Macro Reversing Ring
I photographed the lichen growing on this concrete 'mushroom' thing using an 18-70mm zoom lens fitted with a lens reversing ring.
A reversing ring will convert any 'standard' lens into a close up or 'Macro' lens for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated Macro lens.
Fit a reversing ring to a zoom and you have a close up lens with a zoom facility - that's something a proper Macro lens can't do.
To use a reversing ring you have to make a manual exposure because the lenses electronics won't work, and in this video I control depth of field with a blob of Blu-Tak so it's all very low tech but with great results.
Costing from around £5 to £10 compared to a proper Macro which would start at the £250 mark, a macro reversing ring becomes a very cheap alternative. Image quality is as good as the lens you're using it on.
Personally I love low tech solutions to all photography. great images is more about you and how you think than the price of your kit. A lens reversing ring is a great example.
7 Steps to Perfect Pictures is a demanding course because it's akin to learning a new language. Even if one masters the grammar that's useless unless the vocabulary comes easily in conversation when it's needed. So for me, the true value of the course was to provide me with the elements that will enable me to become "fluent" over time.