Sunday, July 26, 2009

Licking the Bowl Deconstruction

Licking the Bowl
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Here's another frame of a feeding honeybee that I slowed down by injecting corn syrup into a Lavender flower with a syringe. I knew that the exposure on this setup was going to be a problem -too much contrast between the clear syrup (nothing but a specular highlight zone for the flash) and the flash falloff since there's nothing close in the background to reflect the light from the flash back into the camera. So I set the FEC to -1 2/3 to avoid having to go into manual mode since I was shooting from a lot of different angles and changing the magnification. Hind site being what it is I should have set the flash to manual mode and left the magnification at 3x (where I ended up taking the most frames anyway) -it would have been easier...

The hard part about this scene isn't keeping the critter and the camera steady: She's really into that corn syrup so grabbing the Lavender stem with my left index finger and thumb was easy, and once I had a hold on the flower all I had to do was rest the lens on that same hand and slide ti to get the focus and composition that I wanted. What's tough about a shot like this one is remembering that the area of acceptable focus is parallel to the sensor and thin, so I've got to get it as flat against the bee as I can to make the most of what little depth there is at 3x and F13. For a shot like this one the eyes have to be in focus but so does the entire length of the proboscis. Also anything that's flat, or nearly flat, in the foreground also has to be in focus or your eye will go right to it. Forget focus stacking -although I did slow the honeybee down by giving her something to eat she's still in motion, and I'm actually using my finger and thumb to rotate the flower as she's feeding to keep her looking into the lens and to give me a "magic angle" that will make the most of the depth. It would take some tricky "shotgun photography" to give me more than one frame of the exact same scene and I'd rather spend my time practicing composition and getting the most of a single frame.

At times she was actually standing on my fingers...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Macro Moment #1

First off I need to apologize for the quality of this video! I'm not use to using a camera phone, but since the iPhone 3GS has a camera capable of video, and since I have it with me all the time, I thought I'd start documenting some of the techniques I use to photograph the critters. This morning at the lake seemed like a perfect opportunity -I just need to get better at using the video camera ;)

Here's the video of a sleeping solitary bee:

Here's one of the shots of that same bee:

Snoozing VI

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Feeding Honeybee IV Deconstruction

Feeding Honeybee IV
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
I don't always get a chance to shoot the critters when they are cold and sleeping, and during the heat of the day they won't let me get close unless I give them a reason to slow down. So I bought a hypodermic syringe at a pharmacy and used it to inject corn syrup deep inside a Lavender flower. The bee was so intent on eating that it let me grab onto the flower just below it so I could use the Left Hand Brace Technique to take the shot.