For those not from around here, the tamarack is a deciduous tree with needles: that is, it's a fir tree in style, but it loses it's leaves/needles like a deciduous tree.
I decided to take a close-up, which I won't actually call a macro because it's not that tight. First, I took the above shot with a small f8 aperture. The rule is: the smaller the aperture that you use, the greater the depth of field (or detail if you like) that you get in the photo. So, although they're fuzzy, we can see all of the branches in the background. The photo is too busy for my taste and not good at all.
So, then I opened the aperture to f2.8, which is quite wide, and took the next photo.
With less detail in the background (although even less would be better but that's all this lens could do) the branch of focus stands out much better. There is no question of what the focal point is. This photo just works much better than the first one. So, if you have a camera which allows you to control the aperture, go ahead and use it to your advantage.
Note 1: It seems confusing but the smaller the number of the aperture or f-stop, the larger the aperture. So, f2.8 is a much more open aperture than f16, foe example.
Note 2: Aperture controls DOF or Depth-of-Field. A large aperture (small f#) leads to a shallower DOF than a small aperture (large f#) which results in more of the photo being in sharp focus.
Note 3: DOF or depth-of-field can make or break a photo. The general rule is that you would like shallow DOF on a macro and a large DOF on a landscape photo where you normally want to see good detail from front to back. Of course, it's just a general rule — so perhaps I should call it a guideline.
Note 4: I did very little post processing on either photo. They are close to what one would see on the back of the camera.
By way of contrast (and having nothing to do with the point of this post), here is a tamarack from the same area, just a few days earlier. It's very pretty when the leaves turn yellow, especially because they hang on for quite awhile after the 'normal' deciduous trees are bare.