Posts tagged “Macro

Macro Talk (Two Photographs)

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The colour shot is part of a petal of a flower at about 4x life. The other, in black and white, is a rock (a black and white rock), again magnified by quite a bit through stacking tens of shots. The results are quite abstract and bring to mind a comment a friend of mine made when I first spoke of trying true macro. He pointed out that most macro shots need explanation, few subjects will be self evident to the average viewer. But in my view beauty is beauty, interesting is interesting, even if at first I have no idea what it is (by definition abstract).


Brass Measuring Weights (Three Photographs)

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These are 3.5x life, just to make them interesting. The third photo here shows their size against a quarter. American and Canadian quarters are the same size. There is no history to the one ounce weight (Z), (above) but the second one I can date to between 1858 and 1901, with a high probability of 1901. Unfortunately it was officially cancelled and the cancellation stamp makes it hard to place. The 1/4 ounce weight (third photo) has clear marks on it. What you are looking at is the VR and the crown, the piece dates from Queen Victoria’s reign and was stamped under the Weights and Measures Act of 1858 in London. I was not aware there were collectors of weights and a wealth of material on British weights on line. Its amazing where photography takes you.


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.

 


Fragility (Two Photographs)

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Insects are generally fragile creatures. Butterflies especially so. As they age their wings fray, they get attacked etc. They fly fast and high and yet they are vulnerable. Most photographs of butterflies are taken from a distance and their fragility is sometimes only clear up close. This mourning cloak is close to its prime with little damage to its wings.


Little Wood-Satyr (Two Photographs)

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A Satyr, or wood spirit, how appropriate a name for such an elusive creature. They fly in and out of bushes, tempting you by setting down on the edge in broad daylight only to fly off. At the best of times they are often under cover making the light problematic. Regardless they are a sight to see.


Natural Fairy (Two Photographs)

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Dragonflies and damselflies have long been among my favourite subjects. Finding them in a position where they remain still is hard enough, but getting them where their whole body is visible can be impossible sometimes. Here the wings are folded and cover part of the body. Dust and detritus become colourful specular highlights providing some surprises. The black and white highlights the patterns in the wings.


Cabbage White Butterfly (and some discoveries about Close-up photography)

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I wanted to create a dramatic photo of a static butterfly and as I was working on this photograph I decided to check the metadata. I had already scaled up the size and cropped the photo, so this is a small part of the frame; to give you an idea I have posted another photo of the same cabbage white without processing. 1/800 of a second at f8 on a Nikon D500 200-500mm at 500mm and ISO 1600.  In Lightroom I scaled the image and cropped it. In Photoshop, colour corrected the butterfly using hue/saturation. I then used Skylum’s Photolemeur, Intensity CK and Tonality CK to process it. Thanks to the Nikon sensor and Lightroom’s scaling, my closeup shot was almost true macro. My macro gear (105mm lens, soft box etc.) is not going to go to waste but using it I could get much closer now with better quality using the above techniques. I think more importantly if you can use your birding lens to do this then that is going to satisfy many photographers’ desires for macro insect shooting. The challenge is finding your subject with a 500mm lens.


Cabbage Whites and Photolemur (Three Photographs)

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These came out nicely though I did find Photolemur left a colour cast; fortunately one that was easily removed. It may be that the A.I. is developed more for landscapes and people. Nonetheless Photolemur leaves me more time to look at issues other than basic adjustments and for that I am still pleased.


Damselflies (Two Photographs)

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It is almost always more interesting when your subject is framed, a part of the scene or reflected in shadow. All of these help give a photo dimension. It’s one of those things you have to get right in camera.


Comma Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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These butterflies are said to be common, but any butterfly as far I am concerned is a rare and welcome sight. They blend in so well with fallen foliage that they can only be seen in flight or against a brighter background. I caught these commas resting in a cool breeze some months back.


Skipper Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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You can’t always be sure everything you want is in focus, even with a depth of field button on the camera. That said I liked the juxtaposition of these two skipper butterflies and the softness in my view is of less concern. In black and white I tried to do a version more dependant on contrast.


Damselfly Portrait (Two Photographs)

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Damselflies’ eyes are very hard to focus on, they are the circles with a line through them. The sparkles and other lights on the insect are fluorescing spots of dirt. While this can be fixed, it’s often a very difficult job to keep the texture and not create a portion of the face with a single colour with a lack of tonality. Sharpness is measured by whether you can see the beard. I shot this with a flash, the damselfly was backlit.


A Fly (Two Photographs)

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Flies are actually easy to shoot. Many of them stop to rest and clean their sensors on their front legs but mostly they seem to like a bit of rest. Often ugly, flies still make dramatic subjects. They are creatures I would rather see outside the house than in.


Colour and Shape (Two Photographs)

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I was aiming for some dragonfly photographs but the glorious colour and shapes were the standouts. Who am I to complain, things don’t always turn out as planned, they may turn out better. A bit noisy but fixing that would have softened the dragonfly which is in focus.


Cabbage White

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You know that feeling when you take a lot of photographs but one stands out. Among the cabbage whites I saw that day this female was exceptional and her photograph was the most impressive of the day. I especially liked the wild and crazy eye.


Jewelwing

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I had heard about jewelwings and had only seen them from a distance in flight. When someone pointed out this one just sitting there I did what I could to take the best shot before it flew off. Liquid eyes, bad light, no time to make any adjustment of the flash or camera but I was quite pleased with the results. My pre-shoot configuration of my macro gear worked out well! Unfortunately after three shots the insect had enough and flew back a few feet just out range of my micro lens and extension tube.


Mourning Cloak Butterflies (Three Photographs)

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I have written about these butterflies before. How they love these particular trees and its sap when it runs. I have also mentioned their checkerboard eyes. This time I was walking with my telephoto lens not a macro lens and I took my chances. In the editing I played with the light and color a bit. I think the results are a little more artistic than is usual for me.


Bees, while they last (Three Photographs)

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I have not noticed a significant fall in the bee population but will take the experts word that there is a problem. There was a slow start to the season due to the weather, but this family of bees seem to have survived well enough. Their unceasing efforts in seeking out new flowers is amazing.


Dragonfly (Three Photographs)

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This dragonfly unlike many of his contemporaries, chose to hang onto this stalk regardless of the hard breeze (and a mad photographer with a huge telephoto lens). The breeze was cooling and I kept my distance. So in the end everyone was a winner. After a few shots and when the breeze died down the dragonfly flew off.


Damselflies Mating (Two Photographs)

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Once a year I get damselflies in their signature heart-shaped matting pose. They can fly in this formation and remain as skittish as ever, I recommend the longest lens you have and crop significantly.


Damselfly (Two Photographs)

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This damselfly was very agitated and I took a few shots before realizing something was holding it hostage. Lovely shots so in return we freed it from whatever was holding it and watched it fly away.


Skipper Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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Always a great day when I see skippers. They are the most sedentary butterflies I know. Once they find a place to feast they are more likely than not to stay in one place. Moreover their size means you are not restricted to macro photography. Lovely little things flying about in the fields.


Damselfly (Three Photographs)

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Damselflies are very cautious because they are prey for a lot of other animals. However, they get their energy as much from the sun as from what they eat. Given that they tend to land in bushes, generally you won’t be shooting directly into the sun. Secondly, if you dont use image stacking and I don’t yet, you are unlikely to get everything in focus. But what I liked here were the backgrounds as much as the subject.


Hairstreak Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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Tiny butterflies are very flighty, but all butterflies tire out sooner or later. To get close a macro lens, tubes and a close crop are the only solution. You really need to work with the smaller butterflies to get sharp images, most of my shots were marginal with only a very few sharp enough to work with.