Shell Button Details

Today I display an old shell button shot through the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens that I rented a few weeks ago. To find out more about the lens look at the first of these posts. They are photographed on a welder’s mask glass. This is an adaptation of an idea I saw on David William’s blog  who uses black plexiglass for some of his macros.

I think this is actually two buttons, there are several held together on a small string. Since they are shot at up to 5x magnification I can’t see enough of these to tell if they are the same one or not. They reside in a button tin with other subject matter that has been seen on this blog, like glass buttons, an incised ball bearing, a small snap fastener and other sewing doo-dads. Occasionally an old button is used for some special sewing project. No one that has such a button as these on their night-shirt (of which I have half a dozen all with nice buttons some probably from this very tin, made of linen, cotton-linen, and even a cotton-raw silk mix, I think – aren’t I lucky?) would ever notice the tiny saw teeth marks on the margins of the button where it was cut out of the larger shell. The colour and textures of this shell, especially so close, looks very much like it could be bone, but that is just a trick to the eye. And, actually, I am not sure if these are technically buttons as the holes are off centre near one edge only so they may have been more decorative items of some type.

My switch to flowers and totem poles in the middle of this series of extreme macro shots may have been confusing to you, but I needed a break, the flowers are in season and the pole caught my eye while out looking at flowers. I am back to these macro shots briefly as I have nearly used them up. Then on to who knows what.



Canon 5Dii, Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro Lens, ISO100, f-8, 1/4 second (top two) and 1/13th second (bottom)




12 thoughts on “Shell Button Details

  1. It’s amazing how every object seems to be a world unto itself. David is right – it looks like wood! I bet there is something about shell striations that link with the rings of a tree trunk. Amazing shots as usual. Still the coolest lens EVER!


    • Hi Ryan, I had to have another look with the naked eye to confirm they were shell. Shells do have growth rings like trees. I know that archaeologists can use them, sometimes anyway, to estimate the season in which the shell was harvested – useful information about when a place was being used in the past. Archaeologists also use tree rings, but more for dating purposes when there is a local chronology of annual growth patterns to compare to. But, usually they don’t look the same, common uses aside.


  2. Oh man, I have been eyeing this lens for a few months now, looks like you have been having fun with it (I briefly checked out some of your earlier macro posts)…they really made me want this lens! The look of the shell reminds me of wood, thank you for sharing. 😀

    And of course, thank you for the mention…greatly appreciated!


    • Hi David – the lens is really something – optically it is amazing as you can see with what I managed to achieve in using it for maybe 4 hours total. But, it is a bit of a pig to use, or at least to get used to. If it is just for stills with tripod, you could get away with only the lens and your existing speedlights if you can use them off camera. But, if you want to take it out into nature, you are likely to need specialized flashes which seem to run not far behind the lens in price. I think the review linked to in my first of these posts discusses flash options, but possibly it’s somewhere else I was looking.

      As to mentioning your blog – your macro’s on black background are something for me to aspire to and a great source of ideas too. So thanks for the inspiration 🙂


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