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Thread: A Bug's Life

  1. #1
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    A Bug's Life

    Hi guys,

    Just working on a little project to keep things interested while I'm doing the weeding I'm searching for the bugs that hide out in my garden and taking macro shots with them. My macro lens isn't a proper one - it has a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:2.7 but I'd be interested to get anyone's feedback.

    The link to the album is: https://picasaweb.google.com/goldcoa...eat=directlink

    A Bug's Life

    Cheers,

    Malcolm

  2. #2

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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Dragonflies make great subjects and this one is a beauty as the wings are intact, no damage at all. The big challenge is always depth of field but on this occasion you have got the whole body and wings pretty much in focus which isn't easy. The problem is that while this is certainly one of the few angles where you can get the whole thing in focus it means you miss the lovely details of the eyes and the front legs. If you can manage a low front shot then you get all the eye detail which seems more intimate. But for me the biggest issue is the background is quite intrusive and somewhat overpowering, particularly as the large bright yellow area at the back right is not dissimilar in tone to the back of the dragonfly, so it competes for my attention. All are fairly easily dealt with in photoshop and I think its worth taking the time to do it as this could end up as quite a special shot. I know you are into your garden, as am I, but it might be worthwhile taking a drive down to the Botanic Gardens in Benowa. (Yes I live on the Gold Coast too) At this time of year, particularly mid morning, there are loads of dragonflies hanging around the lilypads at the far end of the lake. Have attached a shot of a dragonfly that tried to commit suicide in my pool not so long ago. I was a bit sad as I thought he was dead, so I fished him out and was surprised when he clung to my finger and absolutely was not going to let go. So I went inside grabbed my camera, changed the lens one handed and took this pic using the pool water as a background. Certainly the tail end is not in focus and my finger isn't the daintiest but I was pretty pleased for a one handed shot. And the good news is that after I insisted that he sit on a sheltered leaf (away from the prying eyes of the local butcher birds) he flew off about 20 minutes later.
    I look forward to seeing some more of your bug shots.

    Peter

    A Bug's Life

  3. #3
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Thanks for the feedback Peter. I would have liked to have gotten a front on shot but the bushes the dragonfly was sitting in were too deep for me to get close without disturbing it. And I agree with the issues of the background being too distracting. I took a number of shots and did what I could with my limited knowledge of Lightroom as I don't have photoshop but I might have another look at it when I have time.

    That's a great picture of the dragonfly on your finger incidentally. It almost looks like something you'd see in a CGI movie!

    The next shot is probably my very first macro shot so it lacks any sort of composition - took it about three weeks ago and it's amazing what you can learn in a short period of time! When I took it, I think I was just impressed at the level of detail that I could capture with my new camera and lens.

    A Bug's Life

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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Personally, Malcolm, I think the cricket is the better photo; although I would crop it tighter at the bottom. Maybe a 5 x 4 ratio would work better. The bottom of the flower isn't sharp and tends to distract from the main subject.

    Beware of taking macro wildlife photos, though. It starts innocently enough with just a couple of insects; then you want better equipment, and all those identification books!

  5. #5
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Beware of taking macro wildlife photos, though. It starts innocently enough with just a couple of insects; then you want better equipment, and all those identification books!
    Funny you should mention that. I was trying to explain to my wife the merits of having a dedicated macro lens

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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Funny you should mention that. I was trying to explain to my wife the merits of having a dedicated macro lens

    Well one way of justifying the expense is to start making proper records of the creatures which you find (correctly identified) then send them to your local wildlife recorder/natural history group.

    Now it isn't just a hobby, it is essential scientific recording.

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    Morning Shadow

    A Bug's Life

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    Re: A Bug's Life

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Well one way of justifying the expense is to start making proper records of the creatures which you find (correctly identified) then send them to your local wildlife recorder/natural history group.

    Now it isn't just a hobby, it is essential scientific recording.
    I'll have to see if there's one of those around!

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    Wrong Camouflage

    One of my first ones again.

    A Bug's Life

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    Re: Wrong Camouflage

    I really love macro photography, and your shots here are pretty great. That last one isn't quite as bright as the first couple, and it took me a couple of seconds to realize he was standing in some sort of flower or leaf [but that may be a personal problem ]

    How close do you have to get to the actual insects in order to get the pictures this tight? I don't have any kind of macro lens yet, but I can see it on the horizon...

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    Re: Wrong Camouflage

    How close do you have to get to the actual insects in order to get the pictures this tight?

    The main thing to consider with macro insect photos, Chris, is how close can you get without scaring them.

    For placid subjects, or dead ones, a 100 mm lens is sufficient; but for nervous species I would recommend going up to 150 mm. Assuming you would be able to get around 12 ins; but with some species you would be lucky to get that close. Obviously, larger targets can be shot with smaller lenses.

    I use a 180 mm lens and still often add a 1.4x converter.

  12. #12
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    Re: Wrong Camouflage

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisNikon View Post
    How close do you have to get to the actual insects in order to get the pictures this tight? I don't have any kind of macro lens yet, but I can see it on the horizon...
    I don't have a true macro lens I'm afraid - 1:2.7 reproduction as opposed to 1:1. I'm taking most of these shots at full zoom at 70mm zoom (105mm FX equivalent) Geoff is right with regards to scaring some of these guys off - I'm cropping most of my shots to get close and thankfully most of these images have been sharp enough for me to be able to do that. I'm still pretty close with most of my shots though - less than a foot, but I approach very carefully and have to do it in bright sunlight to get the speed and depth of field I need by hand.

    There are definitely subjects that get nervous and want to run away though. I'm trying to convince my wife that we need a 105mm macro lens which would give me a bit more distance I think. Once she has her Christmas present though - her own D5100 I'm sure she'll be swayed.

  13. #13
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    Hide and Seek

    So since we were discussing little critters that might run away, here's one that did actually try and hide. I got him in the end though

    A Bug's Life

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    Portrait of a Grass Hopper

    This fella was hiding as well so I had to pull the flower down to the camera to take the shot one handed. Probably a bit over exposed a little though...

    A Bug's Life

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    Re: Portrait of a Grass Hopper

    Probably a bit over exposed a little though...

    Well the background is possibly a little bright (I would probably use an adjustment layer here) but the grasshopper seems fine; and plenty of details on both shots.

    Incidentally, do you find they hide behind grass stalks but still peep around the stalk to look at you. And as you move around to the other side, so do they; so we keep going round in circles.

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    Re: Portrait of a Grass Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Probably a bit over exposed a little though...

    Well the background is possibly a little bright (I would probably use an adjustment layer here) but the grasshopper seems fine; and plenty of details on both shots.

    Incidentally, do you find they hide behind grass stalks but still peep around the stalk to look at you. And as you move around to the other side, so do they; so we keep going round in circles.
    Can you do layer adjustments in Lightroom? Still learning my way around it. My wife's just bought Photoshop Elements on her Mac so I might be able to do it there when it arrives (wacky thing where she has her own computer and I have to share with the three kids )

    And yes, at least with the bigger bugs. They do tend to run away and then circle back for a look to see what you're up to. The little ones I've found try to run away so I have to approach them very slowly!

  17. #17
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    Lady's Climb

    This one was pushing the limits of my lens I'm afraid - and the ladybird was moving around quite a bit as well.

    A Bug's Life

  18. #18
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    Re: Lady's Climb

    I don't have a macro lens (yet) but managed some cool cricket and dragon fly shots with a zoom lens... If I want to be able to capture the eyes bugs, ie; looking at me... Will a 50 mm macro lens suffice or does one need a 100 mm lens?

    A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life

  19. #19
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    Re: Lady's Climb

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina Stobbs View Post
    I don't have a macro lens (yet) but managed some cool cricket and dragon fly shots with a zoom lens... If I want to be able to capture the eyes bugs, ie; looking at me... Will a 50 mm macro lens suffice or does one need a 100 mm lens?
    Hi Christina,

    From my perspective the longer the lens the better.

    From my perspective I think if you're going to take macro photos of bugs longer a lens you have the better. When you're up close the bugs do tend to get quite shy - most of my shots were taken from a few inches away and I had to go chasing some of them to get the shot that I was after. I think if you were using a 50mm macro you would still have to get quite close to the bugs to get their eyes.

    Mind you, I don't have a proper macro lens so the other guys are probably better qualified to answer than i am

  20. #20
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    Re: Lady's Climb

    Thank you.. What lens did you use to take the hide and seek photo? Love his eye contact..

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