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Thread: Shooting Snails

  1. #1
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Shooting Snails

    This is my first go at photographing a snail.I would like advice on how to improve this image.Is it acceptable to only show a bit of its shell?I shot it this way so I could see its head as well as the shell.The main problem was its head disappearing as it moved across the leaf.Are there any special techniques involved when photographing snails?

    Thanks
    John

    Shooting Snails

  2. #2
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    There's so much violence in the world. Why would you want to shoot a defenseless snail?

    You can show as much or as little as you want. I like the framing on this one as the viewer can fill in the blanks. However,you are probably a bit too close, unless this is the effect (slightly blurred image) you wanted. There is a degree of sharpness in the image. What settings did you use? The closer you are to the subject the shallower the depth of field.

  3. #3
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    I always find butterflies and anything with antennae really awkward in close up. Best to 'focus stack' such subjects.

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    For me, there are a couple of options here. Show the whole shell and concentrate your focus on that or focus on the head, from a suitable angle, and don't worry too much about the shell.

    In this case, a shallow focus depth has resulted in an out of focus head area.

    I can't see your shooting settings but available focus depth can be quite shallow, as previously mentioned. Hence the need to prioritise on specific areas.

    A narrow aperture, like F14 or F16 will help; but can cause other problems with shutter speed and/or high Iso settings. Unless flash is used.

    A merge of more than one focus point can also prove useful. But this needs stable shooting conditions without any wind rock problems and suitable editing software.

    Exposure is another potential minefield. Recently I was photographing a pale golden snail and the only way to prevent serious hot spots was to spot meter for the bright areas then recover what I could from the shadows during editing.

    There was too much wind movement for multiple exposure shooting.

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    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Thanks Shadowman I think you are right maybe I was too close.I was using my new Kenco extension tubes with a 18-55mm lens.I kept touching its shell.I also realize now 3 rings were to many.I will experiment using a combination of the 36,20 and 12mm rings.The settings used 1/80 F5.6 ISO 320.
    John

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Were you using a tripod?

    I use one for all shots like this. 1/80 is getting close to the borderline for handholding with all those tubes. And F5.6 is definitely on the shallow focus side.

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Well John, you have accomplished at least one thing: you have motivated me to go looking for these buggers. In terms of your picture, I would have either put the center of the shell in focus or the head of this guy in focus or the entire snail in focus. I think you can also frame this shot a lot better. I would encourage you to go out and try this shot again.

    karm

  8. #8
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Thanks again for all your advice and suggestions which I will put to good use for the future.

    Karm photographing them is better than eating them.

    John

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Here are some more snail photos I have taken following some of your advice.
    John

    Shooting Snails

    Shooting Snails

    Shooting Snails

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Hi John,

    They are getting better !

    If it were me shooting these I would go for getting both or at least one eye at the end of the eye-stalk/tentacle in focus and anything in focus behind that will be a bonus. It may mean that you need to move position to get both eyes at the same plane as the camera or you wait for the snail and eyes to move into the right plane.

    If taking a side shot you should be able to position things so that the side of the shell nearest the camera and an eye tentacle are on the same plane to the camera.

    Grahame

  11. #11
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Thanks Grahame for that advice.Better selection in composition of photo required.
    John

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    Re: Shooting Snails

    I was using my new Kenco extension tubes with a 18-55mm lens.
    The extension tubes are a good idea, use them myself, but...do you have a longer lens?
    Additionally, the photo-stacking that was mentioned requires software...what do you use in PP?

  13. #13
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    I'd shell out on a decent macro lens

  14. #14
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Quote Originally Posted by jdathebowler View Post
    Thanks Grahame for that advice.Better selection in composition of photo required.
    John
    Hi John,

    I'm not so sure it's particularly about composition but having it in your mind to maximise and use the limited DOF you are going to have whilst following the golden rule of getting the eyes sharp. Not an easy thing to do with these mini critters that have eyes on stalks

    I just wish I could find some in the garden to have a go with.

    Grahame

  15. #15
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Hi Grahame,
    I have had a look at some other snail photos and now understand what you are saying about the sharpness of the eyes.By the way you can have some of mine,after the rain Monday there must have been about a 100 snails and slugs. I do not like to kill them even if they are a pest.
    John

  16. #16
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Hi Chauncey.
    I use Gimp for PP.The only other lens I have is a ef Canon 70-200mm f/4 USM.I have never tried photo stacking.I did download CombineZP software when I bought the extension tubes.I had a look at the software but again never used it. May be the time is coming when I need to have a go at photo stacking.
    John

  17. #17
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Here is my latest attempt at shooting snails.I have tried to focus on the tentacles(eyes).I do seem to see an improvement.
    John




    Shooting Snails

  18. #18
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Looks like an excellent subject to develop some skill getting interesting captures John. The skin texture in particular is fascinating.

  19. #19
    Stagecoach's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Getting better John. This is a good subject for practising with and you now have a couple of other options to consider if you are after getting those four tentacle ends in focus that may be available;

    a) Consider using a smaller aperture by pushing ISO up or speed down to increase DoF, depending upon light of course. Whilst the affects of diffraction will have a certain impact on the results generally the increased DoF far outweighs this.

    or

    b) Moving further away (snail smaller in the frame) which will give greater DoF and then cropping in post. Image quality will be the determining factor here.

    Grahame

  20. #20
    jdathebowler's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting Snails

    Thanks for your replies.I will try your suggestions and hopefully will continue to improve my photographic skills.This is such a wonderful forum to be able take advantage of other photographers experience and knowledge.

    John

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