Friday, July 28, 2006

BIG ant

<br />

Found this guy in the bathroom. Taken with the setup described below. No tubes used.

Having to stop down to f16 and then focus was really difficult. I need to find a way to light up my subject when using this technique.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Extreme Macro setup notes

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro is out of my price range at the moment so I am using various alternative techniques to gain closer than 1:1 magnification.

Reversed FD Vivitar 28/2.8.
The lens is reverse mounted directly onto my 5D camera body.
Magnification 2.5:1. Working distance 5cm.
With extension tubes between lens and camera. Mag 4:1. Working distance 4cm.

Sample with reversed 28:

Reversing adapter: Cheap on ebay HERE

With this sort of magnification and working distance it is very difficult to shoot without flash. The flash needs to be quite close to the subject to prevent shadowing caused by the lens getting in the way. I get within range with the lens wide open then try to adjust fine focus with the lens stopped down to f8-16 to increase DOF. It is very difficult to get the focal plane right when shooting handheld especially since the view gets extremely dark with the lens stopped down. For static subjects it is better to focus first, then stop down for DOF.

Metering is manual, the in camera meter still works.

Pics of the setup below.

Grain of rice taken with reversed lens on 68mm extension.

Reversing a lens on another:
I also use a reverse coupling ring to reverse my FD 50/1.4 onto my 85/1.8 with extension rings. (The combo vignettes without extension). This gives a similar magnification of 2.5:1 but only 2cm working space. Although the workin space is less, the 50 does not need to be stopped down and thus focusing MUCH easier. With this technique, the front lens acts as a closeup filter - that is why you don't need to stop down the front lens. Magnification depends on the combination of lenses used.

ebay reverse coupler ring

Using my Simga 150 macro with 68mm extension and 1.4x teleconversion gives mag 2.5:1. Working distance 18cm. Very difficult to find the subject in viewfinder!.. but may be useful if I need increased working distance.

Click below for a shot taken with the Bugzooka.

Update: Have decided to pick up an MPE65. Should be arriving tomorrow!
First pics
Bugzooka is sold.

Update Nov 2 2007:

Have had my MPE65 for a while now. Stoked I bought it. The methods described above do work, but they are very cumbersome and the loss of light makes it very difficult to focus accurately. The MPE is a much better solution.

061221_125_crop Spider

More shooting notes from my blog...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Applecross Pano

<br />

5D with Hartblei 45mm Super Rotator. 2 image stitch. Click image to view larger version.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Ladder of Understanding

This is a brief piece by Michael Ray which I found quite interesting. It's titled The Ladder of Understanding and describes an interesting observation where it is often easy to understand why someone's work is not as good as your own, but very difficult to pinpoint why someone elses work is better than yours.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Greg Gorman - B&W conversion

Greg Gorman is one of my favourite photographers. His black and white celebrity portraits are just amazing. You must check out his site here.

He has put together a quick pdf tutorial on how he converts his images to black and white. Another really useful photoshop action. I'll probably continue to process to monochrome from RAW shooter though. Good to have a couple of options though.

Digital Dodge and Burn

A useful tutorial here on non destructive dodging and burning with a clever use of layers. It's under the dodge and burn section, titled "Paint with Light". I have tried this on various monochrome images and it works well. I've added it to my list of photoshop tools.

Demb Flash Diffuser Pro

Here is a new flash reflector/diffuser which I have just purchased. Looks perfect for casual portraits and even for macro fill flash. I'll update this post once I've had a chance to use it. Click here for a link to the website.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Local Contrast Enhancement

This is a photoshop trick which I use very often to give more 'pop' to my photos. Works extremely well for all types of images.

It is very simple to perform and I have set an action on PS so it just means one keystroke to apply the effect. See an article on the technique at this link.

Unsharp mask - 20/50/0.
Consider masking the highlights first to avoid blowing them out. Ctrl-alt-~, then invert selection with slight feather. (Thanks akclimber (Joe) from FM for this additional tip).

Another tip from Joe which I am yet to try:
"Try copying your background layer and setting the blend mode to softlight or hardlight or even overlay and adjusting the opacity down a bunch"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Technique notes