Bee killer with prey

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May 8, 2005
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A couple of snapshots--one of a bee killer with prey (in this case a metallic green fly). The other is of the prey in its better days. Every attempt has been made to not oversharpen either pic but would appreciate critical input. The pic of the bee killer has the stem rather blown out, but the critter was way back in a large clump of flowers and it was difficult to get the lighting set up properly. Not enough and the fly is underexposed, too much and...oh well. So would also appreciate critical input in this area if possible.
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Thanks,
Jerry Snider
 
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Bruce, which "eye" are you looking into?

jerry, very nice shots. guess I'll have to put that 200 micro on my list as I have been seeing some really great shots with it including yours.
 
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Excellent shots Jerry. I can't give a critical judgment as to exposure on my monitors here, but if it were me, I would back off on the USM just a tiny bit, but that's primarily a matter of personal preference. In any case they both look perfectly focused, with good DOF, and at least on this monitor, pretty well exposed.

Let me put it this way; I'd take both shots in a heartbeat. :wink:
 
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Excellent photos, but please can I make an adjustment to your title.

The predator is not a species of bee but a species of FLY. It is in fact a Robberfly. (Asilidae) It is very similar to the European male CRYTOPOGON ruficornis but I cannot name it for definate as I am not conversant with American species.

Best wishes.

Bob F.
 
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Our bee killer is Promachus fitchii and is somewhat erronously referred to as the giant robber fly. However the giant robber fly is Proctacanthus rodecki. But yes, all of these are in the robber fly group. We ARE using common names here and you know where that leads--different common names in different geographical regions for the same organism. Assuredly, Promachus fitchii is known here as bee killer (among other names). Obviously, I had the pictures reversed, the prey is the first photo, the bee killer (aka robber fly) is in the 2nd. We have the bearded robber fly, giant robber fly, bee killer, etc. And yes, both are flies.
Sorry for the confusion.
 
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Flew said:
Excellent shots Jerry. I can't give a critical judgment as to exposure on my monitors here, but if it were me, I would back off on the USM just a tiny bit, but that's primarily a matter of personal preference. In any case they both look perfectly focused, with good DOF, and at least on this monitor, pretty well exposed.

Let me put it this way; I'd take both shots in a heartbeat. :wink:
Interestingly, Frank, these were not sharpened except for RR's recommendation for the D2X in NC, and even there I backed off by well under half of his recommendation. The bee killer shot WAS run through Noise Ninja, however sharpening in the latter was set to zero. These were shot as NEF files and perhaps I let some incamera sharpening creep in in NC? (That statement by itself is totally ludicrous, but you know what I mean). Thanks for the input.
 
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Bob the Spiderman said:
Common names are the bain of a naturalist's life!!!

BW. Bob F.
Oops! NOW I see where you are coming from. I inadvertently reversed the name in my discussion, (as opposed to the name on the photo label). I said killer bee when I meant bee killer. I have observed bee killers work a particular flowering bush and almost always after a capture of a honey bee they will return to the same stem and suck the juices, dropping the carcus. After a few days of working the bush/shrub, there will be a small pile of bee carcuses (and some flies as well).
 
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Jerry,

I use the D2H (and D70) settings files that I got from Ron when I process my .NEF files, and they automatically set the sharpening to None, no matter what they are in-camera. I assume that you are doing the same. I have found that for ultra sharp images out of camera, that I sometimes have to back off of the USM values that Ron recommends.

Looking at these images again, I have to say that they are not over-sharpened, but again, if it were me, I'd back off a little more. As I said, it is a personal preference thing, and very difficult to get perfect in any case with shots resized for web display. No doubt though, the images rock. 8)

Regards,
 
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Thanks Greg, Brew, Frank and Bob for all of the input. Appreciate each ounce/gram of it and hope to learn from the comments, suggestions and recommendations.
J. Snider
 
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Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Hi Jerry

Thanks for these photos - you just set the standard for me macro wise. I have not had much luck, but I am going to have to give it a shot. That 200mm is a sweet lens!
 
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Robbers are so cool, and you captured one with a victim that's even better.

I don't see any sharpening artifacts except it is starting to show in the background, I would say its right at the max you would want to go.

I have been using the tlr sharpening scripts from,
http://www.thelightsright.com

They work well with cs2 smartsharpen, a bit slow but smartsharpen is slow also can be used with usm for faster results.

Has a good write up on sharpening in the instructions also.

We may have talked about this already...

I see your using two flashes, did you get your self a nice bracket?

Really nice pictures Jerry.

Martin
 
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Robbers are so cool, and you captured one with a victim that's even better.

I don't see any sharpening artifacts except it is starting to show in the background, I would say its right at the max you would want to go.

I have been using the tlr sharpening scripts from,
http://www.thelightsright.com

They work well with cs2 smartsharpen, a bit slow but smartsharpen is slow also can be used with usm for faster results.

Has a good write up on sharpening in the instructions also.

We may have talked about this already...

I see your using two flashes, did you get your self a nice bracket?

Really nice pictures Jerry.

Martin
 
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Thanks for the info, Martin. Yes, I have had the RRS flash bracket since they first became available. Wasn't smart enough to come up with the TS bracket! However, I didn't get the 2nd flash until ca. a month ago. Can't get the lighting affect you are so good with, but keep trying. Will check out the sharpening info you mentioned. Also have gone to a Wimberly sidekick for the micro setup and find it quite good for the latter. Who would have thought--obviously I am a slow learner! Didn't purchase it for that but since I had it thought I should at least give it a try.
Jerry Snider
 
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Jerry Snider said:
Thanks for the info, Martin. Yes, I have had the RRS flash bracket since they first became available. Wasn't smart enough to come up with the TS bracket! However, I didn't get the 2nd flash until ca. a month ago. Can't get the lighting affect you are so good with, but keep trying. Will check out the sharpening info you mentioned. Also have gone to a Wimberly sidekick for the micro setup and find it quite good for the latter. Who would have thought--obviously I am a slow learner! Didn't purchase it for that but since I had it thought I should at least give it a try.
Jerry Snider
Side Kick for macro what a great idea, I always knew there was a reason I wanted one.

Well I did get the idea for the the TS bracket from the rrs bracket, I just wanted something that I could build out of scrap for the right price.

There is another flash bracket I like its a custom job and its in the book:

Close-ups on Insects by Robert Thompson

I might build one like that also but its more suited to small flashes.

Lighting is tricky with dual flash I am constantly adjusting to get things right, but one thing I did with my mini soft box is tape a small piece of milk jug in the middle to give even more diffusion, seems to help.

You should post a picture of your rig and tell us how it all works.

Martin
 
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Thanks for the comments, Gordon. Appreciate the input.

Martin, Would be happy to post a pic of the setup. However, regarding its use might be another matter. In this particular instance it is sort of by guess and by golly! I suspect the artifacts you are seeing in the bee killer photo are due, at least in part, to some cropping. Since the fly was ca 2' back near the center of a serious clump of flowers, it was all I could do to get light to the subject through the numerous stems. I suspect that the second flash didn't help too much in this case. Was difficult to try to get the background properly illuminated since I was shooting in a narrow space between densely packed stems. I am still working on the large clump of spearmint plants since the latter has attracted an amazing variety of insects.
Have checked out your sharpening kit recommendation and will give it a try shortly.
J. Snider
 
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Fayetteville, OH
Nice pictures as usual Jerry. Glad to see you used a tripod on this set as I don't think anyone is strong enough to hand hold a 200 micro, D2x, RRS flash bracket and the SB-800. Yikes, my arms ache just thinking about it.
 
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