© Mike Moats

When Mike Moats is exploring in his yard or strolling around the neighborhood, he keeps an eye out for subjects he can use to make compelling macro photos. "I'm looking for textures, contrast, colors, lines—anything that has any or many of these elements," he says. "It could be something with a unique pattern or color, or maybe the way a subject is being backlit. And I'm also looking for something I could possibly turn into an abstract: Even if the subject is easily identifiable, I want something interesting that's going on within the design of that subject."

For his type of photography, Mike has tapped into many lenses in Tamron's macro lineup, including the SP 60mm Macro for his tabletop photography ("it's got the short working distance I need") and macro zooms like the 16-300mm VC PZD for their long-range reach. Now the new SP 90mm VC lens has joined his arsenal, complete with enhancements to its already superior optical performance such as new XY-shift compensation to boost the 90's Vibration Compensation (VC) functionality, updated software that allows for increased AF focusing speed, and careful craftsmanship that includes a protective fluorine coating and moisture-proof and dust-resistant construction.

"Besides the fine optics of the lens, I especially love the moisture proofing and dust resistance since I'm outside most of the time," Mike says. "And it looks and handles like a professional lens with its all-metallic barrel and sleek design."

One of Mike's favorite features of the 90mm VC lens is its ability to blur out the background to allow him to achieve the abstract art he's creating. "I don't want the clutter that's in the background to compete with the main subject," he says. "I want that main subject to pop out when it comes up on the screen or when someone sees it on a print. I may even want to have some blur going on in parts of the main subject as well: I'll focus on a particular area, then soften down into the background, where I'll often try to achieve a solid color."

When he's shooting outdoors, Mike relies on available light only and the occasional LED. "An LED light comes in handy if I want to add a special effect to the image, as you'll see in a couple of the images I show here," he says.