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Thread: First attempt at Macro

  1. #1

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    First attempt at Macro

    Still trying to come to terms with my first DSLR, and following Donald's advice to persevere with using manual, I thought I'd start with something small.
    And it really is quite small, the ant's body was only about 5mm long and the wire of the fencing just over 2mm thick.
    I don't have a tripod yet so they were hand held (finding focus was a nightmare) and the very slightly altered position of the last shot changed the exposure.
    I must say Donald, that using manual mode as much as possible is like a crash course on the basic principles, and I'm really enjoying it.

    First attempt at Macro

    First attempt at Macro

    First attempt at Macro

  2. #2

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Hi Pandrion,

    Nice attempt with the macro shots, shot #2 appears to be the clearest. What type of lens are you using?

    John

  3. #3

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Thanks John,

    Its a Tamron 90mm f2 macro, but I don't think my shaky hands are doing justice to the lens. As I get more used to handling the camera I'm sure the sharpness of the pics will improve.

    Mike.

  4. #4

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    I like #2, the position of both the ant and the metal....is that a chain link fence?

  5. #5

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    For a hand held shot, that is good. You will find a lot of difference with a tripod. I always found it was very difficult to achive manual focus while hand held.

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Hi Mike,

    A good first effort, looking at the EXIF, they were all shot at f/5.6 and iso1600, you will get better Depth of Field at a narrower aperture f11 or f16 at least. But that'll reduce the shutter speed below acceptable handholding, so try the on camera flash would be my advice.

    ~ and the very slightly altered position of the last shot changed the exposure.
    The EXIF shows they were shot at 1/200s, 1/160s and 1/250s (in order above), so I'm confused; if you shot manual, and the light did not change, why did you change the shutter speed?

    OK, I'll admit, I'm not really confused, I'm making a point (one that only recently dawned on me), for such small changes of angle of view, the exposure should have stayed the same, all other things being equal (i.e. no light change). There is only one correct exposure!

    What happened was that you changed the size and position of the subject relative to the background slightly and your meter told you to change the exposure, so you did, but why? The light falling on the ant and the wire is the same!

    To my mind, the whole point of shooting manual is to avoid these things happening, compared to using Av or Tv (or worse, auto/auto-iso).

    But don't feel bad, as I said above, it is something I have only recently grasped myself (and I have had a DSLR for over 2 years), I used to shoot using Av (aperture priority) all the time, but now I do sometimes switch to manual once I have established what the correct exposure is for a set scene (assuming no light changes) and guess what? - I get more consistent results. I can almost here some of my contemporary members here groaning with despair it has taken this long for the penny to drop

    In summary, try again using on camera flash (assuming that's all you have at the moment), a narrower aperture, a lower iso, shutter speed will need to be around 1/125 - 1/200 for the flash anyway. Or use a tripod (better for focusing as Geoff says) and possibly no flash, but at the slower shutter speeds necessary, you may still have a problem with subject movement.

    Good luck, oh, and welcome to the CiC forums from ...

  7. #7
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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Mike,

    If I can add some thoughts from a fellow beginner - not saying this is right, it just works for me (sometimes)....

    When looking at things like this, I usually start in aperture mode with a value around 9ish. I then adjust my ISO so that my shutter speed is greater than my focal length. My Macro lens is 100mm so I aim at around 150 - 250ths of a second. This usually gets around the problem that I am usually handholding.

    The trick now is to make sure that the subject is in focus. With the lens in manual mode, I set the focus to whatever I want - for my macro shots I'm usually trying to get 1:1. I then move the camera manually until the subject is in focus and fire off a bunch of frames, sometimes moving in and out a fraction. Even with natural variation, with an aperture around 9 I usually find at least a few good images of my subject.

    I don't own a good flash so I usually need to make do with what I have. This probably isn't a substitute for a good tripod etc, but it does get me through times when I don't have mine available / it is really windy etc.

    Hope it helps.


    Peter.

  8. #8

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Thanks Henry,

    The wire is thinner and more open than chain link. Its the token fencing that they use here behind electric wires to keep sheep in, its very insubstantial, the photos are deceptive.

  9. #9

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    I know you're right Geoff, after this attempt, a tripod is top of my 'must have' list.

  10. #10

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you very much for the detailed advice. I have to admit that I'm still struggling to understand basic principles of both camera and shooting techniques so its going to take me a while to digest your generous helping of info overload.

    Things are slowly beginning to make some sense, mostly by making mistakes and understanding what went wrong.

    With the help that people are giving here and the inspiration from the brilliant photographs of the fellow members, I hope to be posting better pics in the days and weeks to come.

    Thanks again

  11. #11

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for that concise bit of tuition, a very clear explanation of how you approach this sort of shot, its taught me a lot already.
    One example is that it didn't occur to me to shoot a burst of shots but now it makes perfect sense.

    I'll have another try at some macro next week-end and see if I can put some of your good advice into practice.

    Much appreciated,

    Mike.

  12. #12
    Ricco's Avatar
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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    No problem Mike - I am also a beginner and frequent this site quite a lot for the same sort of advice.

    I've often found there is a bit of a gap between the tutorials and practice that as a beginner I need to make a few jumps in interpretation and have got a lot of help from people on this site in those areas. In this example the links between aperture / iso / shutter speed and the ability to handhold are a tough one to grasp (and frankly one that I often struggle to remember until after I download photos from the camera and say "bugger!").

    Glad to be a bit of help!

  13. #13

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    If you are going to try flash, Mike, I usually find that working with manual settings is best. Set a suitable shutter speed and aperture, say 1/200 and F11 to F14, and an ISO between 100 and 400 then use a bit of flash compensation and experiment until you get good results.

    And sometimes, when using the pop up flash with a really close shot your lens hood will cause a shadow; so I just remove it for that shot.

    It will take a bit of experimation initially but you will soon find out what works best.

  14. #14

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Hi Mike,

    you have started with one of most difficult macro motive to begin with: ants (second worse are snails, no joke ). You already got a lot of valuable tips. Tripod - is highly valuable tool. However, if you prefer hand held the ISO speed is most important for setting a feasible shutter speed at a preselected aperture. For hand held I normally select the desired magnification and the proper focus is set by moving the cam for and backwards.

    Cheers,

    Marcus

  15. #15

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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Thanks Geoff and Marcus for some straightforward and practical tips.
    I shall be trying them out this week-end (weather permitting !) when I have a second attempt at capturing the world of little critters. Perhaps as they're not as difficult, I should look for a snail this time

    Cheers,

    Mike.

  16. #16
    New Member pashminu's Avatar
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    Re: First attempt at Macro

    Good photographs. I am planning for the same Tamron 90mm for jewellery photography.

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