Monday, April 23, 2007

Spider Macro - Strobist Lights

Spider, originally uploaded by Kev.yong.

I haven't got out my macro kit for a while now. I had a bit of time yesterday and this tiny spider appeared on a bougainvillea cutting I was preparing for propogation.

Being a regular visitor of the Strobist site, I have realised the impact a photographer can achieve using simple off camera lights. Lighting adds drama and depth to a photo. I wanted to test out these principals in a macro situation.

The spider was a willing model and presented a perfect opportunity. Normally bugs and spiders move too quickly to set up lights around them. It's difficult enough to get the critters in focus, so lighting adds another element of challenge.

Most macro shooters have their flash on a bracket or on camera so they can chase the bugs around, holding the camera in two hands (necessary for stability at these magnifications). Macro lighting can become a bit boring this way and start to all look the same.

I'm pretty pleased with this result. I'm planning of making some mini studio setups to create "portrait" style bug macros. Will be a challenge I'm sure.

Here is the setup pic.
Spider setup photo.
Pretty quick and nasty. Had to work fast because I was worried the spider would run away.

I used the ST-E2 to trigger the 430EX (camera left on little stand) which was set at 1/16 power and zoomed to 70mm. The Nikon SB26 has an optical slave so this was triggered when the 430EX went off. I just rested it on my camera bag where it provided a subtle backlight to highlight the legs and spines. Set it to 1/16 power at 24mm. Exposure f/11 1/125s.

I was using an MPE-65 macro lens on my Canon 5D. The image is full frame at 5X magnification. Not cropped.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Dragonfly, originally uploaded by Kev.yong.

Another one from the Archives. I'm still wading through my library, sorting, and keywording in Lightroom. This is an old favourite. Reworked using the Angela Drury LR preset describe in the previoius post.

More macro shots Here

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Masonic Hall

Masonic Hall, originally uploaded by Kev.yong.

Taken in Cue, Western Australia. Remote town in the Goldfields.

I was trying out a new Lightroom preset (by Angela Drury) I read about here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Depth of Field article - Ron Bigelow

Ron Bigelow has a series of excellent technical articles on photography. A recent one which has been educational to me is his article titled Depth of Field -- Part I.

In the article he gives a good explanation of how DOF works and what factors contribute.

A couple of interesting things for me were:

1. DOF is not absolute for a given apperture, focal length and subject distance. There is only one plane of focus and the extent of areas in front of and behind that plane that are in apparent sharp focus, depends on the size of the print or image display and also the viewing distance.

Small prints will have larger DOF as will downsized jpgs. That is why web sized images at f/1.4 still have sufficient DOF ( a good example is using a 35mm wide open for low light candids at family gatherings destined for email.) When viewing the image at 100% or on large prints, the out of focus areas are more easily apparent.

2. For the same field of view and same apperture, a crop camera will have a larger DOF than a full frame camera. (e.g. 30D with 50mm lens vs 5D with 80mm lens.)

So in choosing you apperture, sometimes it's useful to consider the final destination of the image. If there is a chance you will want to enlarge it, consider stopping down a couple of stops...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quick links - Inspiration

These guys are just awesome. Mainly portrait stuff. Genius.

George Lange Video - Must see. Truly creative.
Gregory Heisler - Genius with lighting and portraits.
Dan Winters - more great portraiture. Some very original ideas here.
Greg Gorman - Celeb BW.

Added to Inspiration blog page.

Sleepy Bay

Sleepy Bay

Here's a landscape from my 2006 Tassie trip . Sleepy Bay in Freycinet National Park. One of the most beautiful places in the world. I reworked this image in Lightroom. I much prefer the RAW conversion over what I got out of RSP.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

...from the Archives

I'm currently taking a bit of a break from shooting. Just needed some time to refresh and relax to get the creative juices flowing again.

I've been spending a fair bit of time learning Lightroom and going through my Library, keywording and adding metadata to my old library. It's been great to revisit old images. Here are a few macros from my first weeks of digital shooting (Canon 10D). click image for larger view.

Floral Fireworks Bee
Cicada Vegetable Fractals