One of the most challenging macro shots is the venerable bumble bee. They are constantly moving. It’s almost impossible to nab a head shot of one, even with long glass. My 105 f/2.8 isn’t long enough. I’m not sure even a 200 would be adequate unless you happen to luck out and be in the right place at the right time (which applies to all photography in general). But it’s a super fun challenge nonetheless. I was out on Sunday afternoon with my big silver reflector trying to get the holy grail of bumble bee shots in Fonstad’s apple blossoms. I had great full sunlight which was really nice when reflected. But picture me holding my D300s & 105mm lens in one hand and the big reflector in the other trying to nab macro shots! heheheeh… not a pretty sight. 😉 It’s impossible to use a tripod as the bees move way too much way too fast, so everything had to be handheld. I had to shoot in Aperture priority mode because my light changed constantly as I ran around the shady side of the trees or lit them up with the reflector. I just had to pray the camera would pick a shutter speed fast enough to nab the little buggers. hehhhehe… All in all it was a fun way to grab some sunshine for an hour. The holy grail shot is still out there somewhere!
For the record and the journal, I’m sick of rain. Thoroughly sick of it. As I’m sure all the farmers are too. But, it does provide some way cool macro opportunities. I grabbed my 105mm Macro and an SB-600 flash and went out in the rain, hunting drops and whatever I could find. The trickiest thing ever was the near hurricane force winds that were blowing everything around and drying up the raindrops at a rapid rate. I had to move quickly. As I was also using flash, I wanted to try some edgier light stuff. I dialled in Manual exposure of 250th at f/11-18 and then simply flicked the strobe at 64th power. A wee flick of light is all it took. I tried zooming the flash head too from 24mm to 85. I found that the wider swath created a nicer look. It would be sweet to have Nikon’s ring flash setup but it’s way too much cash. I think I will develop some ghetto form of a 2 flash setup for on the go macro stuff. I’ll put the order into the R&D department of Schultz Photographic… 😉
I saw a really rad photo on the strobist site and wanted to see if I could recreate it. Whilst down at Menards, I bought myself a sweet piece of acrylic that was on sale for 20% off. What a deal! For like 6 US bones you have instant way cool reflections for still life and macro shots. How can you go wrong?! 😉 I also dug out my D80 and took a shot of the setup so you can see the magic in the making. Two strobes being fired wirelessly from the commander flash blasting all kinds of white light everywhere. I also used some foam sheet craft stuff to pickup some black color for depth and contrast. I think it worked out OK. I might use it as one of my Black & White photo entries for this weeks photo club night on Friday. 🙂
I went out on a bumble bee hunt with my macro lens the other morning before I borrowed it to a friend. Had to get my macro fix. Fortunately the weather has been ridiculously cold and I haven’t missed much macro action. I’ve been waiting for a whole year for my nan king cherry trees to blossom and attract the big buzzers. One of them showed up so I gave chase and nabbed a couple quick shots before he buzzed off for good. Our tulips in the front yard were also in full bloom, backlit wonderfully by early morning sunlight. And, this years crop of bush bunnies were also munching away. So I nabbed a couple shots of them too. All in all, not a bad little walk!
What do wood ticks and Osama bin Laden have in common? Everyone hates them and rejoices when they’re dead! (howz that for politically correct?) 😉 I had this sucker crawling on me tonight and decided I would try to take pictures of him before I
buried it at sea squashed it. Ugly little vampires!!!! Yuck!
Last night my wife saw a spider and sent me on a mission to go squash it. She said, “it’s huge!” I said “is it Macro worthy?!” 😉 I get downstairs and behold, here’s a tiny spider about the size of your pinky nail. I thought it was cool and went and grabbed my macro setup. In this case I used off camera flash to add dimension to the photo. I noticed that this poor spider had lost a limb and had this big bubble of bug blood oozing off of it. Yuck! But a cool photo.
I new it was in trouble so I put it on a piece of white computer paper and card stock corner to act as a make shift light box. The light went from my SB-600 camera right and also from my pop up flash too to try and wrap light around the whole spider with minimal shadows. Worked out OK as an impromptu Macro shoot.
R.I.P. little spider. 😉
The hills are alive with singing! And crocuses! And also, regrettably, wood ticks. Be on your guard for the vampires if you go into the fields in search of the flower of the prairies! 🙂
Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Spring Hath Sprung Batman! I went out to my car this morning to grab something and I looked down on my stoop and behold! What do I see? A baby grasshopper sunning himself! Unbelievable! Spring must truly be here, or, we’re getting the next Biblical plague. 🙂 …Which might be true, because as I was bent over taking pictures, a Jehovah’s Witness came up and gave me some propaganda. hehehheeh… 😉 Anyways, when I saw this vermin on my front step, I quickly ran and grabbed my 105mm Micro lens and got in close for some way cool macro shots. Luckily it was still cold out and the little guy was slow. I was able to focus about two inches away from him. I truly hope with every ounce of my being that this means spring is truly here to stay!!! 🙂
No, this post isn’t about dental work. 🙂 Extraction is a concept used by many landscape photographers when they want to shoot not only the over all scene but also zoom in and “extract” parts of the landscape. Such as a plain with a cabin in the foreground, a wall of trees behind it and some mountains behind them with the sun sneaking up over the horizon. The photographer could extract the glowing mountain ridge, a close up of the cabin, the trees, etc. Extraction is taking a picture from within a picture, so to speak.
The same concept applies to Macro photography. Regan did a class at the family centre on making flower arrangements. She did an excellent job and the end product was beautiful! An arrangement like this provides tons of Macro photography opportunities. Using extraction, you eye up the over all “landscape” of the arrangement, and extract photos from within it. Macro lens do especially well at this because of the shallow depth of field and the closeness with which you can focus to the subject.
PS: Phoebe is here because she’s cute. 🙂
Our neighbour dropped by this week and brought with her some daffodils for life from the Cancer Society. They were just beginning to open up which presented some pretty fun macro shots. Such a beautiful sign of hope for everyone who is fighting cancer and who has conquered it. 🙂