Macro setup--or spending my kids' inheritance

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I am a tad shy about posting this hastily shot pic of my toys. However, since Martin (kramp) and Frank (flew) have requested a photo of the setup, here it is. Please ignore the arrangement of flashes, attached strap, etc. This is a hastily taken setup, with flashes moved in order to better show parts, etc. Items include: RRS B87-B Orbiting Tilt Flash head and arm, extra flash head, shortened SC-17 cord, LumiQuest Soft Box on SB800, LumiQuest Ultrasoft on SB600, SB600 attached to flash arm with Nikon AS-10 TTL multi flash adapter. Lens show here is the Nikkor 200 Micro. Yes, the B87-B mid-sized flash arm and lens do not center in this case. I have no problem with that, and the B87-B arm gives enough clearance for use with smaller telephoto zooms. All of this is mounted to a Wimberley Sidekick attached to an Arca Swiss ball head. The tripod is a Gitzo 1348 with leveling base (for other uses).

For an alternate (and most innovative!) choice, please refer to kramp's custom made TOP SECRET setup on this site. Also, his application of portions of milk jugs as diffusers/reflectors attached to his flash setup works as well (if not better on most occasions!) as the stuff I have. Indeed, he tipped me off on using the LumiQuest items for macro work and I prefer it to the Stofen diffusers I typically use. However, I often still use a Stofen for the SB600.
Please, I am posting this at the recommendation of others for whom I have great respect. This isn't an attempt to "show off" equipment.
If I really knew what I was doing, I would be downright dangerous (to myself and to others)!!

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My best,
Jerry Snider
 
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Okay that makes me feel better now that I see someone has a bigger monster setup than I do. ;)

How are you triggering the second flash, wireless or some type of cord?

Thanks for posting the picture Jerry.

Martin
 
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That is impressive Jerry. Did you shorten your SC-17 cord yourself? I do have the RRS bracket and could rig this up myself. I assume that you are using the SB 800 and a second SB 800/600 in a master/remote wireless arrangement?? Is your camera set in A or M mode to control the background and the flash in TTL for light on the subject?
 
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How are you triggering the second flash, wireless or some type of cord?

Thanks for posting the picture Jerry.

Martin[/quote]

Martin, I trigger the flash wireless or, at your suggestion for using the SB600 at full power, attach an SC 18 sync cord. Still have to work on the latter however. You apply talent and intellect in setting up for your macros, I sort of "muddle' around a bit:lol: .
And yeah, look how much it cost me to be "bigger" :wink:
J. Snider
 
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greyflash said:
Did you shorten your SC-17 cord yourself? I do have the RRS bracket and could rig this up myself. I assume that you are using the SB 800 and a second SB 800/600 in a master/remote wireless arrangement?? Is your camera set in A or M mode to control the background and the flash in TTL for light on the subject?
Gordon, I was fortunate to purchase the SC-17 from RRS some time ago. Wish I had bought two at the time! If I recall correctly, I saw detailed instructions somewhere on how to shorten the cord yourself.
I use both to trigger flashes, wireless and cord. The latter after seeing Martin's instructions re using the SB600 at full power. Still working on using the latter effectively, however. I use both A and M mode, and by far prefer M mode. Got into a lapse recently and went back to A mode but simply can't get the speed/shutter combo I desire with the latter (most likely my own ignorance here). Having gone back to M mode, I find I can lower the ISO settings back to 200, kick the flash power up and find a good combination.
J. Snider
 
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greyflash said:
Thanks for the info Jerry. I keep wrapping my SC17 cord around the flash bracket but would really like to get a shortened version.
I am not sure why RRS doesn't do the shortened SC17 cord anymore. I just wish that I could relocate the site where I saw instructions on "how to do it yourself". Pehaps someone reading this can provide info?
If I happen to use the SC29 cord I do the same, wrap it around the bracket.
Jerry Snider
 

SRA

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You guys take your insect photographing serious. I saw this photo earlier today. Both impressive to say the least.

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This setup has lasers to boot. :shock:
 
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Thanks for the post. I recall seeing the site on which this appears. Interesting and would be nice for research or technical type stuff. Would love to see it in action. However, video would be even better if one wanted to go there. I'm certainly not coveting it even if the National Science Foundation would fund one for me.
However, glad to see that it is bigger than mine :lol: !
J. Snider
 
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Very nice set-up Jerry. As soon as I recover from buying the Tamron 180, I'm going to have to check out the RRS flash bracket and the Lumiquest softboxes also.

Thanks for going to the trouble of posting this.
 
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Jerry:

That is one cool 8) set-up, for sure. I second CK's question and want to know how you manage not to scare anything off....it's always been hard for me to even imagine using a tripod. Very impressive equipment indeed and thank you for sharing it.
 
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It depends, of course, what is being photographed and understanding just a bit about the organism's behavior. If I am shooting dragonflies/damselflies I typically use a monopod and only one flash. Works great and is quite portable. However, if photographing pollinators/nectar feeders I set up adjacent to the flower/bush/shrub, where a lot of activity is occurring and wait for them to come. Recently I have been shooting lots of bugs working a clump of spearmint plants and at any one time there will be literally 100's of insects working the plants. Butterflies, moths, flies of all kinds/types, assorted wasps, assorted bees--you name it. and all present at one time. In this instance I simply set up in one place and let them come to me. This is where the Wimberley Sidekick works great. I can work a decent sized area containing numerous kinds of bugs without moving. If necessary, I can nudge the tripod in one direction or another and within several seconds bugs are back to normal. Indeed, re the latter, I will shoot ca 100 frames in about an hour on a good morning. Find good habitat and the critters will come. For me, just a tiny amount of patience usually pays off. Thank goodness, because that is about all I have--a tiny amount! However, if you are attempting to take extreme micros then a lot of talent and patience is required. In most of my macros I attempt to show a bit of the habitat in the photo so it is much easier.

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J. Snider
ottercreek.smugmug.com
 
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Jerry,

That is a great setup and you prove just how well it works with your images.

I noticed on the last image that you were at ISO800 and +3ev on the flashes to get f20 at 1/320. Is that normal for your setup? How far away are you with a shot like that?

I have been thinking about setting up my SB600's on tripods when I do bug shots. This post may push me to try it sooner.
 
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Charles,
If I recall accurately this was shot late in the day and I was using only a single flash. Usually this is not a problem, however the flash was recycling chillingly slow and there was an 5-10 mph breeze also. Had taken half dozen pics of the small black/orange moth and simply couldn't get a decent exposure due to the breeze and the bug fluttering around so much (ain't chimping fun?). Of course, black bug on white flowers is extremely difficult for me (heck, ALL of this stuff is extremely difficult for me!). This was the first time I had ever seen this moth and didn't want to lose an opportunity. Thus the increased ISO and shutter speed. I was perhaps 8-10" away. The flash was likely aimed incorrectly as well, i.e. in a more upright position with the flash head tilted upwards with the Stofen diffuser attached. If I had used the setup shown in the photo this pic would have been much easier to get and at ISO 200 (except, perhaps, for the heavy breeze).
But as I said earlier, I sort of shoot "by guess and by golly" so please don't pay serious attention to what I have to say. There are others here (Martin, Kraus, etc.) that are the macro artists.
It sure is fun, however!
J. Snider
 
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greyflash said:
This last shot you posted is stunning. Perfect exposure to ensure nothing lost in dark or light areas. Well done.
Thanks, Gordon for the comments. I did like this one, likely because the antennae were in decent focus as well.
J. Snider
 
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Jerry Snider said:
Charles,
If I recall accurately this was shot late in the day and I was using only a single flash. Usually this is not a problem, however the flash was recycling chillingly slow and there was an 5-10 mph breeze also. Had taken half dozen pics of the small black/orange moth and simply couldn't get a decent exposure due to the breeze and the bug fluttering around so much (ain't chimping fun?). Of course, black bug on white flowers is extremely difficult for me (heck, ALL of this stuff is extremely difficult for me!). This was the first time I had ever seen this moth and didn't want to lose an opportunity. Thus the increased ISO and shutter speed. I was perhaps 8-10" away. The flash was likely aimed incorrectly as well, i.e. in a more upright position with the flash head tilted upwards with the Stofen diffuser attached. If I had used the setup shown in the photo this pic would have been much easier to get and at ISO 200 (except, perhaps, for the heavy breeze).
But as I said earlier, I sort of shoot "by guess and by golly" so please don't pay serious attention to what I have to say. There are others here (Martin, Kraus, etc.) that are the macro artists.
It sure is fun, however!
J. Snider
Thanks for the info. Anyone who would have a setup like this is serious about macro work. I have been using a 300 f4 + 1.4 TC + 20mm extension tube to do bug shots lately and find the working distance to be very nice. That distance would hurt flash power thus the reason I am considering mounting flashes on tripods.
 
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Neat outfit and super shots Jerry... :)

Can you elaborate a little more on the RRS bracket and how you have everything attached and the "centering" of the flash over the lens..??
 

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