Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide, Now Available. PHD | CB

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There has been more than a hint that we, Clay Bolt and Paul Harcourt Davies, have been cooking up something for a while: in biological terms, you could say it has had a prolonged gestation period.

So here, without further ado, is our first joint eBook venture Wide Angle Macro | The Essential Guide, now available for your perusal and enjoyment at a price of $4.99 merely by clicking on the shopping cart link.  Add to Cart

For this modest sum you get some 93 pages with a wealth of illustrations and just about everything we know concerning a subject near and dear to our hearts. There is no skimping on detail and no patronising the reader. One of us (PHD) has written numerous books on this and other areas of photography where the realities of  ‘hard copy’ publishing have meant compromise on what was included. In Wide Angle Macro | The Essential Guide … that is certainly not the case.

This book is divided into two main sections:

Part 1: The stage is set with an detailed, but highly accessible text ranging from the purely technical side of the hardware (e.g. how various lenses  such as fixed focal length zooms perform) through the tricks and trials of lighting to general approaches for different classes of potential subject. We’ve also included an appendix with tech charts for those with a fondness for numbers and calculations.

Part 2: Something different with a series of personal accounts about specific images with subjects such as plants, insects, spiders, reptiles and amphibians. We discuss how and why they were conceived and then achieved with an encouragement for readers to go out and create their own. We are outdoor photographers after all, and that is where we feel people should be!

Part 2 includes several detailed accounts of some of the author’s favorite wide-angle macro portraits, behind-the-scenes info and a gallery of similar or related images.

We are convinced that the ‘close and wide’ approach not only generates images with impact but can convey maximum information about a subject and its habitat. This makes it an excellent way of imparting information, especially when it comes to conservation and education.  When used in conjunction with other ‘macro’ approaches it becomes an essential part of the bag of varied tricks that creative photographers can have at their disposal.

Each ‘personal account’ is written in essay form and goes beyond just technical details. The authors take you into the field and share ‘why’ they made the photos in addition to ‘how’.

Ideas have been thrown back and forth between us for more than the  past year in the determination to produce something that is the best we can manage. So, we sincerely hope that others will find it useful, stimulating and fun. We are united in a passion for nature and a love of photography but each of us has brought complementary skills and knowledge to the table in creating what is very much a joint effort. CB just happens to be a professional designer (which shows!) and PHD has written reams on ‘macro’ and its techniques and has a very strong technical (even ‘geeky’) background when it comes to lenses and building bits and pieces of kit. Clay, with Niall  Benvie founded the Meet Your Neighbours (MYN) project … and PHD is involved too!

When it comes to nature, well, we are both card-carrying members of the ‘close to home’ fraternity both wandering around our respective ‘gardens’ but occasionally venturing forth as a treat –Clay in the woods and wetlands of South Carolina and the Southeastern U.S. and Paul tramping the hills and meadows of central Italy and elsewhere in the Mediterranean region.

So, yes, we are very excited about this project, especially since it is the beginning and other titles are in the pot and cooking nicely. But, we are full of trepidation, too, having lived very closely to the text and images for ages. If our model works, then we hope to involve other photographers, conservationists all, in future photographic eBooks, with instructional videos …even workshops and courses. We sincerely hope that you like it and spread the word!

One of our main objectives was to stress ways in which wide-angle macro photography lends itself to conservation, education and the well-being and preservation of the subjects that we hold dear.

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We are offering a 20% commission to anyone who sells the book on their own websites. Click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page to download the affiliate code for your own website!

PS. Any errors or omissions are ours and we take that responsibility. When you write and produce your own eBook there is no-one else to blame.


About claybolt

Clay Bolt is an award-winning natural history and conservation photographer whose work and projects have been featured by National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, Scientific American, Outdoor Photographer and Audubon Magazine among others. In 2009 Clay co-founded the "Meet Your Neighbours" project. MYN is an international nature photography project developed to connect people with the wildlife within their own communities. Currently the project has representation in over 30 locations around the world. Clay is passionate about spreading the message that an appreciation of nature begins at home and he continues to seek out new ways to promote this concept through his photography, writing and community involvement.
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34 Responses to Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide, Now Available. PHD | CB

  1. niallbenvie says:

    Well done gentlemen

    I’ve just bought a copy and it is VERY good value.

    The “John Shaw” diffused background is dead as of now!

    Thanks for your work.

    My best


  2. Looks good guys! I wish you the best of success and hope to hear how things go. I agree with the macro comment about foreground and background, one of my favorite bug techniques. I’ll share this info with some friends.


  3. Kim Piddington says:

    Well its about bloody time you & DIY bloke of photography turn one out ….. great stuff, just to order my copy now.
    Will get back to you two in a few days with some feedback from a bloke who is not really a photographer but owns to many cameras & lenses …………… Now can talk Paul into upodating & republishing his Photographing Plants and Flowers book ??


  4. Karen Arnett says:

    How can I purchase this ebook w/out using PayPal? I closed my PayPal account because of problems with fraudulent use and don’t trust it.

  5. niallbenvie says:

    Hello Karen

    Sorry to answer on behalf of Clay and Paul but…Paypal is simply providing the mechanism for using a credit card here: I paid with my Mastercard and didn’t need to log in my Paypal details. So, you don’t actually need a Paypal account to pay. Give it a go!

    My best


  6. claybolt says:

    Hi Niall,
    Thank you very much for this kind endorsement. It is encouraging! Paul and I have fiddled around with this for far too long and it feels good that it has finally seen the light of day. Glad to hear that readers are enjoying it. One never knows….

    Hello Suzanne,
    Thank you so much for purchasing a copy of the eBook. I hope that it will provide enjoyment and insight, or at the very least entertainment. I’m sure that there are at least a few bad puns in there somewhere! :)

    Hi Kim,
    Yes, the day has FINALLY come! We will definitely be releasing more copies over the coming weeks and months and your suggestion is a very good one. Conversations are already happening. Hope you enjoy this edition!

    My best,

  7. paulhd says:

    Greetings Niall – many thanks for them kind words: I would hate to see the back of the diffused background and not just since I have those long focus macro lenses to justify. I know the comment is tongue in cheek but there are times when a subject needs to be taken from its background (and times when not) – whether on white or on soft greens and browns from that OK Bokeh. At WildPhotos 2012 I made a plea for people to use a range of techniques and stop things becoming clichéd. Everything from 10mm fisheyes to 400mm teles can be used for ‘close-focus’ images…the more the merrier.

  8. paulhd says:

    The DIY bloke of photography has heard your plea, Kim. Something on flowers is very much on the cards…the CF cards that is!

  9. Bridget Wijnberg says:

    wowee! Thank you and well done :)

  10. Marie Read says:

    Looking forward to seeing this ebook. Is it in pdf format? Or is some other software/reader needed to read it? Thanks…I’ve always wanted to try this wide-angle macro technique.

  11. claybolt says:

    Thank you Bridget!

    Marie, Nice to hear from you. It is an interactive pdf. Hope you enjoy it!

    My best,

  12. Bruno D'Amicis says:

    Dear Clay and Paul,

    Really a great idea and a fabulous resource for this intriguing kind of photography. I admire you for how you’ve mastered some tricky situations and got great pictures out of them. I am now reading my copy and I am learning many new things. Congratulations!

    Good luck with it and… DIY for life! ;-)

  13. claybolt says:

    Hello Bruno,

    I’m so glad (and encouraged) that you like the book! We’re learning a lot through this process of e-publishing and will work hard to continue to make books on interesting topics.

    Many thanks!!!


  14. michael says:

    I have signed up with E-Junkie to promote your excellent ebook. Do you have any specific code to drop in my WordPress site or will any kind of link work?

    Kind regards


  15. DG Clarke says:

    I just purchased and downloaded your book and have had time to take a brief ‘first look.’ I am very impressed with both the content and the format. I really appreciate the interactive content. It is wonderful added value to be invited to click on a photo in a ‘book’ and get a closer look at the photo as well as additional information. Well done! I look forward to exploring it in detail.

  16. claybolt says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks and yes! You can copy the code by following the link at the bottom of this page: http://www.e-junkie.com/shop/product/482943.php

    We are using a hop-link to go to this blog post.

    DG, I’m so pleased that you like the interactive elements! We have a lot planned for future titles, which will be coming soon! I really appreciate the feedback…

    Kind Regards,

  17. Thanks for putting this together. I am not quite ready to give up my “”John Shaw” diffused background” practice :-) ……..but will definitely be adding these techniques to the toolset.

  18. paulhd says:

    No need to give up anything Steve, my view is that it is important to have a diversity of approaches and ring the changes. There is a dreadful tendency with some people to use just the one way…things change, not least us in our approach to imaging. I work with tele-macro lenses and ultra-wides often on the same subject for a very different view.



  19. paulhd says:

    Many thanks Bruno and also for everyone else’s kind comments they really are appreciated. We have been fiddling with this for a while – almost ready, then there would be just this to fix, knowing that we were already blind to some of the text and images through over-familiarity. The fact so many have liked it is both a joy and a huge relief.

    The encouraging reception in a few short days following the launch came largely while I was off-line thanks to severe local flooding knocking everything out. Very frustrating it was, too.

    It has made Clay and I even more determined to get all the titles we have mooted into a form that can be published. For us it is the way ahead and I cannot tell you how good the freedom not to have to skimp on things feels. We have plans to make further steps into the interactive possibilities with our eBooks so watch this space as they say…more on the way soon!

    Many, many thanks to all who have bought the book; and to those considering it well, don’t feel you have to hold back!


  20. Alex Mustard says:

    Dear Paul and Clay,
    Eleonora and I bought the book last week and got time to read it this weekend. Enjoyable and highly instructive. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone looking to diversify and improve their portfolio.
    Already looking forward to the next in the series, would enjoy seeing a few more shots of the gear in use, seeing how you are positioning the lens and the lighting around subjects.
    Anyway we bought this book as a fan of both your writing, so rather surprised (and flattered) to find my name in back.
    p.s. Paul, if you are ever able to escape the continent and find yourself in Sardinia – give us a shot (a bit of trek for you, Clay).

  21. Clay Bolt says:

    Hello Alex,

    So pleased to hear that you have enjoyed the book. Thank you so much for the feedback and for the suggestion to show more gear being used. Noted!

    Your work is an inspiration. I’m hoping to begin to work in freshwater streams in the Southern Appalachians next spring. I’m sure that I’ll be referencing your work! :)

    My best,

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  24. paulhd says:

    Many thanks Alex,

    When taking gear shots I have to be careful not to show how ‘well-used’ my stuff is…
    I had not realised the Sardinia connection. We do get there and will be there next year in spring/early summer I suspect. Let me know where you are…



  25. Eolake says:

    Oh yes, gear, gear gear.
    I love pictures, I was a painter even before I became a photographer. But I also love gear. So talk and pictures of that is keeewl.

    I’ve bought the book basically just to find out what you do for lenses if you want wide-angle macro.

  26. claybolt says:

    Hello Eolake,
    Very glad you like it and a big thanks for sharing on your blog!
    My best,

  27. Eolake says:

    BTW, I just posted on my blog about the book, hope you don’t mind me using a couple of the images.


  28. paulhd says:

    Thanks very much for your interest and enthusiasm for our first eBook, Eolake: better get some others finished!

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  33. Patrick says:

    Essential Macro Guide is a wonderful book! I’ve already learned a lot. I wonder if you would consider also publishing it in ePub format? I ask because I’d like to take it with me on a shoot. ePubs work MUCH better on my tablet than pdf’s which seem to work best on larger devices. Then I’d have immediate access to your advice while out in the field. In any case it’s a great book. Thanks!

  34. paulhd says:

    Hello Patrick, sorry for the delay in responding. We put it all together in PDF as it then seemed the most universal of formats for tablets and computers. Everything seems to be moving very quickly with Apple planning to put an iAuthor reader in the next reincarnation of its operating system.

    I think we will put together a revised edition soon since I have been experimenting with a SONY NEX & and also with simple diffusers. I hope that in the not too distant future there will be a greater universality between formats…we will certainly consider ePub. Thanks for your eMail.

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