First attempt

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Gary W Brown
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Location: Omaha, NE USA

First attempt

Post by Gary W Brown »

This specimen rode into the house on the newspaper. IDs are welcomed as are suggestions. My camera is a Sony a100 with a Tamron 90mm macro lens. I took the picture a using AUTO and the flip up flash on the camera.
Gary

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Gary,

Alas, your posting does not include an image. :(

In addition to uploading the image, you have to be sure that the image is referenced in your posting.

That is done with the [img] tag, as described in the Image Hosting Steps, here.

Not to worry, most everybody has trouble with this to start. You can minimize surprises by using the Preview button to see how your posting will look, before you hit Submit to make it visible to everybody else. I generally end up hitting Preview several times before I'm satisfied with my own.

--Rik

Gary W Brown
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:09 am
Location: Omaha, NE USA

Post by Gary W Brown »

Finally, I hope...here is my photo. GaryImage

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Depth of field seems to be the first thing I noticed Gary. :-k The hind part of the abdomen seems to be in focus but not the head. I can only assume that your lens was not stopped down enough to bring it all in. Most of the time when shooting small, I try to stop down to around f/10 or 11 and use a shutter speed of 1/125 of a sec and above, rarely exceeding 1/250 of a second, with a diffused flash. Still not bad for a first attempt there Gary but keep at it, practice makes perfect as they say. :D By the way I recommend using the camera in the manual mode of operation. Auto focus and the rest is fine but manual focus and settings are much better I think, because the automatic features of the camera sometimes does not see things exactly the way we do. :D

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

Gary,

The pale background has fooled the auto flash into under-exposing the insect. This is because the metering is set to give mid-tones (80% reflectance, equivalent to mid grey or lawn grass green, etc). You can correct the exposure, in this case by dialing in a correction factor of, say, + 1 stop.

From the general shape of the antenne and of the abdomen, and from the hint of a diamond-shaped area of exposed wing membrane at the rear of the abdomen, this is a true bug, Hemiptera, Heteroptera.

Harold
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

Gary W Brown
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:09 am
Location: Omaha, NE USA

Post by Gary W Brown »

Thanks Ken and Harold. I will apply your suggestions to my next outing...this afternoon if the fog clears. How about ideas for a 6" tall tripod? I was pretty close to the ground on some of my shots. Gary

Harold Gough
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Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

Post by Harold Gough »

Gary,

While there are such things as tiny tripods, they are not up to supporting much. (However, see third paragraph). I suggest that you start off with a bean bag, which I use for some applications. It can get into places where a tripod cannot. Also, if you pack it with bird seed you have a ready supply of bait for the larger creatures! 8)

Next, you want to consider one of the types of tripod with a swivelling column and legs which can be set level with the ground. A column with a tripod scew on its bottom end has possibilities too. The Benbo range comes to mind: http://www.patersonphotographic.com/.

Another possibility is the GorillaPod. Use the correct model for your weight of camera:http://www.joby.com/products/gorillapod/slr/.

You might also want to consider some kind of right-angle-viewer so that you dont have to lie flat.

Knee pads (from gardening suppliers) and a waterproof sheet will provide comfort.

Harold
Last edited by Harold Gough on Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Gary,

Lots of good suggestions so far. Adding bits of info...

This is a "stink bug", order Hemiptera, family Pentatomidae. The family description at http://bugguide.net/node/view/182 claims "221 species in 61 genera in North America". BugGuide is probably the best online resource I know for insect identification. However if you're just getting into insects, I'd recommend buying a physical book -- they're a lot easier to browse through and carry around. A good one is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (ref).

For support, you might also consider a makeshift monopod. Really anything that supports the weight of the camera makes things a lot more comfortable and reduces unwanted motion. Tom Webster was fond of an angle bracket mounted on a ballhead, screwed onto the end of a commercial monopod. (See here for illustration.) But any old crutch-shaped stick would be a great start.

I see from this image's EXIF data that it was shot at f/13. I presume the camera picked that automatically. It's a fine setting for a DSLR and an experienced shooter. As a newbie, you might get better images by stopping down to f/16 or f/22. Much smaller than that, and you'll start noticing your images go soft from diffraction. What generally works pretty well for macro is to set the camera in aperture-priority mode (A) so that you get to pick the aperture and the camera adjusts the rest of the exposure to match.

As other folks have noted, the back of your subject is in focus but the front is not. It's a matter of aesthetics, but most people, most of the time, like to see the bug's eyes sharp unless there's a compelling reason otherwise. Manual focus is really the only way to guarantee that what's in focus is the part you want. Some new cameras (not the A100) actually know how to recognize human faces and select those to focus on, but for bugs, it's all the photographer's responsibility.

The image does seem to be underexposed a bit -- unless of course that really is a very dark bug on gray fabric.

However the underexposure is not very bad and the image could be easily fixed up by level adjustment. Let me know if you'd like me to post out an example and detailed explanation.

--Rik

Gary W Brown
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Location: Omaha, NE USA

Post by Gary W Brown »

To All who are responding...THANKS!! If Columbus would have had the sort of knowledgeable support as is offered by this group he would've found what he was looking for on his first voyage. As far as addditional support, yes Rik, to whatever you would like to do. A question...where do you find the camera data you mentioned about my photo? I used auto with the built-in flash for the photo. The focus is an issue with my eyesight. As for the bird seed pad, that is a good idea. My weekly bird seed budget is about 50 pounds. Thanks again, Gary

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Image

Gary,

Here's my redo of your picture. Not knowing either the bug or the carpet, I just took a wild guess about what it should look like. This is lightened up using a Photoshop Levels adjustment with Input levels parameters of [0] [1.59] [192]. I also sharpened it with "Unsharp mask" of 50% with radius 0.7 pixels.

About the camera data, digital cameras embed a lot of information in every image file, using headers and auxiliary tables to keep it from affecting the visual appearance. Most photo editing programs have some way of showing it to you and maybe letting you edit some of it. In Photoshop, the data appears under File | File Info | Camera Data 1. This information typically is kept with an image even if the image is edited, but is lost whenever the pixels are copy/pasted to another image. So pictures in the forum either do or don't have it, depending on the workflow that produced the image files as posted.

--Rik

Gary W Brown
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:09 am
Location: Omaha, NE USA

Post by Gary W Brown »

Rik,

What a good guess...that's exactly what I had planned. Your touch up looks great. I'll practice with my original. Thanks for all your support and suggestions. Gary

Gary W Brown
Posts: 129
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:09 am
Location: Omaha, NE USA

Post by Gary W Brown »

Rik, I tried your suggestions and here is my edited image. I may have overdone the sharpen. Thanks again. GaryImage

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