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New to Macro - Looking for some help

 
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Brandontmyers



Joined: 13 Apr 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:27 am    Post subject: New to Macro - Looking for some help Reply with quote

Hi All,

I am an amateur scorpion biologist. Weird, I know. In any case, it really got me interested in Macro Photography. After playing around for a bit with point and shoot cameras I decided to get a basic DSLR. Eventually, I picked up extension tubes and other small items, finally picking up a macro lens, diffuser, and speedlight.

Right now I am working with a Nikon D3300 and Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP AF/MF 1:1 Macro Lens

Now I know I do not have the best equipment for macro photography, but I feel like my images should be a lot better than they are. I don't know if it is the lighting or what, but I feel like they could be sharper. I am still new to the terminology and the theory behind photography in general but I was wondering if someone could help me get on the right track.



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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7181
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome Brandon

We particularly welcome weird biologists Smile

Probably the answer will be one or both of

1) camera movement. What lighting are you using. Tried diffuse flash?
2) Diffraction. What aperture are you using?

Try a marked f/5.6 on the Tamron, with a diffuse flash, of something detailed. I bet it'll be sharp, but you'll then be asking about focus stacking.

Single shots, with the right flash illumination and maybe post processing, you can get sharpish pictures at a marked f/11 or so (which you camera may report as f/22, I'm not sure) a bit larger than web/screen size, but the physics prevents more.


Tried a UV light on these?
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Brandontmyers



Joined: 13 Apr 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Chris,

Thanks so much for the response. For lighting I am using just a small LED clamp light from home depot. I realize this may be causing some issues with lighting but I honestly wasn't sure where to go next for lighting. I am using the following flash http://www.amazon.com/Bower-SFD728N-Automatic-Flash-Nikon/dp/B001RU8HIO with a cloth diffuser that goes over the flash. The light always seems so harsh though.

As far as the marked f/5.6 on the Tamron. Are you saying that I should focus to f5.6 on the actual lens and not the camera? This is where my inexperience plays in. I understand what the f stop and aperature and ISO is on the actual camera but the lens part is way over my head. LOL.

Surprisingly I have no UV shots of the little guys. I use a UV light constantly when it is dark and I am trying to keep track of them. I always thought a macro photo with UV would end up bad.
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ChrisR
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Joined: 14 Mar 2009
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Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The flash should be fine, BUT the cloth should go near the subject. So if the subject looks up he sees a big angle of diffuser.
Some cloth is not a good diffuser. Ordinary paper isn't bad; if these are in cages, can you use a paper "tunnel"?

Or bounce the flash off a "ceiling".


Quote:
Are you saying that I should focus to f5.6 on the actual lens and not the camera?
You SET an aperture.
When you work at 1:1 the magnification means that the effective aperture is 2 stops lower ie f/11. Most manufacturers ignore that, in what the camera tells you. NIKON though, tell you the effective aperture.
So a Canon would say 5.6, Nikon 11.

What a Tamron makes a Nikon body say, I don't know!
If you set 5.6 at infinity, then focus to 1:1 all while pointing at the sky, in manual, does the camera change the readout from 5/6 to 11?
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(Different Chris here.)

Brandon, welcome to the forum! Very Happy Most of us here are a bit weird, so you'll fit right in. Forum member Papillio shares your particular brand of weirdness, and makes riveting images.

You've made a good start, and your camera, lens, and flash are all solid choices. Like ChrisR, I think the next step in your journey is to make your light source appear really big from the viewpoint of the scorpion. I'd strongly suggest you page through forum-member Orionmystery's list of flash/diffuser examples. This will give you lots of ideas for how to diffuse your flash.

Brandontmyers wrote:
I use a UV light constantly when it is dark and I am trying to keep track of them. I always thought a macro photo with UV would end up bad.

Remember that the scorpion absorbs UV light and autofluoresces down-spectrum, emitting visible light. So you are effectively taking a visible light picture.

Cheers,

--Chris S.
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eg
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=185732&highlight=scorpion#185732
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: New to Macro - Looking for some help Reply with quote

Brandontmyers wrote:
Hi All,

I am an amateur scorpion biologist. Weird, I know.

Not weird at all; interesting.

I'm far more interested in invertebrate lifeforms than things like songbirds and the like.

Years ago, I worked in an office park that had quite a few slugs right outside the back door. I wish DSLRs had been as common back then as they are now. I had a couple of 35mm SLRs, but never thought to take pictures.

You're lucky to have interesting arthropods to take pictures of. The only things I see around here are house spiders, and that's on a good day.

I advise you to get a good book on basic digital photography and to watch as many good YouTube videos on the subject as you can. THEN you can focus on macrophotography specifically. I found I took a lot better macro pictures once I understood how to take a decent vanilla photograph.

Until 2008, I'd been almost completely out of photography since about 1986. Relearning the basics of theory has really helped.

Good luck.
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