First Macro Photos

Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
Hey Guys,

I have been a long time follower on this forum. While saving for my first macro lens, I've learned a few tips and tricks from all the wonderful photographers here. Below are a few shots from my first outing with a macro lens. It was definitely much harder than I anticipated.

The 3 main things that I quickly realized after been out there for a few hours were: 1) Wind is definitely your enemy at this distance, 2) I didn't realize the importance of light and how difficult using flash can be for macro photography, 3) be patient, be patient, be patient.

Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for looking!

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DSC_2040 by
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DSC_2124 by Manny M.2010, on Flickr

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DSC_2019 by Manny M.2010, on Flickr

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DSC_2037 by Manny M.2010, on Flickr
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2010
Messages
318
Location
Maryland, USA
Lovely shots! The only (minor) issue I see is that lighting seems a little harsh in some of the pics. Did you use a flash? You can hold a piece of translucent paper (like a coffee filter) just above the subject to diffuse the flash light. Soft lighting makes a big difference.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
Lovely shots! The only (minor) issue I see is that lighting seems a little harsh in some of the pics. Did you use a flash? You can hold a piece of translucent paper (like a coffee filter) just above the subject to diffuse the flash light. Soft lighting makes a big difference.

Thank you Ananth,

All of these shots were actually taken under natural light. It was very bright sunlight down here in South Florida (at about 12pm). I tried using flash and a cheap softbox diffuser in some instances but I was having a tough time playing with the flash. I need to find a better diffuser and understand flash photography a little better at this distances. Not only does it scare the bugs away but most came out very harsh when I tried.

Thanks for the comments.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
Are you using 1/250 or 1/320 flash sync?

I think it was at 1/250 but honestly, I'm not entirely sure. I need to play around a little more to figure the flash. Any tips on settings for macro? I think we have the same body (D7000). I'm just not sure what flash set up you have. I have the SB-600.

Any tips will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
2,483
Location
Missouri
Like a few others, I generally shoot around 1/250 TTL-BL-FP F11 ISO100. Then I'll move the ISO around to get the exposure I want. If you look at the top LCD and you see "BL" by the battery indicator, that means you are shooting in flash sync. I use to use a SB-600 before I got the R1 setup (which is two SB-R200s mount on the front of the lens via an adapter). They work the same way, just the SB-R200s are just lower powered. They are kind of like the SB-400, just a tad bit smaller and work off of CLS.

Definitely a good start.

Another option instead of moving the iso is to move the shutter speed. I've shot images at 1/50th at 180mm and 2:1 mag with tack sharp results because at 1/50th, it was still too dark to expose my subject with ambient.

What I do is....set your aperture where you want it (usually f/11-13 for me) set your iso to base. Keep your flash turned off at this point. Now start at 1/250th and snap a shot of a subject (can be merely a flower in the area you plan to bug hunt). Move your shutter speed faster until you get as nice a background without exposing your subject with ambient.

Then kick your flash on and set it to expose the subject and you are set to go. Sometimes this method won't work though. If your background is too dark then you will have to increase the shutter speed so much that you start exposing the subject with ambient as well. In this case, you might consider bumping the iso...but you will often get the same results and end up exposing the subject with ambient and getting not as sharp of photos. If your background area is too dark...you can either shade your subject to block more ambient...or watch your background and find some foilage that will get some spill from your flash, but still blur to make a nice background.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
Like a few others, I generally shoot around 1/250 TTL-BL-FP F11 ISO100. Then I'll move the ISO around to get the exposure I want. If you look at the top LCD and you see "BL" by the battery indicator, that means you are shooting in flash sync. I use to use a SB-600 before I got the R1 setup (which is two SB-R200s mount on the front of the lens via an adapter). They work the same way, just the SB-R200s are just lower powered. They are kind of like the SB-400, just a tad bit smaller and work off of CLS.

Thanks for the tip,

Yep, I think the main issue that I was having was that my flash was not syncing. I'm going to try it using the new setting and see how it goes. Thanks again for the assistance.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
Definitely a good start.

Another option instead of moving the iso is to move the shutter speed. I've shot images at 1/50th at 180mm and 2:1 mag with tack sharp results because at 1/50th, it was still too dark to expose my subject with ambient.

What I do is....set your aperture where you want it (usually f/11-13 for me) set your iso to base. Keep your flash turned off at this point. Now start at 1/250th and snap a shot of a subject (can be merely a flower in the area you plan to bug hunt). Move your shutter speed faster until you get as nice a background without exposing your subject with ambient.

Then kick your flash on and set it to expose the subject and you are set to go. Sometimes this method won't work though. If your background is too dark then you will have to increase the shutter speed so much that you start exposing the subject with ambient as well. In this case, you might consider bumping the iso...but you will often get the same results and end up exposing the subject with ambient and getting not as sharp of photos. If your background area is too dark...you can either shade your subject to block more ambient...or watch your background and find some foilage that will get some spill from your flash, but still blur to make a nice background.

Thanks so much Nate for the assistance. This is also a great approach. As I become more comfortable messing around with the flash, I will start playing around with this approach. I'll keep you guys posted. I really appreciate the time on the explanation.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2010
Messages
190
Location
Miami
like them all as well - trying to get close to flies myself this summer:biggrin:
getting out of my comfort zone

Thank you for the kind comments. I will try to get out this weekend again with the new tips to see what I can get. The good thing about the flies is that they seem to fly back to the same spot. Good luck!
 

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