one goes to a great home!

EllyOctober 26, 2012 - 10:57 am

Awww Beautiful!

Jennifer BatzOctober 26, 2012 - 3:17 pm

awe, cute story! Wish I could adopt her!

NatalieOctober 26, 2012 - 10:27 pm

Such a beautiful bird!

LauraOctober 27, 2012 - 2:22 pm

Pretty bird, hope she finds a good forever home soon!