Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

  1. #1
    Stagecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suva, Fiji
    Posts
    5,908
    Real Name
    Grahame

    Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    In my quest to capture images of smaller and smaller detail when using flash I have always battled with the problem of harsh lighting. My setup has been to generally use the Nikon macro lighting kit which consists of two (or more if you want) individually controlled SBR-200s mounted on a ring attached to the front of the lens.

    At the distances I am tending to work now from the subjects I have problems with the lights being at about a 30 degree angle to the subject, eg. almost side lighting.

    Tonight I realised that the setup allows the optional diffuser attachment to be reversed which then allows the unit to be adjusted and be angled to provide a forward facing (similar to a ring light) flash. With one set face on and the other angled at 30 degrees to the subject the results were surprising to me.

    The image was exposed just about spot on, no highlights, not too flat and detail retained. PPing consisted of minor levels, brightness and shadows adjustment with standard sharpening routine.

    D300, 105VR macro set at 1:1 ratio, two extension tubes. F22, 1/60th, IS0200 with flashes set for equal power in auto TTL mode. The crater in the flower is approx 3mm across.
    Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    Looking forward now to using this method for some critters but have to sort my 36mm extension tube first which failed tonight. Thinking about this you would never light a portrait from just side lighting would you

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    4,495
    Real Name
    wm c boyer

    Re: Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    Lighting is very subjective in that what works in one image may/may not look good in another image.
    Side lighting on critters, in situ, during the golden hours tends to look great.

    Regarding your flower, it could be vastly improved with judicious PP.

  3. #3
    DanK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    3,938
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    Grahame,

    Thanks. A useful post. Lighting for very close macro shots is not easy. I have always avoided ring flashes because of the flat lighting. Like a lot of folks, I use a DIY bracket that holds the head of a regular flash very close to the end of the lens, with a LOT of diffusing. Mine is similar to this, although mine has a much smaller diffuser and therefore has the head closer to the lens. Having the light come slightly from one side often gives a pleasing look, but the problem is that there is no quick way to switch the light to the other side if the context demands it. I'll post a few below that were done with this rig, with the flash on the left. I've been intrigued by the Canon version of what you use, which has two small heads attached to the end of the lens, but I haven't tried one yet.

    Re the extension tube: I don't know what you bought, but I have used a set of Kenkos for years, stacking them as well as using them individually, and I have never had any problems at all. They have become a bit pricey, but I think they are worth it.

    Dan

    Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt
    Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

  4. #4
    Stagecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suva, Fiji
    Posts
    5,908
    Real Name
    Grahame

    Re: Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    Hi Chauncey,

    Fully agree that lighting as in many other aspects of photography is going to be subjective but there are certain 'basics' that we have to get right to start with. My problems encountered with using flash had been very specific to getting in extremely close and having minimal distance between lens and subject, lighting being predominately from the side with little or no front.

    The example test image which is not intended to be a 'pleasing picture' I believe demonstrated that the setup gave a reasonable overall lighting without being harsh and detail has been retained. The advantage of this to me is that I have had no highlights or areas of major contrast or heavy shadow to deal with.

    So from here I now have the opportunity to vary the powers between front and side lighting to reduce flatness and also have an image that allows a greater degree of post processing because the initial image was better.

    I would be interested to hear your ideas of how the image could be vastly improved with further PP, although it's not one that I consider has any merit in composition or use.

  5. #5
    Stagecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Suva, Fiji
    Posts
    5,908
    Real Name
    Grahame

    Re: Macro Lighting Lesson Learnt

    Hi Dan,

    Nice shots. I looked at the rig in the link and have seen many great home made ones similar to that with some ingenious ideas of materials and they all work. I invested in the Nikon rig a few years ago but was starting to find limitations when getting in real close with the lens and if you have read a few of my threads recently I have mentioned getting to the power limit of it when pushing the aperture way up. With one used as front lighting the power problem was not evident from what I saw during my limited experiments last night.

    I'll take a picture of the rig and post it here next time I use it.

    As for the Kenko tubes I have suffered an intermittent contact over the years affecting the aperture readout when using these stacked which I had assumed was due to the slight play in the mountings. I got over this by only using them on a focus rail when stacked where I could support the barrel of the lens with a bit of rubber. The problem became more regular and I managed to determine it was the 36mm tube that was at fault although with a visual inspection all looked good but a continuity check has revealed one contact is open circuit.

    As the tube is now useless I intend to get the tools out and strip it

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •