Swallowtail Portraits

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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Dalantech
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Swallowtail Portraits

Post by Dalantech »

I bought a kit so I could raise a few Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio machaon) and this is the first one to emerge from a cocoon. I wanted to see what I could do at high magnification with a single frame, so I took a few portraits. Here are the first two that I've edited.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (over 4x and 5x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC). These are single, uncropped, frames taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

5x:

ImageSwallowtail Portrait II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

About 4.5x:

ImageSwallowtail Portrait by John Kimbler, on Flickr

MarkSturtevant
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Post by MarkSturtevant »

Very good!
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

MarkSturtevant wrote:Very good!
Thanks!

Those shots raised some eyebrows when I posted them on Reddit.

"Is it really uncropped, F11? That's quite the amount of DOF for that magnification!"

"Can you share an image of your body/lens setup? I have a 105mm macro and I bought the extension tubes thinking it would allow me to make these shots but it doesn't impact the focus distance to this degree. I put the macro tubes on a 50mm and it for sure reduces the focal distance similar to the 105mm but still does not generate the degree of zoom that this style of image shows. I'm missing something here ???? excellent clarity btw ????"

"Sorry, I could not find proper words earlier so that was all I could comment. I have to admit that it never crossed my mind that I would ever enjoy zooming in on a butterfly eye.

You did an amazing job!! Thank you for sharing."

Those comments are just a few. Gonna have to make another blog post about single frame macro technique.

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

MarkSturtevant wrote:Very good!
Thanks!

Those shots raised some eyebrows when I posted them on Reddit.

"Is it really uncropped, F11? That's quite the amount of DOF for that magnification!"

Gonna have to make another blog post about single frame macro technique.

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Post by MarkSturtevant »

I can see where you would get those kinds of questions. I have an acquaintance in my local area that shows pictures of insects taken thru that particular lens, and I noticed the similar effect -- stunning clarity and good depth of field.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

The photos are lovely!

Regarding aperture, it's important to keep in mind that the MP-E is one of those lenses whose effective aperture is accurately computed from the nominal aperture as Feff = Fnom*(m+1).

With the MP-E, setting f/11 on the camera, at 5X, means getting f/66 on the sensor. That goes along with all the same diffraction effects that any lens would produce at that same effective aperture.

This issue causes a lot of confusion, particularly among users whose cameras and lenses work directly in effective aperture and therefore are used to getting f/11 when they say f/11.

There's nothing magical about the MP-E, except that it does let you set 5X and effective f/66 in a simple way, while staying wide open for framing and focusing.

The trick then is to use that very small aperture in such a way as to provide the appearance of "stunning clarity". Kudos to Dalantech for that.

--Rik

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

MarkSturtevant wrote:I can see where you would get those kinds of questions. I have an acquaintance in my local area that shows pictures of insects taken thru that particular lens, and I noticed the similar effect -- stunning clarity and good depth of field.
Someone came close to calling me a liar -would have been easier to tell them that it was stacked ;)

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

rjlittlefield wrote:The photos are lovely!

Regarding aperture, it's important to keep in mind that the MP-E is one of those lenses whose effective aperture is accurately computed from the nominal aperture as Feff = Fnom*(m+1).

With the MP-E, setting f/11 on the camera, at 5X, means getting f/66 on the sensor. That goes along with all the same diffraction effects that any lens would produce at that same effective aperture.

This issue causes a lot of confusion, particularly among users whose cameras and lenses work directly in effective aperture and therefore are used to getting f/11 when they say f/11.

There's nothing magical about the MP-E, except that it does let you set 5X and effective f/66 in a simple way, while staying wide open for framing and focusing.

The trick then is to use that very small aperture in such a way as to provide the appearance of "stunning clarity". Kudos to Dalantech for that.

--Rik
Thanks Rik!

I keep telling people that there is nothing special about the gear that I use, and that depth is simply a function of Fstop and magnification. I pick a spot in the foreground where I want the focus to start and then twist my wrist to lay the area of acceptable focus where I think it needs to be. After 14 years of shooting single frame macro I've built up a lot of muscle memory, and I really don't have to think about it anymore. If I couldn't pull off images like these then it would definitely be time to do something else.

Dalantech
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Bonus Shot

Post by Dalantech »

Bonus shot, with some more info in the tech specs cause the first two images raised a lot of questions.

I bought a kit so I could raise a few Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio machaon) and this is the first one to emerge from a cocoon. I tried to get some shots of the second one I had, but it took off right away.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (4x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order. To get the depth that you see in this image I focused on the critter's proboscis and then twisted my wrist to lay the area of acceptable focus over as much of its eye as I could. So it's my technique that's making the difference and not the lens. The level of detail is also due to the quality and angle of my light.

ImageSwallowtail Portrait III by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Adalbert
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Post by Adalbert »

very nice

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

Adalbert wrote:very nice
Thanks!

Troels
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Post by Troels »

Is it correct to suspect that Topaz Sharpen AI has a key role in making sharp pictures at effective f:66?

I am really surprised with the capability of this software.
I have experienced what looked like minor miracles with shaken pictures.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
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Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

Troels wrote:Is it correct to suspect that Topaz Sharpen AI has a key role in making sharp pictures at effective f:66?

I am really surprised with the capability of this software.
I have experienced what looked like minor miracles with shaken pictures.
Sharpen AI does a really good job of sharpening my images, at least better than I can using an unsharp mask layer.

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

Troels wrote:Is it correct to suspect that Topaz Sharpen AI has a key role in making sharp pictures at effective f:66?

I am really surprised with the capability of this software.
I have experienced what looked like minor miracles with shaken pictures.
Also should add that the quality of my light, and how I'm positioning the flash heads, also contributes to the level of detail in my photos.

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