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Macro Photography without Hurting Yourself

I love shooting macro out in the field. It requires a combination of skill, creativity, accuracy, patience and obviously a bit of luck. But all that crawling around on sharp rocks, sticks and other obstacles can hurt. But there is an easy answer: knee pads.

Mushrooms in the Redmond Watershed Park, Redmond, WashingtonYou can find knee pads in lots of places. The ones carried by gardening stores generally aren't very durable. They often have simple foam rubber padding covered in cloth that can tear easily on a sharp rock. Hardware stores sell knee pads made for construction workers such as those who lay tile or carpet. These tend to be quite hard and durable — almost too much so in some cases. While they probably won't get damaged by crawling around on the ground, some are so big and bulky that they are uncomfortable wearing while standing up. In researching things, the best type of knee pads I have come across are those made for skateboarding. Being designed for an active sport with some degree of risk, they are both ergonomic and sturdy. If they are good enough to prevent skinning your knees on the concrete if you fall off a skateboard, they are also good enough to keep your knees safe while chasing that elusive forest mushroom or alpine wildflower. But at the same time they are comfortable enough that you can get up and walk around with them on to seek more great photos nearby.

It can also be helpful to have a large trash bag or other ground cloth to lie down on, especially if the ground is wet. I've even heard of people carrying Therm-a-Rest or other foam or inflatable mattress pads to lie on for padding in addition to protection from mud and wetness. I've never gone this far myself, but the idea does make one think, now doesn't it?

Date posted: May 21, 2006


Copyright © 2006 Bob Johnson, Earthbound Light - all rights reserved.
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