Tag Archives: macro

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.

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]

Today we had a beautiful sunny day, so time to go outside and try my new MPE 65mm. And it was hard work. First I thought that all the reviews on the internet were a bit exaggerated, when the spoke of a difficult lens, but it was all true. And I loved it. I can’t say that I have a great result from the beginning, but hey it’s a start. And it looks very promising. I can’t wait to start this journey. I tried some insects but I’m not experienced enough with this lens at the moment to get the results I’m aiming for. So I tried this little screw which is only 10mm long, and I was surprised by the result. This is only a 1x magnification. I also tried the larger magnifications but they were out of focus. Next was this violet. The photo shown here is a stack of 7 photos. (DOF Stack, I will explain more about that in a later article.) I stacked the image with a program CombineZP. In short; what such a program does is combine several images with a different focus point so that the final image has a wider DOF. With this lens set on 5x magnification you only have a DOF of 0.048mm at f/2.8 and 0.269mm at f/16. So that is not a lot. So you take several shots in which the focus point shifts by 0.25mm (if lens is set at 5x f/16) and CombineZP merges these images into one. The last pictures show a Woodlouse. The picture on the left is a handmade stack (I used Adobe Photoshop) out of the two photos on the right. When I shot these I did not had the intension to make stack, so I had to pull some tricks out […]

Just came back from the shop and bought a MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens from Canon. The ultimate macro or close up lens that is able to magnify from 1x (real life size) to 5x. Features Focal length and maximum aperture: 65 mm f2.8 Lens construction: 10 elements in 8 groups Diagonal angle of view: 18°14” Focus adjustment: Manual Closest focusing distance: 0.243m 5X Filter size: 58mm What Canon says about the MP-E 65mm: A unique manual-focus lens designed exclusively for macro shooting This is the first macro photo lens designed to achieve a high magnification greater than 1x without additional accessories. It is ideal for small subjects. The newly designed optical formula and UD-glass elements suppress chromatic aberrations which become apparent at high magnifications. For flash photography, Macro Ring Lite ML-3 can be attached to the lens.   First try outs were difficult, but I was warned that this would not be an easy lens. So I need a lot of time to practise and do test shoots. As soon as I have some results I will share them here   On the left you see a picture of the lens in 1x and 5x magnification setting. In both extremes the lens acts completely different. So a new big adventure lies ahead.

Way too many ideas and no time, there are so many cool projects that I want to start, but it looks impossible to find the time to actually get started. HDR combined with stacking photographs Alright, I still need the perfect HDR shot but I also want to combine this with stacking. Basically what it comes down to is that you shoot on a busy location for an HDR photo and with stacking you eliminate all moving object. Scale model photography Use H0 scale models (used for the model trains sceneries) to created your own set-up and situation. Too many ideas in my head, but the main idea is that it needs to be humorous situations. Or situations that are impossible in a real world. Fake scale model photography Okay this is the opposite of the above. And actually this is pretty cool. You take a real life photo and make it look like if you shot a photo of scale models. So you let a real photo look like a fake situation. This all is done via several manipulations with Photoshop or a similar tool. Planet shaped 360 degree photography. When you shoot a panorama photo that covers 360 degrees horizontal and 180 degrees vertical you will be able manipulate this in Photoshop and give a planet shape. (Google on: ‘360 degrees photography planet’, and you will find several examples) Macro photography (Insects) This is pretty straight forward, close-up photography of insects. I am still chasing that perfect macro shot. Funny thing is that I have this idea in my head of shooting ants. But the shitty thing is that we do not have ants in our garden. And I refuse to use and methods that hurt or harm animals (like putting them in the fridge or freezer) So […]

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 […]

After purchasing the macro lens I felt the need for a new light source. So I went to my photo shop and got some advice. I had my mind set on the Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX, Canon’s macro flash. But €500,- was a bit too much. I got the advice to go for the Sigma Flash, which only costs €330,-. Luckily this was a good advice. I am very happy with my purchase. Already started shooting the first test shots and I like the option to add shadow to my composition very much. Especially on such a short distance.  But more on this in a later article. Please look below for the specs: -Ideal for Close-up photography, especially medical and scientific applications. -Fully dedicated with the latest TTL auto exposure systems. -Dual flash tubes can be switched on or off for creative flash control -Wireless TTL Flash Control -High Speed Synchro Flash -Guide Number of 14/m, 46/ft (ISO100) Multifunctional Macro Flash designed to work with Digital & 35mm Film SLR cameras (2004.9.10) Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new ELECTRONIC FLASH MACRO EM-140 DG. ELECTRONIC FLASH MACRO EM-140 DG is designed to work with both AF 35mm film and Digital SLR cameras of all-popular manufactures. The EM-140 DG Macro Flash is ideal for photographing subjects in fine detail when the shadowless mode is used, and is extremely effective for scientific and medical applications. Dual flash tubes can fire simultaneously or separately. Using only one flashtube creates modeling, which can give a three-dimensional feeling to the subject. The flash features a guide number of 14 w/ISO 100. The Modeling Flash function makes it possible to check for reflections and shadows before actually taking the flash picture. A wireless flash function is also available, where the EM-140 DG is used as […]

Finally I had the guts to by a close-up lens. Which will give me the opportunity to explore the wonders of macro. But more about this in the future. Below you will find the specs for this new lens. I can’t wait to start playing with it.