I shot this photo years ago with one of my first digital cameras, an Olympus C5050 (still one of my favorite cameras of all time) and it's been published in a few of my books. The flower is called Glory of the Snow and it's one of the very first flowers that blooms here in New England and often comes up when there is still snow on the ground. My garden is still buried in up to two feet of snow but this week is supposed to be very warm and I'm hoping by week's end the snow has pretty much disappeared--and that the flowers begin to make their valiant return. With the exception of one giant blizzard the winter wasn't that bad (at least in terms of snow), but I'm thrilled that spring is only 24 days away.
The time is now to begin to gather up and organize your close-up gear. My favorite tool the past few years has been a set of close-up extension tubes that I bought (Kenko) for around $200. Close up tubes have no glass elements so they don't degrade image quality at all; they simply reduce the close-focus distance of your lenses. The tubes are sold as kits of three different-sized extensions that can be used individually or together in any combination. There are cheaper versions out there on Ebay but be sure they fit your camera and lenses and that they retain all auto functions in terms of exposure and autofocus.