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Author Topic: ((( MACRO JUNKIES )))  (Read 18586 times)
Roger Calixto
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« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2009, 09:41:39 AM »
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I dunno about the rest of you guys, but for insect shots (like bees), I go to a patch of flowers seeing some action and choose a flower I like. I just hover and wait (after shooting what I can think of about the flower). With time a bee usually goes for the flower I'm waiting over and I snap away. Patience.
Another thing is that the waiting will acutally cause you to do things you normally wouldn't have done. You see things you normally would overlook and your creativeness begins to flare, just because you have nothing better to do while you wait =)

So, go find a patch of flowrs. Choose one, exaust your ideas of how to shoot that flower while you wait for a visitor =)

just my $0.02

KT
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If my day job wasn't so cool, I'd quit and be a photographer =)
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2009, 10:00:13 AM »
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Quote from: shootergirl
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


Hi Donna;

Your question is pretty much all that makes macrophotography such a challenge: you have only a very small window to capture a very tiny creature---who's likely terrified of your presence. Add to this another element to the equation: wind. Even if you have a subject who is willing to sit still, at least here in Florida there is almost always a perpetual breeze. So not only do you have a very limited window of opportunity to capture something like a butterfly, but even if you have nice equipment all set upon a tripod, your subject is still swaying in the breeze!

So while you're trying to get the perfect shot in the wind, at any moment your subject might fly away also (or never stops crawling). It tends to make a person want to gnash his teeth together and consider using his equipment like a club  

Compare this to landscape, model, or building photography. Landscapes and buildings aren't going anywhere, and a paid model is trying her best to cooperate with your photographic efforts, rather than do everything possible to avoid them. Therefore, a photographer of these subjects essentially has all the time in the world to compose the best possible shot.

Macrophotograpy is exactly the opposite. You have a very limited window of opportunity to get your shot at all, let alone to get everything perfect. Yet, the flipside is, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars setting up, paying someone, or travel thousands of miles to get out into the middle of nowhere to get what you're after either. You just open the door and go outside.

I don't feel qualified to give you any technical tips, all I can say is enjoy the fact the opportunity to improve is all around you. No need to travel, no need for any great expense passed your camera and lens; the only limit to your interesting subject matter is your own imagination. This is why I am grateful to those who have posted, as they have taken photos of subjects I myelf would have never thought of. One of these days, I will get my technique down and I hope to be able to contribute some really nice shots  

BTW, Donna, what equipment do you use, and do you have any photos to share?  

Jack
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shootergirl
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« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2009, 10:13:31 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Macrophotograpy is exactly the opposite. You have a very limited window of opportunity to get your shot at all, let alone to get everything perfect. Yet, the flipside is, you don't have to spend thousands of dollars setting up, paying someone, or travel thousands of miles to get out into the middle of nowhere to get what you're after either. You just open the door and go outside.

It sounds like the challenge of this type of photography is the draw to it! If it ever gets to be spring here (Wisconsin), I'll have to do just that--go outside and work on it. I gather that to some extent, luck is involved, and more so, just taking LOTS of photographs to get a few keepers. I think this is a new area for me that I'll have to explore more!

Quote
BTW, Donna, what equipment do you use, and do you have any photos to share?  

Jack

I don't have too much online right now but have been working on a new website:

http://web.me.com/dmanderson/photography/Home.html

The screen quality of some of the photos isn't that great--it's what iWeb did with iPhoto. I'm not a pro but somebody who just enjoys getting out and taking pictures. Good or bad.    The more I do, though, the better I seem to get.

Equipment-wise, I've been using a 5D for about 3 1/2 years or so but just bought a 50D at the Circuit City liquidation sale. It's quite the camera! I wanted a cropped-frame camera to give me some extra "reach" for my eagle photography. I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet, tho, since I've been sick the last couple weeks. I did take the obligatory cat photo, though, so as not to disappoint folks on the internet.  

http://spoiled-brat.com/50Dtest/

I printed it out at 13 x 19 and it's really quite amazing.

Donna

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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2009, 11:02:32 AM »
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Nice website!

I looked around but didn't find any macro shots though  

I did like some of your country landscape shots

Can you post some your close-ups if you get the chance?
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shootergirl
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« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2009, 11:18:59 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Nice website!

I looked around but didn't find any macro shots though  

I did like some of your country landscape shots

Can you post some your close-ups if you get the chance?

I honestly don't have any worth sharing! Well, there is one. But it's not a true macro shot like you all are doing, just a close up of a bee on a flower I did a few years ago. The focus isn't great, but I was just glad to actually get the bee in the shot!  

http://spoiled-brat.com/flower-bee.jpg

Donna
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #45 on: February 17, 2009, 12:47:08 PM »
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Quote from: shootergirl
I honestly don't have any worth sharing! Well, there is one. But it's not a true macro shot like you all are doing, just a close up of a bee on a flower I did a few years ago. The focus isn't great, but I was just glad to actually get the bee in the shot!  
http://spoiled-brat.com/flower-bee.jpg
Donna

Overall, that was a nice clear shot of the whole flower and the bumble bee on it.

My only (friendly) criticism would be that the entire shot has a yellow "wash" to it that I would try to take out. I know this is hard to do, as the flower is bright yellow, and the shot appears to have been taken in the middle of a bright sunlight, but I would try to somehow edit the photo to where everything in it retains its natural color.

Some folks have been helping me understand color management, monitor calibration, etc., and I am in the process of trying to do a better job of that myself. It seems to me that shots taken in the middle of the daytime and strong sunlight (especially on such a dramatically-bright object as a bright flower) are very problematic to correct to the point where they look completely natural.

I have found that overcast days seem to be the best for capturing the true colors of all the subjects in the photograph.

Just my $0.02

Jack
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shootergirl
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« Reply #46 on: February 17, 2009, 02:07:37 PM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Overall, that was a nice clear shot of the whole flower and the bumble bee on it.

My only (friendly) criticism would be that the entire shot has a yellow "wash" to it that I would try to take out. I know this is hard to do, as the flower is bright yellow, and the shot appears to have been taken in the middle of a bright sunlight, but I would try to somehow edit the photo to where everything in it retains its natural color.

Some folks have been helping me understand color management, monitor calibration, etc., and I am in the process of trying to do a better job of that myself. It seems to me that shots taken in the middle of the daytime and strong sunlight (especially on such a dramatically-bright object as a bright flower) are very problematic to correct to the point where they look completely natural.

I have found that overcast days seem to be the best for capturing the true colors of all the subjects in the photograph.

Just my $0.02

Jack

Hey, I never said it was a good image.   You're right about the yellow wash--it's just an image I had on this computer that I used as my desktop at one point. I think I took it on vacation (Agawa Canyon train tour north of Sault Ste. Marie, ON), so it was the middle of the day. I've been using a color managed workflow for quite a while. It's essential if you print your own images.

I did put the image into photoshop and removed some of the yellow cast and it looked a lot better. Thanks!

Anyways, I, too, have found that in taking photos such as flower images an overcast day works much better. Or if I'm deep in the woods where it's really shady. But then you sometimes get a blue cast that needs to be taken out later.

Donna
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pegelli
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« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2009, 04:46:19 PM »
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Hi Donna,

Glad you joined the gang here. Don't be shy and post some macro pics once you get the hang of it. Believe it or not, I think on a typical shoot I bin >95% of my shots for the exact reason you mention. Insect blurry (focus error or motion blur) or even totally gone. The way I maximise my low chances is put the lens on MF and at a fixed magnification and then frame/focus by moving my head. Then when you're near just fire 3 or 5 frames and pick the sharpest (if there is one   ).

This one I got lucky, I was playing with my cam sitting on the terrace last summer with the family and this yellow ladybug started crawling on my hand. On this one I actually held my cam still and focussed by slowly moving my hand. It's the only one I did that way, but I like the result.

 

Greetings
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 04:47:52 PM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
JohnKoerner
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« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2009, 06:00:08 PM »
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Quote from: shootergirl
Hey, I never said it was a good image.   You're right about the yellow wash--it's just an image I had on this computer that I used as my desktop at one point. I think I took it on vacation (Agawa Canyon train tour north of Sault Ste. Marie, ON), so it was the middle of the day. I've been using a color managed workflow for quite a while. It's essential if you print your own images.
I did put the image into photoshop and removed some of the yellow cast and it looked a lot better. Thanks!
Anyways, I, too, have found that in taking photos such as flower images an overcast day works much better. Or if I'm deep in the woods where it's really shady. But then you sometimes get a blue cast that needs to be taken out later.
Donna

Wow, it does look better!

Not only did you do a good job with the yellow, but I am looking at it on my new monitor now (rather than my cheap laptop), and there really is a difference. One thing you might want to take a look at, I took the liberty of saving the image and rotating it clockwise 90 degrees, and to me it make the image look better still. Instead of looking like he's slipping off a downward-pointing flower, he looks like he's secure atop an upward-pointing one  

Jack

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peteh
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« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2009, 10:32:37 PM »
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Quote from: shootergirl
Hey, I never said it was a good image.   You're right about the yellow wash--it's just an image I had on this computer that I used as my desktop at one point. I think I took it on vacation (Agawa Canyon train tour north of Sault Ste. Marie, ON), so it was the middle of the day. I've been using a color managed workflow for quite a while. It's essential if you print your own images.

I did put the image into photoshop and removed some of the yellow cast and it looked a lot better. Thanks!

Anyways, I, too, have found that in taking photos such as flower images an overcast day works much better. Or if I'm deep in the woods where it's really shady. But then you sometimes get a blue cast that needs to be taken out later.

Donna
I think that is a cucumber beetle not a yellow ladybug.
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pegelli
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« Reply #50 on: February 18, 2009, 12:33:50 AM »
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Quote from: peteh
I think that is a cucumber beetle not a yellow ladybug.

peteh, you might be right but I'm not sure. see here, a cucumber beetle looks more elongated and has long antennae. This one looks more short and stocky w/o antennae . On the other hand I've never seen a yellow ladybug either so it's probably something else.

Any more specialists here ?
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pieter, aka pegelli
Slough
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« Reply #51 on: February 18, 2009, 07:24:34 AM »
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Quote from: pegelli
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.
Quote from: pegelli

That is an interesting comment. Could you give a specific example? Now that you have made this observation, I will check out online images from the greats such as John Shaw, and see how the sharpening compares.

The thumbnails do look oversharpened, and that is because they are automatically generated by .NET from the larger already sharpened images, using my web site generation tool, and the resize algorithm is a bit poo-ey. I am not prepared to go back and manually create thumbnails for all of the images. It is too much hard work for too little gain.
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  

Fungi is just a hobby. I am not trained in botany, sadly.
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Slough
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« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2009, 07:29:24 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Nope, I am a rank beginner.

Jack/John

I responded to you in a head on manner because you dismissed my post containing some technical points as "all wrong" suggesting that you considered yourself an expert, whereas you clearly were unaware of many issues. Anyway, enough of this nonsense. There's better things to do before one pegs out.
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shootergirl
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« Reply #53 on: February 18, 2009, 08:19:56 AM »
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Quote from: pegelli
This one I got lucky, I was playing with my cam sitting on the terrace last summer with the family and this yellow ladybug started crawling on my hand. On this one I actually held my cam still and focussed by slowly moving my hand. It's the only one I did that way, but I like the result.

I love that picture! I've never seen a yellow ladybug before.

Quote
Btw, I like you cat picture.

You probably know this one : dogs have masters, cats have staff  

Oh, I am definitely the staff to my two cats. My cockatiel, though, thinks I'm the greatest thing in the world! One out of three ain't bad.  

Donna
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shootergirl
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« Reply #54 on: February 18, 2009, 08:42:11 AM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
Wow, it does look better!

Not only did you do a good job with the yellow, but I am looking at it on my new monitor now (rather than my cheap laptop), and there really is a difference. One thing you might want to take a look at, I took the liberty of saving the image and rotating it clockwise 90 degrees, and to me it make the image look better still. Instead of looking like he's slipping off a downward-pointing flower, he looks like he's secure atop an upward-pointing one  

Jack

I hate to tell you this, but I didn't upload my re-worked photo.   I think you looking at on your new monitor made the difference!  

Donna
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #55 on: February 18, 2009, 09:53:40 AM »
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Quote from: Slough
Jack/John
I responded to you in a head on manner because you dismissed my post containing some technical points as "all wrong" suggesting that you considered yourself an expert, whereas you clearly were unaware of many issues. Anyway, enough of this nonsense. There's better things to do before one pegs out.

Gosh Slough, I guess you just don't want to man-up let it go, do you? I have apologized to you once, and I won't do it again. Since you won't let it go, I would like to call you to task on your new claim that I alleged myself to be an expert or that I gave you corrective comments as to your technique. Could you please display the link to any post I have made here on this forum, where I have proclaimed myself an expert? If you can't show this, then I am calling you a liar.

How many times do you want to go over this? I merely gave my subjective view of one of your photographs, nothing more, and I have since been complimentary about others. You came at me in a head-on manner originally (and you still are) because you were butt-hurt, nothing more. Like I said, I apologized to you once, and I will not do it again. That you continue to attack after this fact makes you an ass IMO. If you can't get over it and move on, then kindly cry somewhere else okay? In the meantime, I will be waiting for you to provide the link to where I claimed to be an expert, or for you to admit to being a liar and exaggerator.

Thanks.
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #56 on: February 18, 2009, 09:57:29 AM »
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Quote from: shootergirl
I hate to tell you this, but I didn't upload my re-worked photo.   I think you looking at on your new monitor made the difference!  
Donna


LOL! That is too funny.

It is amazing the difference when what you take for granted to be "the way things are" gets a paradigm shift  

I guess from now on, I will reserve any and all comments until I am looking through the right window
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pegelli
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« Reply #57 on: February 18, 2009, 03:06:15 PM »
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Quote from: JohnKoerner
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



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!

I think your technique is getting there. I see improved sharpness and exposure in every shot you're posting so just go on !

From this batch I like the frog eye best.

One comment is that you might consider to varying your composition a bit more. All your main subjects are very central in the frame. Maybe try some "golden rule" compositions where you try to put the point of main attention (maybe the eyes or some other strong point in your subject) on one ofe the intersections of the 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines that would devide the frame in three equal parts horizontally and vertically.

Just a thought that might improve the impact of the pictures you take.

Thanks for the reference on the book. I'll check it out.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 03:06:48 PM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
David Sutton
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« Reply #58 on: February 19, 2009, 02:32:25 AM »
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Hi. This has been such an interesting thread with some really very good photos. I don't shoot a lot of macro, in fact I haven't even got a macro lens, I just screw a 500d filter with a step-down ring on the end of my 70-200 f4 (using a Canon 40D). So I'm really only out hunting butterflies and such when birds are not to be found, and then shooting hand held with a flash:
[attachment=11613:_MG_7984SpIlSHMPer.jpg]
Or on the ground with a beanbag:
[attachment=11614:__54SpIlSHMRel.jpg]
The depth of field with this set up is miniscule. Most insects stay around long enough to get one or two shots in, and I've bought a monopod to increase my keeper rate with the flash, but I was wondering if anyone knew whether the depth of field is better with a dedicated macro lens? I can think of no reason why it should be, but then again have never tested it.
Well you images here have encouraged me to get out and do more. Cheers, David
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pegelli
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« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2009, 03:53:36 AM »
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Quote from: Taquin
but I was wondering if anyone knew whether the depth of field is better with a dedicated macro lens? I can think of no reason why it should be, but then again have never tested it.
Well you images here have encouraged me to get out and do more. Cheers, David

Hey David, good shots, especially like the butterfly !

As far as I know dof is set by optical formulas depending on aperture and magnification (and thus indirectly focal lenth and sensor size). So there's no dof difference between using a dedicated macro lens or a non-macro lens with a close-up diopter and/or extension tubes.
Take a look here on this site, it has a wealth of theoretical knowledge (as well as a dof calculator) that will help you understand better how it all hangs together. Michael Hohner Optical Formulas.

This site is more dedicated to Minolta - Sony equipment but this section is really independent from any specific brand.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 03:55:48 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
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