For those of you who have attended one (or more) of my classes through Henry’s School of Imaging (www.schoolofimaging.ca), there was likely at least one point where I deviated from the curriculum and went on a tangent about how much I love Macro photography and Macro lenses. In addition to being able to focus at very close range (sometimes within an inch of your subject, whereas a standard lens often requires you to be about a foot away), Macro lenses are also widely heralded for their unparalleled sharpness and fantastic Bokeh (the out of focus area in the picture below).
Nice sharpness and Bokeh produced by a 100mm Macro lens...
The primary reason I gravitate towards close-up macro photography is simply because it can produce something that we can’t see with the human eye. For example, if you bring an object to within an inch of your eye, you won’t be able to focus on it. However, with a Macro lens you can, and depending on the lens, it is often magnified even further.
It looks like a hidden level on Qbert, but it's a close-up of a reflector on my Jeep...
When I’m feeling photographically uninspired, I will oftentimes throw on my Macro lens and explore what would normally be mundane, everyday subjects, discovering abstract shapes, lines, textures and patterns (see above and below).
Door Knocker close up... Even things we see every day are more interesting with a Macro lens.
One thing you have to be aware of when shooting with a macro lens is that you often need a tripod for the best results. Because you are in such close proximity to your subject, camera movement becomes more of an issue when hand holding. Think of this in the same terms as shooting a small subject at a distance with a telephoto lens. Even the slightest movement of your hands will result in a blurry image.
Macro also tends to show imperfections in your subject, so be aware of dirt, etc.