extension tube

The Atomist

The Atomist sees the world in a way that few others can. While other photographers might look for monuments or great vistas, you like to think small—often smaller than the eye can see. Of course, working at this micro level takes enormous patience, not to mention a meticulous passion for detail. Even a millimeter’s difference can throw your camera’s focus way off. But when it’s all done correctly, the results are magnificent. The Atomist astounds by finding whole worlds in a single raindrop, by revealing the delicate hairs on an insect’s legs, by illuminating the incredible form and texture in the stamens of a flower. It turns out that if you slow down enough, the most marvelous sights can be found in the tiniest things. Here we take a peek into the Atomist’s bag to see what tools help make the magic happen.

Magnifying the subject

The first and most obvious thing a macro photographer needs is a lens with magnifying powers. If you can’t afford a dedicated macro lens like the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L, there are other ways to achieve the same effect. The three-piece Vello Auto Extension Tube Set can be added on to an existing lens in different combinations for a variety of macro ratios. Another option is Vello’s Macrofier Reverse Mount Adapter and Extension Tube, which enables you to mount your lens backward for extremely close focusing.

Adjusting focus by fractions of millimeters

When you’re shooting macro-level closeups, autofocus isn’t precise enough, and the tiniest variations of distance can make or break the focus you want. To get it right, you need a tool like Oben’s MFR4-5 Macro Focusing Rail. Mount your camera on the rail and adjust its exact position and distance from the subject with ultra-precise adjustment knobs. If you’re focus-stacking, this tool is a must-have.

Sweating the details

It’s all about the fine details. A specialized light like Bolt’s VM-110 LED Macro Ring Light fits around your lens to properly illuminate your tiny subject, while Delta lamps can hold cards to block stray light from entering the frame. Vello’s Universal White Balance Handheld Disc is the easiest way to achieve perfect white balance. To help position the light or the subject, it’s also a good idea to have a roll of gaffer tape, some Fun-Tak, and bobby pins on you—and pack some tweezers while you’re at it. Remember: at this level, no detail is too small to matter.


  • EW-88 Dedicated Lens Hood
  • Auto Extension Tube Set for Canon EOS
  • Universal White Balance Handheld Disc
  • ES-71II Dedicated Lens Hood
  • Macrofier Reverse Mount Adapter and Extension Tube


  • Ruggard Memory Card Case
  • Ruggard Memory Card Case
  • Oben MFR4-5 Macro Focusing Rail
  • Impact Collapsible Circular Reflector Disc
  • Impact Multiclip
  • Bolt VM-110 LED Macro Ring Light
  • Ruggard Thunderhead 35 DSLR & Laptop Backpack
  • Watson LP-E6 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
  • Pearstone Microfiber Lens Cloth
  • Pearstone Battery Adapter Plate
  • Canon 7D Mk2
  • Canon 100mm macro lens
  • Canon 50mm lens
  • Tiffen circular polarizing filter
  • Tiffen neutral density filter
  • Tweezers
  • Measuring tape
  • Bobby pins
  • Fun-Tak Reusable Adhesive
  • ProTapes Pro Gaffer's Tape
  • Delta 1 Muslin Mover Clips
  • Delta 1 Flexgrip with 1/2" Clamps
  • Spray bottle