After we went inside from the water lilies I decided it was time to work on my second goal of the day (I had four 1) test out Kelly Moore Hobo bag, 2) Waterlilies 3) Test out tubes, 4) test out pocket wizards), there will be posts to cover the remaining two next week!
Back in July Mike got me a set of Kenko Extension Tubes that I can pair with my macro lens (though I can use them with any of my lenses) to get even larger than 1:1 magnification. They took a bit of getting used to, but they worked well with how I tend to shoot macros (dialing in to the focus/magnification I want and then moving the camera back and forth to place the focus where I want, like how focusing rails work). Here are my first few shots of some of the smaller flowers with I think just the largest tube (how I wish it recorded that info in your EXIF data).
I spent most of the rest of the day with at least one tube on, sometimes I put on all of them (that made things a bit awkward). My friend Amanda who I met up with again that day at Longwood has a set of Pro Optic Budget Extension Tubes that she uses for all of her macros (with a 35mm or 50mm non-macro lens) and we also took the chance to compare the sets. It does seem, at least to me, that the extra cost for the Kenko tubes is worth it, they have metal mounts, feel much sturdier, are lined on the inside (on the pro optic ones you can see the metal rods that make the electrical connections between the camera and the lens) etc. They both seem to function about the same though if you can only afford the less expensive ones. Overall though, I am really happy with the tubes, it is fun to be able to get in even closer to things. I might have to save up for that Macro Photo MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Manual Focus Lens sooner than I thought!