We went to Artis, the Amsterdam zoo which has a wonderful butterfly garden. For me it was the second time I photographed butterflies in Artis, so this time I was a little bit better prepared. Unfortunately this time there were a lot of kids (school class) who were running around chasing the butterflies in stead of just looking at them. The one you see on the left is a glass butterfly with wonderful transparant wings like glass windows. I do not know the names of the other ones but that will be something to remember for the next visit. I selected just four photos, because those were the only ones that I think were worth publishing.

I have been cleaning up my archive and found some shots I made last summer. I made some close-ups in the garden while i was enjoying the nice weather. This was the first summer that we had wasps in our garden. Normally I am happy when this little bug(ger) stays away, but this time I was glad that I could make some shots. (it is a wonderful creature after all). All shots were taken with my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L USM Macro and my Canon 5D mark I We also went to the zoo (Artis in Amsterdam) where we visited the butterfly garden. This is paradise for the close-up fans. Sometimes the butterflies even land on your shoulder, which can be frustrating and wonderful at the same time. (You have a nice close-up view but it is impossible to take a nice shot) We went together with Nicki, my daughter, so it was not really possible to concentrate on the pictures, so this is definitely a place to go back to (when i am alone)

Change of the seasons, always a good moment to go outside with your camera. [Canon 5D Mark II – Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM – Canon Speedlite 580EX II with diffuser]

Flowers and Close-up. A nice and relaxing subject…. It is just a way to work and test my close-up objectives and try to improve my Macro skills a wee bit. During spring and summertime we have some nice flowers in the garden which are good subjects to play with. And over and over again i keep getting surprised by the beautiful images you get when you crawl into the heart of flowers. When I bought my first macro lens (Canon 100mm f/2.8) I started with photographing flowers, and now with the Canon MP-E 65mm in my possession it is even more intriguing to see the wonders of mother nature. In this article just a few examples. Most of the time I am looking for the tiny flowers opposite to the larges species. Just because it is more of a challenge for me to work with these. What I do know for sure is that there will follow more flower photographs in the future, due to the fact it is so much fun to do. Just click on the photo’s to see the larger versions.

I was lucky today. I stood on the balcony and saw a Small White butterfly. It was relaxing in the sun on the glass border of the balcony. I walked upstarts to get my camera with the MP-E 65mm Macro lens and Macro flash. It gave me about 15 minutes to work with it. Unfortunately it was very hard to use the flash on the glass background, and too dark to work with the MP-E 65mm without flash. So I had to improvise. I disconnected the flash from the lens and used it handheld, this gave me the opportunity to move the flash to the back and control the light that way. Personally I am very pleased with the result. Just click here to go to the gallery to see more. Later that day, still my gear on the kitchen table, I noticed a few bugs in the garden. All I want to say is I just love to photograph bugs in their natrual habitat, but that it is hell to do so especially with the Canon MP-E 65mm. For me it is like a bug-hunt and it give me extra credits if I succeed without any animal unfriendly tricks. After reading a very good tutorial (I won’t share the link here) about how to control bugs for macro shots I have to say that I agree in the comments that were placed on this tutorial. You just do not control bugs, if you don’t have to. And if you have enough experience and skill there is no need for this. The guy wrote about freezing insects, using vinegar, using sticky tape and more. I think that the pictures in this article prove that there is no need for bug control. And that it is more then possible to shoot […]

When we returned from our holiday our house was invaded by insects. (my mom likes to leave all the doors open). Even the toilet was occupied by a new little friend. A weevil decided to start living there. I managed to capture him and held him till the next day. We had some sunflowers on the kitchen table and I just bought an E-TTL sync cable of 2 meter to time to play. Took my gear – Canon 5D, 580EX II Flash, 100mm macro 1x, and the MP-E 65mm. I placed the weevil on the yellow petals of the sunflower and started to experiment with the position of the flash. My little friend didn’t took long to gain enough energy to become very active and after a while he started to look for a new house between the petals. So hard to light with the 580EX. But I still managed to get some good shots. I was just wondering why I always manage to get yellow backgrounds when I photograph weevils…..? Dunno, maybe I just like the color combination of weevil brown and yellow. This reminds me; make sure you never forget to pay enough attention to your background. It is very simple to use the color of nearby flowers or the blue of the sky. If it is not possible to use these you can always use colored paper or anything else with color. Personally I prefer a bright color instead of the black background you see most of the time in close-up photographs.

While I was packing for our trip to Cyprus I doubted if I should bring my 100mm 1x Macro lens. I’m glad I did, because in the area surrounding our apartment there were a lot of mantises. I never had seen one before in real life and at first I was real careful, not knowing if I would scare them or if they would scare me… As soon as I approached them, they would turn their head into my direction so I had to move slowly otherwise they would flee. I was amazed by their appearance and it was a joy to photograph them. Especially because it looked like they were looking you straight into your eyes. I only brought my Speedlight so no macro flash. So the lighting is not what I hoped for. The only option I had was to equip my omni bounce and hope that the light would spread enough. This was not always the case but luckily I also had some good results. Click here to see the rest of the gallery [Canon 5D, 100mm f/2.8, no flash]

This month the weather was good enough to enjoy shooting outside and this gave me the opportunity to get some macro work done. I managed to place a moth in my little terrarium so I had a few moments to get some shots. Later that weekend I managed to capture a big spider. Joan started to feed him little insects which the spider enjoyed a lot. Unfortunately the distance between the spider and its dinner was too large which made it impossible to shoot with my MP-E 65mm macro lens. The DOF was way beyond the lens’ limits. The MP-E 65mm keeps amazing me, but I also still love my 100mm f/2.8 macro is still a favorite. I Also added some shots made with this lens to the gallery. Insects gallery Flowers gallery [Canon 5D, MP-E 65mm and 100mm Macro, Macro flash]

This beautiful beetle landed in our bedroom, so he had to model for me. click here for the gallery [Canon 5d, MP-E 65mm, macro flash, 400 iso]

Last weekend here in Holland we had a careful start of the spring, so I decided to get some field work done (in the garden). Grabbed my Canon 5D body, macro ring flash, and my new MP-E 65mm lens. The hunt for insects has started. Again, I am telling you that it is not an easy job to work with the MP-E 65mm lens, but damn, I love it. Focusing is hell, DOF is less than nothing, and visibility is zero, when light gets blocked by lens and the flash mounted on front of lens. But hey you need a challenge. I managed to get a few good shots in the pocket of a rain worm, a woodlouse, and an unidentified insect that was caught in a spider web (spider also included). So I think I need to get myself an insect encyclopedia, due to the fact that there will be a lot of unidentified insects passing my lens.

Ever wondered how to make a macro photo? Ever wondered how they manage to take that beautiful photo of the scary insect? Ever wondered how to get close enough?   So did I, and therefore I started a quest to discover the wonders of close-up photography. And my journey is still going on. So for the time being you shouldn’t expect too much. But I just wanted to share the things that I have encountered. before you start trying to make macro or close-up photographs I think you should understand what the theory behind it is. The definition of close-up photography is that the image projected on the “film plane” (i.e film or a digital sensor) is close to the same size as the subject. In the last few years they have used the term ‘Macro’ for lenses that make it possible to show your subject in real size on the actual print, this only requires a magnification of 1:4. Most most lenses at the moment are able to get a magnification of 1:2. A real macro lens will get you a magnification of 1:1, which matches the definition of macro. When you have an all-round lens that has a macro setting you will be able to get close to your subject but the performance will be less. This means that the focus quality will be less then when you use a ‘real’ macro lens. Macro lenses come in different focal length. The longer the lens the further you can be from your subject while you still get the required magnification. So if you are only shooting stills you will more then happy with a short focal length. If you are trying to shoot a live object like insects it might be handy to use a longer focal length, so you can maintain more […]