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Pictures of ants

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by panama, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. I was wondering if anyone here has had any success with photographing ants. Please post your pics and tell of your set up. I want to start a project on ants and I would like to know what would be the best set up for these little creatures. thants... I mean thanks.:tongue:
  2. can I tag along on this one and ask if anyone has any neat pics of mantis
  3. Counter


    Sep 18, 2007
    They are a tough subject, mainly because they move so quickly and not in a straight line!

    Here's a black ant


    and a brown one!


    The hardest thing is to get them to stay still. You might want to put some food in the way


    A little pool of honey is a good way to draw a crowd and get them to slow down a bit!

    I get as close as possible, hand held with my 60mm (your 105 would be better) and just follow them around at f14 or so with pop-up flash on the go. It's a case of taking tens of shots to get one good one, trial and error. I wish you luck :biggrin:
  4. babyapplejack


    Jul 20, 2008
    Wow those are some amazing pictures Counter! Wow!!!
  5. My ant pics


    I've struggled in the past to get good ant pics. A couple of weeks ago I was trying out my new extension tubes, and got some good shots of ants. The ants in question were tiny, like sugar ants. I found them, and various other critters, on a decomposing log that I turned over. At first there were thousands of panicked ants dashing around because they had a nest under the log. After they settled down, a few went back to foraging behavior. In fact, they may not have been part of the unfortunate colony that I disturbed.

    I shot with my Tamron SP 90 1:1 macro plus a stack of 3 Kenko tubes totalling 68 mm. I shot many of the ant pictures at closest focus, which I estimate gives me a little over 2:1 magnification.

    I lit the shots with an SB-800 in the hotshoe, fired through a pop-up diffuser attached to the front of the lens. The pop-up diffuser is decidedly low budget, but is one of the best ways I've found to light macros. It gives soft light that's still mildly directional.

    Anyway, here's the image:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    (click the image for a larger version with EXIF data)

    Because the ants were on a log on the ground, I was able to brace my elbows on the ground and steady the camera. That helped a lot.

    I tend to use small apertures (f/11, f/16, or even f/22) and fast shutterspeeds, so I need flash.

    I had a number of other shots, but the one above was the best.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  6. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Everyone thanks for posting the ant captures . Im inspired to go out and try some tomorrow.
    Duncan, Great shot of the the two ants. Im getting pretty serious into macro myself, and that flash adaptor is calling my name. Iv some of your other captures with that diffusion set up, and Im quite Impressed with your ability to capture choice moments and the quality of light. Im going to get one of those diffusers as my SB-29 light is good . But really flat. and I do own a SB-800. thanks for sharing

  7. Greg,

    I had to modify the pop-up diffuser slightly to get it to stay on my lens. There's a link to a picture of what I did at the bottom of the image.

    Here's another ant picture from the same series. I got a number of decent images from that shoot. I need to upload more:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    (click the link to see a larger version with EXIF data)
  8. That last one is really nice Duncan.
  9. Re: Ant pictures

    Thanks. You like that one better than the first? I prefer the one with two ants.
  10. those are great! Looking to get some extension tubes soon
  11. Duncan, that set-up really seems to work very well. I just wonder, that at this working distance, the lens doesn't cast a shadow on the subject.

  12. working distance and lens shadows.


    At closest focus, the working distance is about 2 inches if memory serves.

    I would have an issue with shadows unless I used a ring-flash or my handy-dandy pop-up diffuser. I attach the pop-up diffuser where the lens hood normally attaches to the front of the lens. It's RIGHT at the front, so the light is on top of the subject.

    The pop-up diffuser gives better light than my ringflash (better highlights and more natural looking shadows) and it cost $11 US, including shipping. About 1/40th the cost of my ringflash, and worlds better.

    Here's a picture:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  13. Wow, thanks evryone for the great advise. I'll go out now and try some of this!
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