Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Location: Ohio, USA
|Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:05 pm Post subject:
|Hibby, welcome to the forum!
My sense is that the shooting of your current images is closer than you might guess to those images you want to emulate. The main difference may be in the post processing. Here is your first image, after a few quick adjustments I made in Photoshop. (If you don't want me to post an alteration of your image, say the word and I'll take it down.)
Is this closer to what you want? If so, here are details:
The main difference is adding a curves adjustment layer to remove veiling glare, which probably comes from light bouncing off the white feathers and into your camera lens. With your choice of subjects, this sort of bounced light would be hard to avoid (though if you are not using a lens hood, definitely try one), so the addition of a curves layer (or similar adjustment--there are different ways to achieve it) will be almost mandatory. Here is a picture of the curve I applied. You'll notice that I removed the "tails" on the right and left sides of the histogram, which is the most important thing. Much less importantly, I pulled the middle whites down a bit for added contrast.
There should be many good tutorials on the use of the Photoshop curves adjustment layer on YouTube. (If you use a different photo editor, any good one should have similar capability.) The curves adjustment is, I'd guess, fundamental for most photographers.
To increase the intensity of color in the eye, I also copied the image into a second layer, changed its blending mode to "screen", set its opacity at 50 percent, and masked out everything other than the colored portion of the eye.
Since the highlights produced by your ring light and a second light source were distracting, I cloned these out using the spot healing brush and patch tool.
|I have macro spacer rings but find them far to fiddly and such a norrow depth of field and small focus are it often leaves areas out of focus. Not to mention I auto focus which is a nightmare trying to shoot a living creature who’s eye constantly moves. |
I suggest you turn off autofocus for subjects as small as a pigeon's eye, set your lens to the desired magnification, and focus by moving closer and farther from the subject. Admittedly, this is difficult (but is our world, in macro!)
Nothing wrong with a lens plus extension tubes. Narrow depth of field is, unfortunately, unavoidable at this magnification and resolution. (You can get more apparent depth of field by stopping down, but this will decrease resolution.) The only way to increase depth of field without loss of resolution is to take multiple pictures and focus stack. While this is difficult with live, moving subjects, I suspect you can learn to do it for the eye of a captive, gently-restrained bird.
|Also if any recommendations on a good narrow beam spot light to contract birds pupil while illuminating are to be photographed. |
My thought would be the opposite of a narrow beam spot--to put the bird in a white box, very evenly illuminated within by bounced light. This would work well for a human subject, but I know very little about how pigeon's eyes work.
|I’m just after some recommendations on what lens will be easiest to use and give best results on these birds. |
The lens you are using now seems adequate. For this subject, I'd reach for my micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AF-D lens--but any similar, non-zoom "macro" lens would work about the same.