Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spring in September Deconstruction

Spring in September
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
I was packing the car to head home from a trip when I spotted this honeybee on the sidewalk. For reasons unknown to me sometimes their metabolism tanks and they slow down -this day was partly cloudy and cool so even the sun going behind the clouds could have been a problem for her.

To take this shot I picked a dandelion (I think that's what the yellow smelly thing is ;) ) and let her crawl onto it. Then I simply held the flower in my left hand and rested the lens on that same hand to take the shot. Really easy to do with a little practice once you get over your fear of getting close to them. If you're allergic to them, or you've never been stung, then I don't recommend doing this type of shooting...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Canon's EF-S 60mm -the Poor Man's MPE-65mm

Spring in September IV
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
One of the good things to come out of my MPE-65mm breaking is that I was forced to dust off an EF-S 60mm and since I like shooting above life size I added extension tubes to it. The lens seems to lose a lot of focal length at life size and acts like a 37mm lens, since it only takes 37mm of extension to hit 2x. With a full set of Kenko tubes it would be closer to 3:1. IMHO it's not as sharp as the MPE-65mm, and the color and contrast isn't as good. But for the price tag it's well worth it for anyone looking for a cheaper alternative to the MPE. I also like the weight of the 60mm -even with a lot of extension the balance feels really good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twitter and my MPE-65mm

For those of you who want to follow me on Twitter

In other news: RIP MPE-65mm macro lens. I've been getting an "Err 01" message (the camera couldn't communicate with the lens) intermittently but was shooting above life size to avoid it. Today at the lake I couldn't get the lens to work at any magnification so it's time to send the old girl in for repair...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Macro Gear

A video showing the gear that I use.

Expose for the Red Channel

Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Digital sensors seem to favor the color red over the other two primary colors (blue and green). Shooting digital is pretty much the electronic equivalent of shooting with Fujichrome Velvia slide film -saturated colors that saturate even more when you under expose the scene a little. Not a big problem as long as you know what to look for.

Just remember that the overall luminance histogram will lie to you...

When shooting against a yellow flower, a Violet Darter like the one I've included with this post, or anything that has a lot of red in it ignore the luminance histogram. Look only at the RGB histogram display and expose for the red channel. If the reds are all the way over to the right of the histogram then they are over exposed and you'll lose a lot of texture detail. I try to under expose the red channel by about a third of a stop (guessing at it by looking at the histogram on the camera) and in post I'll push the exposure until I'm just starting to over expose the reds. The goal is to get a well exposed image without completely blowing out the red data so that the texture in the scene is preserved.

How you light a scene will also make a big difference in how well you can expose the subject and not blow out the red channel...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baited Honeybee Deconstruction

Baited Honeybee
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
Lots of patience, and a lot of deleted frames but I managed to pull off some low angel four times life size shots of a feeding honeybee. For the "how to" I shot this video:

Here's another image from the same session:

Baited Honeybee II