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Thread: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

  1. #1
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Every now and then, I happen on a bug that'll sit still a little more than others, and I'll try to get a little artistic with my bug macros.

    This little guy was one such bug - I haven't been able to identify it yet - and was sitting on a peony bud in my wife's garden. One approach I had was to use the plant as a shield to hide behind, but also to use as a frame to surround the fly.

    I know the fly isn't the most appealing subject for most people, but I'm hoping that by making the entire shot more appealing, the bug macros might be more appealing (maybe just a little?).

    C&C is greatly appreciated.

    Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Thanks for viewing.

    - Bill

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Bill, it looks more appealing to me if I rotate it CCW to make it landscape mode.

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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    I'm just trying to straighten my neck after attempting to view this image at 90 degrees rotation, as Willie suggested.

    Yes it does look better. But I often do whatever angle of rotation looks best, not just the 'whole numbers'.

    Don't worry about shooting common flies. When you are learning macro photography anything which is prepared to sit still is a valid target! And what you learn will set you up for those rare flies; when you only have a second to get everything correct.

    My other comments are, try to get square with the subject; make sure you are focusing on the subject (and showing sharp eyes) auto focus often focuses on the foreground/background instead.

    Most macro images will require a little selective sharpening and brightness adjustment.

    Above all else, expect a lot of rejects; but keep on shooting.

  4. #4
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Bill, it looks more appealing to me if I rotate it CCW to make it landscape mode.
    Willie - Thanks for the suggestion. And thanks for looking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I'm just trying to straighten my neck after attempting to view this image at 90 degrees rotation, as Willie suggested.

    Yes it does look better. But I often do whatever angle of rotation looks best, not just the 'whole numbers'.

    Don't worry about shooting common flies. When you are learning macro photography anything which is prepared to sit still is a valid target! And what you learn will set you up for those rare flies; when you only have a second to get everything correct.

    My other comments are, try to get square with the subject; make sure you are focusing on the subject (and showing sharp eyes) auto focus often focuses on the foreground/background instead.

    Most macro images will require a little selective sharpening and brightness adjustment.

    Above all else, expect a lot of rejects; but keep on shooting.
    Geoff,

    First - if you didn't do a whole number rotation, you'd lose a lot in the crop, no? This is an uncropped shot (as are the next two) - am I getting better with getting in closer to stuff?

    As for getting square and getting sharp focused eyes - that is actually my focus technique that's the problem there. I've been trying to use the manual focus, set to minimum focusing distance, and slowly move in till you hit the right focus technique. I think I'm getting better, but it is pretty difficult with such a small margin for error.

    I have a couple that I took on the same day that I actually managed to get the focus just right so you can see the facets in the eyes, which I was quite proud of accomplishing.

    Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    You can't really see it in the resized version, but if you hit my blog, I share another shot, and links to the full-size versions where you can see the focus better (links are at the end of the technical data for each shot).

    I do need to figure out the selective sharpening as these shots are basically SOOC. The only thing I do with them is RAW conversion and I apply the lens correction profile which I think does a very small amount of sharpening... so I wonder what these might look like if I figure out how to properly process them.

    Thanks for the tips.

    - Bill

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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    This guy actually posed for the shot.

    Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

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    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Bob - Is that a 100% crop of the image?

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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    No sir, using a 100mm Macro L I really love this lens. It is cropped but not 100%

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    Re: Artistic Bug Macro: Fly on Peony?

    Bill. I see from your shooting details on the link that you are working about right.

    I don't think there is any magical answer to manually focusing except practice. And even then you will get some 'fly aways' just as you press the shutter. But you even have the hair on the scuttellum quite clear so that is a good photo.

    Using a ball head tripod with that quick release handle has certainly speeded up my focusing time. Not making any sudden movements and wearing a dark long sleeved shirt also helps to prevent 'subject scare'.

    One quick tip that I sometimes use for selective sharpening is to draw a freehand selection around the required area; you don't have to be exact as long as you are just outside of the space. Feather the selection (somewhere between 5 to 10 pixels) and sharpen with Unsharp Mask in the normal way.

    The sharpening will only effect the selected area and the feather should prevent any sharp edges appearing. But these can be cleaned up with the Blur tool

    Not the correct method but it usually works reasonably well. Best applied with a drawing tablet but careful mouse control can also work.

    I'm not sure of the identification of that fly but it looks like a member of the Syrphini tribe and quite like one of the Xanthogramma species. But I am comparing it to UK flies.

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