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Author Topic: ((( MACRO JUNKIES )))  (Read 21934 times)
pegelli
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2009, 12:11:53 AM »
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Quote from: zeke
Jack, Scott, JD, pegelli, et. al.,

These are really excelent shots. The lenses are more important than the camera body, but can you guys tell me what bodies you used?

Zeke, thanks for the compliment. Hope you get into macro and post some results here.

My camera bodies are Konica Minolta 5D (6MP) for the "punky" flower, spider and small flower. The rest are Sony A700 (12 MP) which with a good lens gives you a bit more leeway cropping w/o introducing unsharpness.

I also agree lenses are important, but don't stare yourself blind on that either. I have many "tack-sharp" macro shots with a 125 Tamron 70-300LD (to 1:2 without extension tubes) and a 50$ second hand 50/1.7 with kenko extension tubes. My 100/2.8 Minolta macro lens is great, but not absolutely required. I'm sure also in Canon mount there are many more good lenses for this than only their 100 mm.

The other item that is of key importance is technique. I'm always frustrated when I get macro shots that are not tack sharp in the right place. So my strategy there is to either use a sturdy tripod (buy the most expensive one you can afford/justify, otherwise you'll ensd up buying it later anyway), use flash or when handholding put it on MF, focus by moving your head and do "bursts of 3-5 pictures and keep the sharpest. On many sessions I bin more than 90% of the shots (I do love digital, no way I could have done this in the film days)
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pieter, aka pegelli
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2009, 09:35:57 AM »
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Quote from: zeke
Jack, Scott, JD, pegelli, et. al.,
These are really excelent shots. The lenses are more important than the camera body, but can you guys tell me what bodies you used?  
I currently have a Canon Rebel XT but plan to upgrade to a 40d or 50d soon. I'm interested in doing macro work too, especially after seeing what you've produced.
Thanks,
zeke


Hi Zeke;

Here is the setup I am using:


 )

I have found that the tripod works best with pre-planned shots, but that it is kind of a pain to run around the yard with. Sometimes I just pull out the centerpiece and loosen the ballhead a bit, and use this as a mini-monopod for ground shots. Sometimes handheld is simply easier. With my better lizard shots, all but 1 was handheld. I was able to get up close to the lizard and actually rest the lens hood on the tree stump itself for stabilization. This particular lizard clearly felt he was camoflaged and simply held still for me, even upon my close approach.

When the butterflies begin to get more active, I will probably do all "field identification shots" handheld, for ease and convenience, just to make sure I can document each species, so as not to miss any shots fiddling with adjustments (especially if it's a rare species for my area). On the more common butterfly species (where I know I will get a 2nd, 3rd chance, etc.), I will no doubt be taking tripod shots (with a remote shutter release and utilizing mirror lockup) to try to get the most clarity and detail possible in these photos.

BTW, I just bought a few flowers today to replant the garden. So I hope some early spring butterflies/critters come by to visit them, as I will be right there to capture it. I do agree with the above post that there is no way I could have afforded to practice like I am doing on film, so thank God for digital  

Jack
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pegelli
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2009, 11:03:43 AM »
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Jack,

Impressive looking set-up !

My flash is slightly more "low budget", but until I get a ring flash it will have to do  





Normally it stands on a Manfrotto 055DB with and 804RC2 head.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 11:39:19 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
Roger Calixto
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« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2009, 11:46:25 AM »
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I love the setup! I'm short for buying gear for now and that actually is something I'm gonna try!! Spring is almost here!

any tips on how to get that simple rig working best? No use re-inventing the wheel    (or the milk carton in this case)
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2009, 11:52:24 AM »
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Quote from: kingtutt
I love the setup! I'm short for buying gear for now and that actually is something I'm gonna try!! Spring is almost here!

any tips on how to get that simple rig working best? No use re-inventing the wheel    (or the milk carton in this case)

No specific help but I've found that strobist.com and the associated strobist flickr group to be a great resource for all things flash related.
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pegelli
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2009, 12:44:51 PM »
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Quote from: kingtutt
any tips on how to get that simple rig working best? No use re-inventing the wheel    (or the milk carton in this case)

Only tip on my "milk-rig" (it's actually a fruit juice carton) is that the diffuser tissue at the front has a big impact. When I'm shooting ~ 1:2 with this tissue I can get very soft light but I'll need f 5.6 at ISO 200 for a good exposure. Without the tissue I can easily go to f16 at ISO 100, more harsh light but still properly exposed. This spring/summer I'll start experimenting with thinner diffuser tissues to get something inbetween.

The strobist.com website is indeed a good resource to get much more creative with all kind of DIY diffusers. I think I've even seen a cardboard system to get a ring flash diffuser being fired from an external flash on the hot shoe. I would like to try and build something like that, but haven't had the time yet.
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2009, 02:41:13 PM »
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Interesting contraption Pegelli  

Do you find that it casts a shadow over your subjects, when up real close? Also, doesn't the edge of the lid rub against your head/face? I find even my lens hood casts a shadow sometimes, which is one of the advantages of the macro ringlight: no shadows, even up real close. The ringlight doesn't do as much good in the day, but it is awesome for night/lowlight shots.

I got a few nice ones yesterday and today, but I think I need to shoot a little earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon, as the really bright and direct sunlight seems a bit harsh when attempting to get a pleasing background. Anyway, here's what I came up with:





Jack
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2009, 03:07:05 PM »
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It's nice to see the setups you guys are using. Jack's looks like a character out of one of the Star Wars movies.

As for Pegelli's, I never knew Tropicana made flashes! And I can't even find them on the B&H website.  

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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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Slough
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« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2009, 05:54:49 PM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Here's what I like to shoot  





Southern Fence Lizard
Canon 100mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, handheld, built-in flash





Regal Jumping Spider
Canon 100mm, f/2.8, 1/50, ISO 100, Tripod, MT-24 MacroRinglight flash





Dainty Sulphur
Canon 100mm, f/4.5, 1/320, ISO 100, handheld, no flash





Barred Yellow
Canon 100mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO 100, handheld, no flash


.


And you had the cheek to make derogatory comments about one of my pictures? I would have thrown all of those away. Those images are soft, with ugly backgrounds, poor lighting and poor composition. Try aligning the subject with the camera back. With butterflies that will get the subject in focus. A longer focal length will give you smoother backgrounds. The softness might be the processing, or it might be in the image. Also try stopping down a lot more. F8 to F16 is more appropriate for butterflies. In the Dainty Yellow image the eyes are out of focus. Even if you do not get the entire insect in focus, you must get the eyes in focus.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2009, 09:03:18 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
And you had the cheek to make derogatory comments about one of my pictures?

Yes, I honestly thought it wasn't much of a shot. You keep taking this as an insult, and you continuously try to be insulting to me, but I don't see why you can't just man-up and let it go.




Quote from: Slough
I would have thrown all of those away.

Well, the thing about it is I am not you, nor do I have any desire to be  

I have to admit, several of the shots I posted kinda suck too, but I think a few of them are pretty good.




Quote from: Slough
Those images are soft, with ugly backgrounds, poor lighting and poor composition.

I agree that many of the backgrounds are nasty. I can't help it at this time, my entire lawn and surrounding area which comprises the background is kind of a dry, brown/yellow now because it's winter. Some of the images are soft, I agree also, I was just posting what I had taken to start the ball rolling for macro shots. I am not trying to pass them off as the best shots ever taken in the history of photography; I am just trying to have fun and see some of the shots others have taken  




Quote from: Slough
A longer focal length will give you smoother backgrounds. The softness might be the processing, or it might be in the image.

Thanks for the tips. I am working on improving "everything" really, as I have only been using this camera for about a month. I am not sure which images you are referring to regarding smoothness. I do realize a few were smooth, but I also think a couple of those lizard shots hit the bullseye.




Quote from: Slough
Also try stopping down a lot more. F8 to F16 is more appropriate for butterflies. In the Dainty Yellow image the eyes are out of focus. Even if you do not get the entire insect in focus, you must get the eyes in focus.

With the Dainty Yellow, I had it on f/2.8 I believe, and you are right I should have had it stopped down a lot more. I was just playing around with the different effects. The background color also makes me want to puke, but the was where the lil' feller landed and so I didn't have much control over that  

I also agree with you 100% on the eyes. If an insect's eyes are not in focus, I likewise consider it a blown shot.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Even though they started off rude, you did give me some good advice, which is appreciated. Hopefully, we can keep things more civil in the future, and if you have any shots you'd like to share, I'd like to see them  

Jack

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Roger Calixto
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« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2009, 01:39:33 AM »
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geez, was that a thread jump? I can't find this "derogatory comment" he speaks of. Actually he hasn't posted in this topic i think... anyways, JK: inspiring shots! I had forgot the bar when it comes to macro. Time to raise the bar!

So, do you use an extension tube? I've never had my 100mm macro give me shots like that!

cheers!
KT
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Slough
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« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2009, 03:16:44 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Yes, I honestly thought it wasn't much of a shot. You keep taking this as an insult, and you continuously try to be insulting to me, but I don't see why you can't just man-up and let it go.

Actually is was technically very competent though you do not recognise that. But as to whether or not you like it, that is another issue. Clearly you didn't, which is fine. Only fools and idiots agree all the time. Many images online and in books are not to my taste. But I mean, describing it as yuck and like vomit ...  I recall you once said you are someone who goes into a bar and gets into fights, so why am I not surprised?  

Quote from: JohnKoerner
Well, the thing about it is I am not you, nor do I have any desire to be  

I have to admit, several of the shots I posted kinda suck too, but I think a few of them are pretty good.

I agree that many of the backgrounds are nasty. I can't help it at this time, my entire lawn and surrounding area which comprises the background is kind of a dry, brown/yellow now because it's winter. Some of the images are soft, I agree also, I was just posting what I had taken to start the ball rolling for macro shots. I am not trying to pass them off as the best shots ever taken in the history of photography; I am just trying to have fun and see some of the shots others have taken

Okay, that's fair enough, you gave the impression in another thread that you thought you were an expert on macro photography, given the way you dismissed everything I said about macro photography. (I have more than a decade of experience. You might disagree with my subjective comments, but I like to think I know a bit about the technical side.) You might wish to read about effective and real aperture, and also about reversing lenses, though that is not really relevant to the Canon system.

Quote from: JohnKoerner
Thanks for the tips. I am working on improving "everything" really, as I have only been using this camera for about a month. I am not sure which images you are referring to regarding smoothness. I do realize a few were smooth, but I also think a couple of those lizard shots hit the bullseye.

With the Dainty Yellow, I had it on f/2.8 I believe, and you are right I should have had it stopped down a lot more. I was just playing around with the different effects. The background color also makes me want to puke, but the was where the lil' feller landed and so I didn't have much control over that  

I also agree with you 100% on the eyes. If an insect's eyes are not in focus, I likewise consider it a blown shot.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Even though they started off rude, you did give me some good advice, which is appreciated. Hopefully, we can keep things more civil in the future, and if you have any shots you'd like to share, I'd like to see them  

Jack
.

You can easily see my photos given a tiny bit of effort and thought on your part, though they clearly are not to your taste so I do not recommend it.  I am sure you can find examples more to your taste elsewhere, especially in books by John Shaw, and others. I cannot recommend a very recent book to you as I do not know any. Most of mine date from the pre-digital age.

By the way you are using a calibrated monitor aren't you? If not, the chances are that your images have a strong colour cast, and the brightness will be way off. You really do need to calibrate.

I see you have the Canon macro flash (excellent kit) so I am sure you can find insects on bushes and shrubs. As I say, try F11 or even F16 for the small ones, though I suspect you can only set the effective aperture on your camera. (I might be mistaken.) If you find out how much light your lens loses at 1:1, you can figure out how to compensate.
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pegelli
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« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2009, 07:15:50 AM »
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Jack and Slough, I'm glad you guys made up, I really enjoyed the fun spirit of this thread. I'm posting and reading to learn and it seems we're back to that.

I actually think in most pictures there is something to like and usually something to learn as well.

Let me try to do that on Jack's latest batch. Pls. take in a positive spirit and I would very much appreciate similar comments on the pictures I post here. These are obviously not my worst, but there is always room to improve and somehow I have more difficulty critiqueing my own shots vs. those of someone else. Probably too emotionally attached to my own shots.  

Southern lizard : a bit too contrasty and especially too dark under the chin. However I very much like the pose and the shiny blue parts on his head.

Sulphur in Verbain : pretty good and nice colors. Just a minor knit is that the oof flowers in front distract a bit.

Honeybee : I think the worst of the crop. Sharpness lies too far back. I'd like to see a sharper bee and more blurred flowers

Skipper nectaring in same : I think the best of the crop. I like the way you used the narrow dof and sharp where it needs to be. Minor knit: a bit of levels adjustment (bring white point up) will probably give the shot a bit more "punch"

Tampa Verbain : nice shot. Background "getting there"but not entirely yet.

So now some more from me:
Mirror fly (you can see my own reflection)


Flower (single dahlia ?)


Look me in the eyes baby (cropped quite a bit):


Another hoverfly. You cann see the hairs growing out of its eyes : no surface that can catch pollen is waisted:


As I said C&C very welcome, especially the kind that makes me learn.

Btw since Slough mentioned the books from John Shaw. I learned very much from his book "Closeups in Nature", ISBN 0-8174-4052-6.
About 15% is dedicated to film so hardly relevant anymore, however the bulk is still fully applicable for DSLR's.
I keep reading and rereading it every once in a while. Highly recommended
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pieter, aka pegelli
Slough
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« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2009, 08:29:09 AM »
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Quote from: pegelli
Jack and Slough, I'm glad you guys made up, I really enjoyed the fun spirit of this thread. I'm posting and reading to learn and it seems we're back to that.

I actually think in most pictures there is something to like and usually something to learn as well.

Let me try to do that on Jack's latest batch. Pls. take in a positive spirit and I would very much appreciate similar comments on the pictures I post here. These are obviously not my worst, but there is always room to improve and somehow I have more difficulty critiqueing my own shots vs. those of someone else. Probably too emotionally attached to my own shots.  

Southern lizard : a bit too contrasty and especially too dark under the chin. However I very much like the pose and the shiny blue parts on his head.

Sulphur in Verbain : pretty good and nice colors. Just a minor knit is that the oof flowers in front distract a bit.

Honeybee : I think the worst of the crop. Sharpness lies too far back. I'd like to see a sharper bee and more blurred flowers

Skipper nectaring in same : I think the best of the crop. I like the way you used the narrow dof and sharp where it needs to be. Minor knit: a bit of levels adjustment (bring white point up) will probably give the shot a bit more "punch"

Tampa Verbain : nice shot. Background "getting there"but not entirely yet.

So now some more from me:
Mirror fly (you can see my own reflection)


Flower (single dahlia ?)


Look me in the eyes baby (cropped quite a bit):


Another hoverfly. You cann see the hairs growing out of its eyes : no surface that can catch pollen is waisted:


As I said C&C very welcome, especially the kind that makes me learn.

Btw since Slough mentioned the books from John Shaw. I learned very much from his book "Closeups in Nature", ISBN 0-8174-4052-6.
About 15% is dedicated to film so hardly relevant anymore, however the bulk is still fully applicable for DSLR's.
I keep reading and rereading it every once in a while. Highly recommended

I think the above images are very nice indeed. I like the fly with the hairy backside the most! You obviously have developed your skills well so I see nothing to criticise. All I can say is carry on, and produce more pictures of a wider range of subjects and try and find out the species. I know from my experience with fungi that adding the species name adds a lot of value.

It looks like you are using natural light.
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pegelli
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« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2009, 09:38:25 AM »
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Quote from: Slough
I think the above images are very nice indeed. I like the fly with the hairy backside the most! You obviously have developed your skills well so I see nothing to criticise. All I can say is carry on, and produce more pictures of a wider range of subjects and try and find out the species. I know from my experience with fungi that adding the species name adds a lot of value.

It looks like you are using natural light.

Thanks Leif, After making my post I checked out your website and I was stunned at the rich content and nice images you have on there. I see what you are saying that knowing the species adds a lot of value and really rounds out the hobby more (or is it your profession ?). Only comment I have is that some of your pictures (but not all) look oversharpened to my taste, but I know it's a matter of taste. I try to go very easy on that, and in hindsight even find my shot "look me in the eyes baby" too crunchy.

I saw that in your bibliography you recommend John Shaw's books. I have four of them and even though they're old they are still very relevant in the DSLR age. I learned a lot from them.

Also like your vast collection of fungi. I've shot a fair amount of those as well (but not determined what they exactly are    ) and will post some here after some others have posted some images again. I don't want to take over the whole thread, that would be too boring.

Last remark, you're right, I mostly work with natural light. I don't have a ring flash yet and use my Tropicana flash diffuser (see one of my previous posts) very sparingly.

Thanks for your comment, and now I'm going to check out your website a bit more. Very inspirational  
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2009, 03:51:24 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
Actually is was technically very competent though you do not recognise that. But as to whether or not you like it, that is another issue. Clearly you didn't, which is fine. Only fools and idiots agree all the time.

I can't even remember what it was, to be honest with you. I had thought I had apologized for hurting your feelings on the previous thread (that got locked) and you came back at me with another zinger. Then you did again here. I just couldn't see any reason to drag it out at length like you did. It wasn't that big a deal.




Quote from: Slough
Many images online and in books are not to my taste. But I mean, describing it as yuck and like vomit ...  I recall you once said you are someone who goes into a bar and gets into fights, so why am I not surprised?  

Hell, I described a few of my own shots that way too (look on my last post above). I think you took it too personal. I am just blunt by nature, but this is not the same as being unfriendly. If the background of one of my own shots makes me sick, I will say so too. I guess it's in my makeup. I am German/Irish. The German keeps me grounded and organized, the Irish gets me in trouble all the time. But hey, it's also the fun side to me too  




Quote from: Slough
Okay, that's fair enough, you gave the impression in another thread that you thought you were an expert on macro photography, given the way you dismissed everything I said about macro photography. (I have more than a decade of experience. You might disagree with my subjective comments, but I like to think I know a bit about the technical side.) You might wish to read about effective and real aperture, and also about reversing lenses, though that is not really relevant to the Canon system.

Nope, I am a rank beginner. If I can remember the gist of that other thread right, I had dismissed many of the photos I saw because too much of the subject was ablur. I hadn't acquired a "true macro" taste yet in a photo. It just seemed to me that my G9 had everything in focus and that these super high $ lenses did not. I later learned about the subject of "bokeh," versus depth of field, so I have been fiddling with the aperture to get "bokeh" effects here and there, just kinda experimenting to see which level does what, and trying to figure out the best combinations for each purpose. As a matter of fact, I am reading a few books right now. In a way, I like the smoother bokeh and blurred background effect, but in a way the G9 was a lot easier to use and had more of the subject in focus for field identification. It might not have presented the best overall effect, but it was easy to use and did the job.




Quote from: Slough
You can easily see my photos given a tiny bit of effort and thought on your part, though they clearly are not to your taste so I do not recommend it.  I am sure you can find examples more to your taste elsewhere, especially in books by John Shaw, and others. I cannot recommend a very recent book to you as I do not know any. Most of mine date from the pre-digital age.

Again, I don't remember the specific photo I commented on that sent you into a tailspin.  I looked at your site and actually liked most of your photos. As with any group of photos from a given person, some are going to be better than others. I like shooting butterflies also, and noticed you had several that were absolutely razor sharp and very colorful. A few had that muave background I don't like, but I felt most of your photos were outstanding! That background is the story with many of mine here too. 90% of the butterflies available for me to shoot now are tiny and yellow, and the only time they land is on old dead grass. Doesn't make for the best shot, but it's something to practice on. When spring rolls around though, Florida is poppin' with butterlies (and almost everything else), all enshrouded in lovely greens and other colors, so I expect to be taking some really nice images not too long from now  

Thanks for the reference on the book. I am going through my second one right now, and will soon be back on Amazon.com.




Quote from: Slough
By the way you are using a calibrated monitor aren't you? If not, the chances are that your images have a strong colour cast, and the brightness will be way off. You really do need to calibrate.

LOL, well, that was another problem. I had a $199 budget monitor on my PC. I do most of my work on my PC and I get on the internet via a laptop. I had only realized maybe a month ago that there were some pretty sophisticated monitors out there ... with color calibration ... and (as a matter of fact) last night my brand new NEC LCD2690WUXi2 finally rolled in, and by 3am I had finally got the thing properly installed and calibrated, LOL. So having a cheap monitor wasn't helping my remedial skill level all that much either. Hopefully this new camera and this new monitor will make my images come out better, by enabling me to use top equipment and (at last) actually see the true coloration of my images  




Quote from: Slough
I see you have the Canon macro flash (excellent kit) so I am sure you can find insects on bushes and shrubs. As I say, try F11 or even F16 for the small ones, though I suspect you can only set the effective aperture on your camera. (I might be mistaken.) If you find out how much light your lens loses at 1:1, you can figure out how to compensate.

Thanks for the tip. I am learning that, yes, stopping down gives greater full-subject focus. I still like using f/2.8 and f/3.5 (I guess simply because it's new to me), but also because in certain situations it produces a pleasing effect. The macro ringlight, from what I have read and experimented with, allows you to set (fix) the shutter speed ... and you can manually-adjust the rest (except the f/stop and flash, which the camera adjusts) ... or you can set (fix) the f/stop ... and you can manually-adjust the rest (except for the shutter speed and flash, which the camera adjusts). You don't have to leave the rest manual, though, as you can further automate by selecting AWB and ISO at Auto too.

However, you can make all of these things full manual too, as well as adjust each flash in a wide variety of positions and brightnesses. It really is a tremendously capable piece of equipment ... unfortunately way beyond my ability at this point ... but I'll get there  

Jack

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« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 05:30:47 PM by JohnKoerner » Logged
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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2009, 04:27:11 PM »
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Quote from: pegelli
Jack and Slough, I'm glad you guys made up, I really enjoyed the fun spirit of this thread. I'm posting and reading to learn and it seems we're back to that.

I agree. No need to keep bickering over trivialities. Actually, Slough and I have more in common than differences. I looked at his site and we both like to shoot many of the same things  




Quote from: pegelli
I actually think in most pictures there is something to like and usually something to learn as well.
Let me try to do that on Jack's latest batch. Pls. take in a positive spirit and I would very much appreciate similar comments on the pictures I post here. These are obviously not my worst, but there is always room to improve and somehow I have more difficulty critiqueing my own shots vs. those of someone else. Probably too emotionally attached to my own shots.  

I really appreciate the comments, actually, so fire away.




Quote from: pegelli
Southern lizard : a bit too contrasty and especially too dark under the chin. However I very much like the pose and the shiny blue parts on his head.
Sulphur in Verbain : pretty good and nice colors. Just a minor knit is that the oof flowers in front distract a bit.
Honeybee : I think the worst of the crop. Sharpness lies too far back. I'd like to see a sharper bee and more blurred flowers
Skipper nectaring in same : I think the best of the crop. I like the way you used the narrow dof and sharp where it needs to be. Minor knit: a bit of levels adjustment (bring white point up) will probably give the shot a bit more "punch"
Tampa Verbain : nice shot. Background "getting there"but not entirely yet.

Thanks for taking the time to comment  

I like the sharpness of the southern lizard, and the belly, and most especially the pose. But I agree, it was kinda faded in parts too.
The sulphur looked alot better (perfect) in my camera than it did on my computer. Of course, I just have Adobe 7.1 and I had a problem transferring the data from my bundled software to a workable (old) Adobe format. I may try to re-do this one on my new monitor (and having figured out what I was doing wrong in-process), but it looked great in RAW format ... but so-so after I got through with it  
The honeybee: agreed.
The skipper: clairty-wise, I thought it was the best too. Color-wise, the background and overall "cast" made me sick.
You're being too kind on the Tampa Verbain. Sub-mediocre at best, but I just wanted to throw-in a flower shot




Quote from: pegelli
So now some more from me:
Mirror fly (you can see my own reflection)
Flower (single dahlia ?)
Look me in the eyes baby (cropped quite a bit):
Another hoverfly. You cann see the hairs growing out of its eyes : no surface that can catch pollen is waisted:
As I said C&C very welcome, especially the kind that makes me learn.


All right, here are my comments as a professional rank beginner  

Mirror Fly: Excellent natural color and focus; unfortunately the subject is of no real interest. To me, the only photo of a common fly that could generate true interest and wonder would be a 5:1 type shot of nothing but his eyes and face;
Flower: Wonderful! Fantastic! Best in show. Nice coloration that is very interesting and complex, if looked at closely. Excellent focus makes it look almost real and life-like;
HoverFly Face: Good clear shot; interesting angle; unfortunately another so-so background (like almost all of mine --- can't wait till it gets green again  ); background doesn't allow subject to stand out.;
HoverFly Side: Almost. Good focus on side-hairs and wing, but face and eyes seem just slightly oof IMO;




Quote from: pegelli
Btw since Slough mentioned the books from John Shaw. I learned very much from his book "Closeups in Nature", ISBN 0-8174-4052-6.
About 15% is dedicated to film so hardly relevant anymore, however the bulk is still fully applicable for DSLR's.
I keep reading and rereading it every once in a while. Highly recommended

Thanks for the further recommendation. I will be ordering a copy when I am finished with this second book I am on. I'll post some more photos tomorrow, and thanks for sharing yours

Jack


EDIT:   I am now looking at everything through my new monitor, and wow, I can see I have got a long way to go to catch up to you fellas!




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« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 05:25:00 PM by JohnKoerner » Logged
pegelli
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« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2009, 06:08:22 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Mirror Fly: Excellent natural color and focus; unfortunately the subject is of no real interest. To me, the only photo of a common fly that could generate true interest and wonder would be a 5:1 type shot of nothing but his eyes and face;
Flower: Wonderful! Fantastic! Best in show. Nice coloration that is very interesting and complex, if looked at closely. Excellent focus makes it look almost real and life-like;
HoverFly Face: Good clear shot; interesting angle; unfortunately another so-so background (like almost all of mine --- can't wait till it gets green again  ); background doesn't allow subject to stand out.;
HoverFly Side: Almost. Good focus on side-hairs and wing, but face and eyes seem just slightly oof IMO;


Thanks for the further recommendation. I will be ordering a copy when I am finished with this second book I am on. I'll post some more photos tomorrow, and thanks for sharing yours

Jack

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Helpful to look at my shots in a different perspective and very much has to do with taste and chosen subjects also.

Case in point is the mirror fly, I like to shoot common subjects with a bit more environment around them. Also the hoverfly face background, I like a more brownish but even background better than a more uneven bright green one. Those are just things where our taste (and things we shoot) differ. Would be a pretty boring world if it wasn't the case. Your perspectives are opening my eyes to see how others react to my pictures.

With the last hoverfly I agree dof is too shallow to have all in focus, so some parts of the eye are in focus and some not. If I would have stopped down more probably the whole shot would be blurred due to motion blur. Sometimes you just cannot get it all.

Last question, what book are you reading, any good so you can recommend it to others?
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2009, 11:59:18 AM »
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Hello again Pegelli;

Yes, from a technique perspective, the fly shot was very good. From a "subject" perspective, its potential for positive impact is limited. This is nobody's fault, it's just the way it is. As an extreme example of what I mean, recognizing my own limitations as a photographer, I could commission one of the great masters to come take a photo for me. They might utilize the best photographic equipment and technique, but if my chosen subject is a macrophoto of a hemorrhoid ... no one is going to derive pleasure looking at it ... depite the finest techniques in focus, DR, lighting, color rendition, etc.  

At the end of the day, no one would hang a 40" x 30" print of a hemorrhoid on their wall, not because the best tools and talent weren't featured to their best, but simply because I have chosen the wrong subject to photograph  

One of the things I am learning about, concerning the whole point of photography in general (and macrophotography in particular), as I read and watch, is that the best photos either seem to capture something beautiful, dramatic, or they make the common uncommon. For instance, some flies really do have beautiful coloration, as the specimen you photographed did. So while not as drastic an example as the hemorrhoid (LOL), I guess my point was (in the end) common flies are generally considered an annoyance to most people, and almost no one has developed an appreciation for them. Therefore, regardless of any excellent technique, it is going to be hard for most people to to find a common fly pleasant to look at for long. However, not everyone knows what a fly looks like at 5x magnification!  Therefore, this type of unusual photo can be dramatic, because it makes a common bottle fly look like a monster from another world. Therefore a 5:1 macro shot would probably be the most fascinating way to photograph a fly, because it makes the common uncommon. (However, I don't think even this would help a hemorrhoid  )

Butterflies and flowers, on the other hand, while commonplace also, are the exact opposite of "pests" ... they are pleasures for one and all to look at and behold. Rather than trying to get rid of them (as with flies), millions of people try to cultivate and attract these subjects. Therefore, a wonderful photograph of either flowers or butterflies makes people stop and admire them automatically, by default. I think this is why any clear shot of a butterfly or flower is appreciated by one and all, even if the technique isn't perfect. People simply enjoy the beauty of these creatures.

Another thing I have been reading, and noticing in many people's work and comments, is the subject of "capturing light." One person even broke down the meaning of "photography" on her website as "photo=light" and "graphy=style/paint." I think that is what made your dahlia photo was so compelling (for me at least). It was a wonderful subject; the colors were very subtle and expansive in gradation; the focus was excellent; and the entire background was neutralized so that only the beauty of the flower remained. It just stood out, in perfect focus, to be appreciated by itself, and it was well-illuminated so that it could be appreciated in-and-of-itself.

Anyway, with the topic of "subject vs. technique" clarified (at least the way I see it), I hope you enjoy my subects below ... even if my technique isn't quite there yet





1/1000, f/5.0, ISO 400, No Flash





1/80, f/6.3, ISO 100, Built-In Flash





1/200, f/5.0, ISO 100, No Flash





1/250, f/8.0, ISO 400, Built-In Flash




Jack


PS: The book I am reading is, The Magic of Digital Nature Photography, by Rob Sheppard. It is not indepth so much as it gives a broad overview of nature photography in general, the basic tools and techniques for achieving various ends, and of course some really wonderful photographs to make you really want to get out there and start shooting!
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shootergirl
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« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2009, 07:17:21 AM »
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I must say I'm enjoying this thread. Even the bickering, which has been kept fairly civil.    The photos are absolutely amazing! All of them!

However, I have a big question. How the heck do you get these photos of insects without them flying away just when you want to take the shot? I've tried to take photos of butterflies and just when I've got it framed, it flies away. Same with bees--they'll move on to another flower. Because of that, I have very few with the insect in the frame and lots of out-of-focus flowers. Any tips from you all? Thanks in advance!

Donna
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