My technique

Images of undisturbed subjects in their natural environment. All subject types.

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Dalantech
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My technique

Post by Dalantech »

These posts were split from this thread Longhorn bees and Bombyliidae on Cichorium

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I haven't done too much focus stacking, kinda played with it a few times but always go back to shooting single frames. There are some compositions stuck in my head that I know I'll have to stack to get the depth of field that I'll need, but I don't see a reason to stack for detail. The average viewer (outside of these forums) is looking for something to save to their PC desktop, or phone, as wallpaper so getting images that are razor sharp at 100% pixels isn't necessary. Not even necessary for print, and I know cause I've printed some of my images poster size (60cmx90cm) only to have someone ask me how many shots I took for the stack :)

ImageThe Studio by John Kimbler, on Flickr

For a shot like this one:

ImageRed Mason Bee II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Or I'm holding on to the stem of the plant that the critter is on, and resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady. Then just use a flash to freeze what little motion is left. The benefit to shooting single frames is that you can get images at any time, in conditions that most people wouldn't go shooting in. On windy days the critters can't tell the difference between the vibration induced by the wind and the vibration induced by me when I grab onto the stem of the flower they are in...

ImageForaging Sweat Bee II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Something you might want to try, since it would open up more possibilities for you.
Last edited by Dalantech on Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

aveslux
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Post by aveslux »

I really need to replicate that diffuser...

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

aveslux wrote:I really need to replicate that diffuser...
Here's the video but I'm working with a guy in the UK on a version that will actually be built better than my Lego set. At least the shell will be ABS plastic, so a bit more durable. I like my Lego diffuser cause it's easy to experiment with different diffusion materials without having to build a new set from scratch.
Last edited by Dalantech on Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

aveslux
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Post by aveslux »

Yeah I currently have a crazy plan to use an Godox AD200 PRO (portable studio strobe) with an extension cable then mount AD200 head as the key in the MT-24EX mount with a Kaiser shoe and fill with a bounce pad in the other MT-24EX head and or another smaller wireless flash, the AD200 is very powerful so the duration can be dialled right down to get the same light at a fast flash speed. So diffusing the AD200 is something I also need to do.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Godox-Extensio ... 1184&psc=1

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

Aveslux, better check with Mike to see if that strobe really speeds up much when the power is dialed down. Many strobes don't; they still have a long tail even when in low power. Mike has measured this.

aveslux
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Post by aveslux »

Lou Jost wrote:Aveslux, better check with Mike to see if that strobe really speeds up much when the power is dialed down. Many strobes don't; they still have a long tail even when in low power. Mike has measured this.
This is the spec.

1/128 – 1/13333s
1/64 – 1/10204s
1/32 – 1/7518
1/16 – 1/5128
1/8 – 1/3225
1/4 – 1/1818
1/2 – 1/869
1/1 – 1/220

aveslux
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Post by aveslux »

Is that fast enough?

Lou Jost
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Post by Lou Jost »

That looks great.

MarkSturtevant
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Post by MarkSturtevant »

Very nice set up. And the results are excellent.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

Thanks Lou and Mark!

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

Current Macro Rig and Diffusers <-- Article includes a video of the gear as well as a discussion on how light quality and angle effect the level of detail you can capture in a photo.

Dalantech
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:57 am

Post by Dalantech »

I also go looking for semi-active critters early in the day. They are aren't completely motionless, so focus stacking is out of the question. I also have to know the composition I want to shoot before I get close cause they're only going to stay clamped to a plant stem for about a minute before they get their metabolism going. Still I can manage a composition or two before they take off.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (around 3x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. I'm holding on to the stem of the Lavender with my left hand, and resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady.

ImageSnoozing European Wool Carder Bee IV by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Dalantech
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Post by Dalantech »

To make the most out of what little depth there is at high mag I look for, and create, "magic angles". Here's how it works: I focused on this European Wool Carder Bee's mandible, and then twisted my wrist so that the upper left hand corner of the sensor was deeper into the frame, as well as the top. I hesitate to call it a "tilt shift effect" cause there are tilt shift lenses for that, but the result is similar. What I'm not doing is going straight into the scene with the camera, if I did the thin depth wouldn't allow me to get much of the critter in focus. But by laying the area of acceptable focus over the curve of the critters face I can create the illusion that there is a lot of depth, even though it's actually razor thin. According to the Canon MP-E 65mm manual the depth for this shot is only .247mm.

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 fill for this shot), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. I'm holding on to the Lavender stem with my left hand, and resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady.

ImageSnoozing European Wool Carder Bee III by John Kimbler, on Flickr

zzffnn
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Post by zzffnn »

Dalantech wrote:Current Macro Rig and Diffusers <-- Article includes a video of the gear as well as a discussion on how light quality and angle effect the level of detail you can capture in a photo.
Thank you for sharing. Which exact white silk did you use (where can I buy it)? Does your white silk cast some white color onto dark colored subjects?

My Vellum paper diffuser did cast a white color that I did not like (please compare the last two images of my thread to see the color change).

Edit: https://www.photomacrography.net/forum/ ... hp?t=39897
Last edited by zzffnn on Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dalantech
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Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:57 am

Post by Dalantech »

zzffnn wrote:
Dalantech wrote:Current Macro Rig and Diffusers <-- Article includes a video of the gear as well as a discussion on how light quality and angle effect the level of detail you can capture in a photo.
Thank you for sharing. Which exact white silk did you use (where can I buy it)? Does your white silk cast some white color onto dark colored subjects?
This is what I used -a little expensive, but I've used the same sheet for several diffusers and still have some left. there might be a cheaper alternative. My old diffusers produced light that was too warm, but the 1/4 stop white silk isn't as bad. I don't do any color cast (temperature) correction in post.

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