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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 April 16th, 2009, 09:50 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Default New leaves in Spring

I'm working with a 100 mm macro lens. I am wondering if I'm hitting DOF correctly. My arc of intent: To show the the detail of newly emerging foliage, expose the intricacy and usually overlooked beauty it.

Since my question is so general (am I hitting the right DOF), I've posted 4 images. I think the problem might be that with the tiny scale of macro I'm not getting the focal point precise enough.



f/4.5, 1/60. All images shot on tripod with morning sunlight at ISO 100, 100 mm macro.



f/5.6, 1/25.



f/2.8, 1/320.



f/2.8, 1/1000.
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  #2  
Old April 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Mike Spinak Mike Spinak is offline
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You're on the right track, Rachel.

Only you can determine whether the DOF is as you desired.

If not, try manual focusing to get the focal point precisely where you want, and try to be as parallel as possible to the plane of your subject.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 10:28 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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I discovered manual is much better. I shot from a lower angle upward trying to get the light just right on the leaves.

Thanks!
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  #4  
Old April 16th, 2009, 05:13 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Rachel,

I who do give you a lot of grief, salute you! Simple subject, no clutter, good use of light, realization that you control the b.g. by moving around subject like a hunter and you found the sky. All great.

For macro you might find your depth of focus limits you. If that is so, consider stacking images. Use a tripod once you have snapped a shot you think is worthy of further work. Then you can gradually move the plane of focus from the front to the back to get a stack of pictures, but each with a narrow portion in focus.

Then you can build them into one focused image! You'll need software. What are you using PC or Mac?

Asher
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  #5  
Old April 16th, 2009, 05:22 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Asher, what you call "grief" i call "gift."

I had not thought of 'stacking.' I have vista with cs4.

I was wondering about going after the same shot with the telephoto rather than the macro, though.
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  #6  
Old April 16th, 2009, 05:26 PM
Michael Brown Michael Brown is offline
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Between 2.8 and 5.6, ... selective focusing measures come into play.
Since you have very shallow depth to work with, choose the most important area that you believe is an absolute must to have in focus. Then, let the rest fall into place as the detail falls off.
With the angles chosen within these images, I would say to focus on the areas closest to the lens.
Doing it this way seems to work well for me, and may benefit your work in some ways.

The overall ideas you have chosen for these images shown is very appealing in nature.
The compositions, the colors, the lighting, ... I like them!

Michael
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  #7  
Old April 16th, 2009, 06:41 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Thank you, Michael. Do you think I should stick with the macro or go zoom?
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  #8  
Old April 17th, 2009, 04:33 AM
Tom Robbins Tom Robbins is offline
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Hey Rachel,

I started out shooting macros with the Canon 100mm, and eventually switched to the Canon 180mm macro lens. The extra focal length narrows the field of view and helps eliminate background distractions. As you've already discovered, manual focus is the way to go.

Your back lit subjects have a lot of dynamic range. Do you have a reflector? You can use it to bend light around the corner and balance the light. Flash could be used as well, but there's nothing quite like watching the light change through the viewfinder while adjusting reflected light.

I haven't tried stacking macro images myself, but know a photographer who does. He says the key to success is to ensure the subject does not move while taking multiple frames (who'd a thunk it, eh?). The studio environment is ideal. Outdoor macros are a roll of the dice which sometimes work, sometimes do not. Except for the likelihood of subject movement, the idea of stacking macro images is very appealing to me. It's one way of getting enough dof for your subject while maintaining a clean background.

Shooting macros with narrow dof is quite a challenge. I'd hoped to just touch the tips of the elements with the focal plane in this photo taken at f 5.0, but missed one point at the upper right-hand corner of the frame - http://www.pbase.com/salty_one/image/110967358

Tom
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  #9  
Old April 17th, 2009, 07:04 AM
Michael Brown Michael Brown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Foster View Post
Thank you, Michael. Do you think I should stick with the macro or go zoom?
Rachel, around 75% of what I shoot is created while using the macro lens.
I will often add teleconverters or tubes to the macro, depending on what type of image I am after.
For other images, I will use the 100-400mm lens and sometimes will add the Canon 500D diopter.

If I had to absolutely choose 1 lens to use for what I do, ... it would always be the macro.

Michael
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  #10  
Old April 18th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Thanks, Tom, that is worth thinking about.

Michael, I think I may be hopelessly hooked on the macro. I shot this morning (weeds, this time) and found the dof less problematic. I'm not sure why, unless it's because the weeds are larger than the leaves.

All shot at ISO 100, tripod, 100 mm macro. U was experimenting with apertures.



f/3.2, 1/1000.




f/5.6, 1/160.



f/3.2, 1/1000

I'm still pondering which dof I prefer.
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  #11  
Old April 24th, 2009, 12:34 PM
charlotte thompson charlotte thompson is offline
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Rachel

hmm since I do not do macro I don't know what to tell you
but I think what you are doing is very cool-I love that type of work-I think it takes more patience then I have and admire those that can
love what you call "the weeds"- very nice
love the soft aura they have around them-
also did you notice the "thumb on the branch in shot # 2

Charlotte-
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  #12  
Old April 24th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Hi Rachel,

I'm enjoying this. You might try manual focus with liveview now you[ve got the spiffing 5D2 - you'll have to use a tripod of course, but it lets you out the plane of focus exactly where you want.

On DoF, remember that reducing the aperture (bigger number) will only go so far with a 10mm lens and very close focus distances. As Asher said, on option is to stack and the other is to experiment and learn where the image softens and use this creatively.

There are some nice images in those you've shown.:)

Mike
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  #13  
Old April 24th, 2009, 02:12 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Thanks!

I'm a bit embarrassed to confess I've not quite figured out live view yet. I have hooked it up to the computer once or twice but have been working on learning more basic things first.

Sounds like a great suggestion, though.
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  #14  
Old April 24th, 2009, 03:42 PM
Rachel Foster Rachel Foster is offline
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Oh, man oh man! Do I LOVE live view!
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