Cameron Tubb makes a splash with his portfolio of extraordinary photos of ordinary things
One reader seeks expert feedback on his creative close-ups N-Photo Magazine, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, UK, BA1 1UA With so many exciting colours, shapes and textures in nature, photographers often need to keep things simple, as this issue’s Apprentice discovers. This classic ‘less is more’ adage also shines through in our portfolio review, which features some stunning – and very colourful – images of water droplets. Plus we’ve got some wonderfully evocative Scottish landscapes, and the very best black and white images from this month’s photo contest. Enjoy!
When I started college three years ago, I decided to take a photography course. I chose the course because I wanted to try something new that still involved my interest in nature and wildlife. During the course I found other areas of photography interesting, as I was able to control my surroundings, enabling me to take detailed photos.
The Nikon D3100 was the first camera I bought, and I have recently decided to upgrade to the D7200. I feel that I shoot macro and wildlife best, but I tend to struggle with other genres of photography. I’d really like to have some constructive criticism on my photos from an expert, to help me to improve my skills.
These water droplet photos were taken using a very basic set-up. I would use various things from around the house, such as books as stands and paper for reflectors. This was the hardest part of the shoot as it was difficult to find items around the house that were suitable. The set-up varied depending on the photo, and it was often trial and error that enabled me to find the perfect set-up for a particular shoot.
However, doing it this way gave me a greater sense of accomplishment, as I was able to achieve good quality images without spending loads on equipment. I’m happy with the quality of the images I managed to produce, and I like the way these photos make you stop and look for a while to try to work out how they were taken.
Cameron, it’s great to see a photographer taking stunning and interesting photographs of the things around them. Being able to create an image like this is very satisfying, as you mentioned, because you can construct and shape the world however you like – you’re responsible for the final image.
The most vibrant shot  is full of shapes, colour and texture. Not only is it visually stimulating, it’s also intriguing – as you say, it leaves the viewer wondering how it was taken, and where the colours come from. Compositionally it’s well structured and nicely balanced, and not too uniform, which is a good thing. It’s almost straight-on, but not quite, as is apparent from the focus dropping off at the very top and bottom of the frame. Also the dark circle at the top of the image is slightly distracting, as it throws the weight of the photo to the left. We’d like to see what this image would look like with all the droplets in sharp focus, though this would probably involve creating a photo stack, since you’re already shooting at an aperture of f/20.
The close-up image  is an interesting departure from the top-down approach, and really shows the water’s surface tension holding the three-dimensional shape of the droplets. Again the composition could use some work – for example it might be interesting to see the dark
I like the way these photos make you stop and look for a while to try to work out how they were taken
1 Nikon D3100, Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G, 1/10 sec, f/20, ISO100 2 Nikon D3100, Nikon AF-S DX 40mm f/2.8G, 1/10 sec, f/20, ISO100