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.