Photography Walk

"Budget-friendly Close-up Flower Photography"
Mary Louise Ravese, Bella Vista Photography

  • Thursday, January 23, 2020 – 10:00 am1:00 pm

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When we are able to get a close-up view of flowers, we can produce beautiful, intriguing photographs. Many amateur photographers think that to achieve these images you need to invest in a costly macro lens. Fortunately, that's not true. Extension tubes and close-up diopters (filters) are accessories that you can use together with you existing lenses to enable close-up photography. For the photographer who likes to occasionally dabble with close-up photography, they are a welcome, budget-friendly option. Mary Louise will explain how to use these accessories to successfully achieve close-up images. Then, under her guidance, participants can practice close-up photography in the indoor classroom using cut flowers they bring.

dahlia flower closeup

What to bring

  • Suitable for traditional cameras (DSLR and mirrorless).
  • Zoom or fixed focal length lens with a focal length over 70mm
  • (optional) One or more extension tubes (Mary Louise recommends getting a set like those made by Kenko. Make sure to get ones that fit your camera mount and allow lens autofocus functionality. ~$100 - $130)
  • (optional) 1 or more close-up diopter (aka close-up filter) for your lens (I recommend getting a set from a well-known filter manufacturer like Hoya or Tiffen. Price will vary based on lens filter size. Note larger filters can be used with smaller lenses by using a “step-down ring”)
  • A tripod is required since we will be photographing indoors, potentially at shutter speeds too slow for hand-holding without blur. A tripod ball head is preferable for ease of positioning
  • Cut flowers or similar (for practice). Bring a vase, flower frog, or floral foam to hold flowers. A mixture of flat face flowers (e.g. daisy) and deep flowers (e.g. lily) provides optimal practice opportunities

Mary Louise Ravese

About Mary Louise Ravese

Mary Louise Ravese specializes in fine art nature and travel photography from locations across the world. Her photographs are in private, university, and corporate collections in over 40 states and are exhibited nationally. She is the owner and principle photographer for Bella Vista Photography, and has a resident artist studio at 311 Gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mary Louise is a regular speaker and competition judge for photography clubs in multiple states. She is an experienced photography instructor who has trained hundreds of amateur photographers. She enjoys teaching on a wide range of topics related to nature, travel, and creative photography, and can help with both the technical and aesthetic aspects of picture making. Mary Louise leads classes and workshops at a variety of locations across the United States and abroad. For more information visit her Web site at

$30.00 for members, $40.00 for nonmembers.
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited to 12 people and is considered complete when payment is received.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks prior to the program's start date. No refunds will be made after this time. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this program.