Posts tagged “Macro Photography

The Common Kitchen Sponge (Two Photographs)

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I was pretty sure that the sponge would make for an interesting subject. I did not realize it would be so fluid. Only about one in three tries at this level of magnification work out. In some cases I have taken a hundred shots on an educated guess of the outcome with mixed results.


Photography is an Art Form (Two Photographs)

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I am a firm believer that photography is an art form and that you can be very creative in this medium. It’s one of the reasons I decided to try extreme macro, the abstracts and designs are endless. In this case an old tape measure.


Sunflower Visit

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You could never call this a photo of a sunflower, though that was what I was after. The Japanese beetle photobombed my composition.

 


Not a meteor

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Actually it’s the head of match. I’d have lit it but was worried about my gear, instead I went for dramatic lighting.


More Pop Art

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I am still working at perfecting my 5x life macro skills, and of course flat objects are easier than objects with depth that require focus stacking. These are from some tea packaging and a Kleenex box.


Cabbage White

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Every nature photography article I have ever read talks about the importance of eyes. When it comes to butterflies, frogs and other nature subjects, the eyes are amazing in color.


Not Graffiti (Two Photographs)

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The designs on most coloured cardboard packaging like Kleenex boxes are dot matrix, up close it’s just dots and ink bleeds. I thought it would make good modern abstract art.

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Bluenose (Two Photograhs)

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This is a detail from a Canadian dime, it shows a portion of the deck of the Bluenose Schooner at 5:1. The dime at 1:1 is below.


Old 43 and 45 (Two Photographs)

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Details of wartime Canadian nickels. Given shortages in some metals, coins were made of different mixtures of metals left over from the demands of the war effort.

 


Wood (Two Photographs)

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This is a continuation of my work at 5:1 (at that magnification light and sharpness are a challenge). The first photo is of a pencil shaving and the second is of a scratch in a wooden spatula.


Lessons Learned (Two Photographs)

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As I continue to try my hand at extreme macro I am learning quite a bit, for example: microns are also called UMs, and flowers out of water and hit by many flashes wilt very quickly. From these two lessons, come these rather abstract photos of fresh flowers. As the shots for stacking and combining were taken, the flowers entered a surreal and abstract zone that turned out quite well to my eye. But technically it was a disaster.


Statue by Silas Qayaqjuaq (Two Photographs)

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I have long admired Silas’s work and it’s as fine up close as sitting on the table in our living room. His sculptures are often small but very animated, really beautiful work. I used this piece to experiment with lighting and my bellows (totally manual). The full sculpture is below.


Needles and Chilis To Beat the Pandemic Boredom (Two Photographs)b

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My efforts at true macro continue, finding subjects to photograph can be challenging. I began by pinning the chili to cork so it was held in mid air. After several hours of fiddling with lights I got a shot of the chili, and then more time was spent in Photoshop erasing the pins and learning more about how to fix backgrounds. The needle also took the larger part of the day. I have great close up vision but had a hard time seeing the hole in the needle to centre it on the camera. Both of these photographs are efforts at learning what works and doesn’t in true macro. It’s early days.

 


Macro Gear

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My preferred gear, for many years, when shooting insects was my Nikon, a 105mm macro lens, an extension and a soft box on camera with flash. This worked well for insects in the wild. But I rarely if ever took photos at life size 1:1. During the pandemic I am avoiding the parks, too many people. From previous experiments I had an original Nikon bellows, and a really good 50mm Nikon enlarger lens (recommended by http://extreme-macro.co.uk/) but I had a hard time getting good results with that and a generic focusing rail. It was clear I needed to find another way. The photo here is of a small part of a candy wrapper . My new set up has the bellows automated on a macro rail (wemacro rail and stand). That and some specialized software looks much more promising.

 


Macro

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This seashell was taken with stacked shots at larger than life size. There are three types of macro: 1) pseudo macro, what most of us call macro but is really close-up photography. It seldom if ever gets to life size shots. 2) Macro, the real thing, This results in photos where small things are larger than life (e.g. over 1:1), and then there is extreme macro where images are 5 times life or more. This photo is are over 1:1, less than a centimetre of shell filling the frame (cropping does not change magnification). It’s a project to help avoid boredom during the pandemic. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I have had many failures and still working for the best results.

 


How much magnification? (Two Photographs)

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I am told that to get to 10x life size, a microscope and loan from the Government is required. 3-5x life size is a fairly good extreme to begin with. My bellows with a 50mm enlarger lens, and a 24mm extension tube can manage about 4:1. To get some context, here are details of Canadian and US dimes. Specifically the Queen’s profile and Roosevelt’s ear.

 


That Bee (Two Photographs)

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Another sweat bee, doing its thing and taking off. Because of their colour and antics they are the most popular type of bee in our local woods. They are best found in late summer when they are looking for their final meals of the season.


Love and Hate, Macro (Three Photographs)

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What I like about close-up photography is that I get to see things I otherwise would never see. On the other hand narrow depth of field, difficulties with light and capturing detail lead to some effort in achieving a good result.


Bee Fight (Two Photographs)

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I was very surprised to learn that bees fight. This bout took about 4 seconds, and in the last round the bee on the right chose to fly off, leaving leftie to carry on pillaging the flowers. Nature Photographers are always on the look out for the unusual. This time it just happened while I was trying to shoot a metallic bee.


Hairstreak Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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I have posted photos of the Hairstreak before, so this time I wanted to try a black and white treatment. Black and white brings out elements that colour hides and also brings out a bit of drama (almost always a good thing in photography).

 


Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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If you see one of these wonderful creatures, time is not on your side. You need a super fast shutter speed and great reflexes just to get a few good shots. The moths are almost always in flight and hovering means a bit of jitter. Nonetheless they are quite a catch as they are not common where I live.


A Bee on Echinacea (Two Photographs)

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The echinacea flower is a favourite of bees and makes for a classic bee shot. The trick is to take many photographs while moving closer and filling the frame. My preference is to have the bee less centred on the flower, but I get what I get.


A Hornet (Two Photographs)

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Hornets are not my favourite subjects and fortunately I don’t see many. This one took me by surprise. I saw an insect but it was not until I got close up that I realized what it was. Thankfully it was otherwise occupied and ignored me.


A Slight Obstruction (Two Photographs)

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Insects often try to hide behind things, as do rabbits etc. I was once asked what I do about that. I explained that sometimes it doesn’t matter, sometimes it tells a story and sometimes it’s annoying. Two out of three are not bad odds for a good shot.