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Close-up & Macro Macro and Micro Plants, insects, ice and other micro or macro artistic work

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  #1  
Old October 29th, 2009, 10:29 AM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Default Bumbling About

Asher has asked me why I have not posted terribly many images recently, and the primary reasons are that I picked up a rescue dog last year , came up with a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting, and I have been gardening (a 5 year diversion to get better photo opportunities which has also raised the standards of the plants I bother to shoot on). But I have also gotten more critical of my shots in terms of what I show. I could post many more, but more is not always better.

Anyway, this little beauty is the shot of the Summer of 2009 of the little beauties.



Technique:

Full manual, f/14 @ 1/200 @ ISO 200 using tracking autofocus on the subject using a small 4x6 inch (10x15 cm) softbox on the flash. This is an action oriented flash driven method using bright daylight for fill light and flash to stop the action and expose the subject. This method gets about 10 to 15 times as many successful shots per day as using a tripod.

Helpful Hint:

Create the light to handhold when you can and use a tripod when you must for active subjects.

enjoy your day,

Sean
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  #2  
Old October 29th, 2009, 10:57 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant View Post
Anyway, this little beauty is the shot of the Summer of 2009 of the little beauties.
Hi Sean,

The lighting looks very natural, and therefore the colors are also very nice.
It's a good macro, I know how difficult it can be to get close enough without scaring the critters away, and also have a pleasant DOF.

The only thing I could think of that could possibly be improved (sorry, I tend to strive for 110%) is a slight toning down of the white/pinkish petal at the bottom. A vignette or even a crop to a more square format would also not damage the image. The image will look great at a larger size, no doubt.

Thanks for sharing,
Bart

Last edited by Bart_van_der_Wolf; October 29th, 2009 at 02:04 PM.
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  #3  
Old October 29th, 2009, 01:58 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Sean, I love this fellow! Glad he's visiting you. Bart has a good point about the pink petal.

I'd add to that the sharpness of the green petiole and leaflets nearby. They seem to be more distinct than Mr. Bumble!

Asher
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  #4  
Old October 29th, 2009, 06:18 PM
Charles L Webster Charles L Webster is offline
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Default focusing

If you're holding the camera with one hand and the flash with the other, how do you focus?

I find autofocus problematic at close focusing distances with my Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 on a Canon 50D.
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  #5  
Old October 30th, 2009, 01:23 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Charles L Webster View Post
If you're holding the camera with one hand and the flash with the other, how do you focus?

I find autofocus problematic at close focusing distances with my Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 on a Canon 50D.
Hi Chas,

With flowers swaying in the wind, I often use Servo AF which is fast enough on my 1Ds2 and 1Ds3 with a EF 100mm macro lens to follow modest movement. What can help is to mount a piece of wire between the flower stem and the camera to make the camera and flower move somewhat in sync. With a fixed connection one is of course not flexible enough to follow an insect from flower to flower. I can sometimes tie the stem to something more rigid next to it to reduce subject motion.

A piece of gardening wire (metal covered with green plastic) is often helpful, but one can also use something like the Wemberley Plamp or similar.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #6  
Old October 30th, 2009, 02:55 AM
janet Smith janet Smith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant View Post
Asher has asked me why I have not posted terribly many images recently, and the primary reasons are that I picked up a rescue dog last year , came up with a severe allergic reaction to a wasp sting
Hello Sean

Lovely delicate pinks, epitome of summer, most of my garden is planted with shades of pink and white so I really like this shot.....

I also have allergies to wasp and bee stings and midge bites, and several plants! Bit of a nuisance for a garden and Scottish landscape photographer! I often end up with bees landing on me or climbing on my clothes when I'm in the flower border, but I find that as long as I remain still they don't sting - shame this doesn't apply to midges!
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  #7  
Old October 30th, 2009, 04:35 AM
Sandra Jones Sandra Jones is offline
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Nice shot, Sean. Good position of the bee, nice focus and lovely colours.

I agree with Bart when he said "The only thing I could think of that could possibly be improved is a slight toning down of the white/pinkish petal at the bottom. A vignette or even a crop to a more square format would also not damage the image. The image will look great at a larger size, no doubt." c&p to save me typing
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  #8  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:34 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Sean,

The lighting looks very natural, and therefore the colors are also very nice.
It's a good macro, I know how difficult it can be to get close enough without scaring the critters away, and also have a pleasant DOF.

The only thing I could think of that could possibly be improved (sorry, I tend to strive for 110%) is a slight toning down of the white/pinkish petal at the bottom. A vignette or even a crop to a more square format would also not damage the image. The image will look great at a larger size, no doubt.
Thanks Bart. This is a straight conversion, so thoughts on post-work are helpful (thanks to Asher too) as I have not done a full resolution print of this one.

enjoy your day,

Sean
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  #9  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:39 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles L Webster View Post
If you're holding the camera with one hand and the flash with the other, how do you focus?

I find autofocus problematic at close focusing distances with my Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 on a Canon 50D.
Chas,

I mount the flash on the camera for action shots, I only use off camera tripod mounted flash for things like fungi that hold still. So often the hand on the lens is doing more weight balancing than anything else.

As to autofocus, the 100/2.8 USM Macro with the Rebel XT (ancient and ready for an upgrade for higher ISO work) using AI Servo focus with focus solely set to the center focus point (the XT's only cross type sensor) and it does pretty darn well. You might note the bee's face is dead center in the frame for this very reason. But it is the usage of a single autofocus point that makes AI Servo focus reliable. I have never experimented with its usage with multiple autofocus points in usage.

thanks,

Sean
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  #10  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:44 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Chas,

With flowers swaying in the wind, I often use Servo AF which is fast enough on my 1Ds2 and 1Ds3 with a EF 100mm macro lens to follow modest movement.
AI Servo also partially counters things like my body's swaying and breath induced motion at higher magnifications.

a thought,

Sean
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  #11  
Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:48 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janet Smith View Post
Hello Sean

Lovely delicate pinks, epitome of summer, most of my garden is planted with shades of pink and white so I really like this shot.....

I also have allergies to wasp and bee stings and midge bites, and several plants! Bit of a nuisance for a garden and Scottish landscape photographer! I often end up with bees landing on me or climbing on my clothes when I'm in the flower border, but I find that as long as I remain still they don't sting - shame this doesn't apply to midges!
Thanks.

I too am allergic to bee/wasp stings and I have an Epi Pen in my pocket at all times out of doors, I wear long pants and long sleeve shirts when in insect territory.

But the big thing is that when nectaring or hunting (away from their homes) and if left uninjured, bees and wasps tend to ignore humans. Their attack motion (shifting sideways fast) is semi-aggressive, but it also lets them see where you are in 3-D. If you move too fast, they get confused and do the attack motion again. This spirals downwards into chaos if you too jump and eventually you hurt the insect and get hurt back.

As to being landed upon, I love the sensation! It is a very intimate trusting rush similar to standing atop a mountain. <smile>

all the best,

Sean
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