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Thread: micro machines

  1. #1

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    micro machines

    some pictures i made, im not that good and have to learn a lot
    but i like thees little creatures, cant wait to shoot some fresh ones this year
    all c&c are welcome as always

    micro machines

    micro machines

    micro machines

    if they are to big or not good enough feel free to take them down or link them

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: micro machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandenberg View Post
    some pictures i made, im not that good and have to learn a lot
    but i like thees little creatures, cant wait to shoot some fresh ones this year
    all c&c are welcome as always

    if they are to big or not good enough feel free to take them down or link them
    Hi Vandenberg,

    I beg to differ; they are quite good
    Better than I have managed so far and I have been trying.

    First let me say I'm not a fan of all the logos and words.
    #1 has a tiny blob of yellow in bottom left corner that could be cloned out
    #1 also has a slightly 'unnatural' look to it when studied closely (at least, it does to me). Is it really just a straight-forward (single) macro shot, or have you 'compiled' it with focus stacking software from several shots, or even added extra flower to complete the image?

    #2 has a lot of deadspace on the left, compositionally this would 'work' better if the PVDB logo where on the left, to complement the spider's position in the right of frame, not fight for the same space. Other than that, as a capture, it is excellent. The lead-in line of the pot it is stood upon is very good.

    #3 is almost as good, but I found the line of sharp focus across the image can take the eye out of frame to the right.

    I think the size was perfect (at about 1000px) and of course they are good enough.

    Hope that was helpful,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 1st April 2010 at 07:32 PM. Reason: spell your name right :o

  3. #3
    bleys's Avatar
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    Re: micro machines

    I like these too. Good colour, sharpness, composition. I think I like the spider shots more, though. Good use of DOF in my eyes. DOF coupled with contrast between spider and fore/background really makes 'em pop. And they really are fascinating little "micro machines", as you say.

  4. #4

    Re: micro machines

    I too like these, especially the spiders. What aperture did you use? and what lens? My Sigma 105mm macro goes down to f/32 I think. Could you have got slightly more DOF? Nice shots.

  5. #5

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    Re: micro machines

    I use tis lens (sigma 180), not always use the 2x converter
    and not always handy to shoot by hand, but its nice to keep some distance between the object and your self
    use to have a 70mm sigma, but if i come to close they notice u and fly away

    the jumping-spiders i did whit my 70mm sigma, they where sitting in front of my door on a Eco bin, by keeping it in place whit my finger and shoot it on f8
    sorry for my bad English, im not so good at it

    @Dave:
    i see the spot, will do something about it, i did not put some extra flowers in the frame and its a 1 shot only photo (can show u the raw if u like)
    use cs4 to boost it a bit, its a 8 layer photo, so i think thats why the bg is a little off
    logo's are for fun, kinda like them and looks nice on my website


    micro machines
    Last edited by Vandenberg; 1st April 2010 at 08:12 AM.

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: micro machines

    Hi Vandenberg,

    Thanks for the shot of your set up, I bet the right angle finder is a 'god-send'; saves getting down on your stomach

    Tell me, is something in that intricate looking head arrangement like a focus rail, allowing fine fore and aft camera movement?

    Your English is waaaay better than my Dutch, and perfectly understandable

    Cheers,

  7. #7

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    Re: micro machines

    its not my camera on this picture, but i have the same set up and angle finder as well
    indeed i like the angle finder and the 2x and 3x magnification is great as well from the angle finder
    i have also a manfrotto tripod, but not the same as on the picture
    but i also think a slider would be fine for macro, the sigma has a large firm grip for manual focusing so dont need it atm

    but live view and the zoom function also is handy whit macro, im thinking to buy this thing and leave the angle finder at home
    wireless version
    http://www.phottix.com/wireless-remo...ss-remote.html

    or the cheaper version
    http://www.phottix.com/wired-remotes...ew-remote.html

  8. #8

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    Re: micro machines

    Hello

    I also use a Sigma 180 but rarely attach a 1.4x converter as I find it often causes more problems that it solves. The loss of light means that during dull weather even ISO 800 requires too wide an aperture for good depth of field. And I find focusing even trickier with extra magnification; although for those really tiny creatures anything that 'increases their size' is useful.

    When possible, I like to use an aperture between F11 and F14 (sometimes F16) but rarely go wider than F8. And I like to keep a reasonable shutter speed, even on a tripod. When shooting 'in the wild', every little gust of wind moves your subject so I try to regard 1/125 as minimum, but obviously too high a shutter speed isn't beneficial either.

    For static targets, I prefer manual focus because auto focus often focuses on something ahead or behind the optimum focus point. Auto focus can help with fast moving insects where I don't have any thinking time. I'm fine with snails but find bees and flies can be a bit of a challenge! Using just the centre focus point will reduce false auto focus problems. But the one fault with that lens is a very slow auto focus.

    Exposure is another potential problem area. I always use spot metering and adjust slightly with exposure compensation as I go. A dark insect on a pale leaf, or the other way around, will result in a degree of compromise but the only thing you can do is to get the subject correct and accept over exposed or rather dark backgrounds.

    Generally I prefer to avoid flash; but when it is essential I find that if I remove the lens hood, and keep my focusing fingers underneath the lens, I can get away with the camera 'built in' flash. An external flash unit is obviously better but I am already carrying sufficient weight in my camera bag, so I normally leave that item at home unless I know that it will be essential.

    That right angled eyepiece could prove useful at times, although lying in the mud is part of the 'joys of macro photography'.

    Personally, and most of my photography is macro work, I cannot understand the live view function. I am unable to look at that screen and decide if my shot is a sharp correctly focused image, especially in bright light. I have to enter an area of deep shadow to review my previous images. It may work better with auto focus especially with static subjects like fungi etc but insects etc require constant focusing and camera position changes.

    I now use a heavy Manfrotto tripod with a quick release ball head which I have reversed so that I can control the camera position with my left hand with my right hand on the shutter. When the grip is released the ball head immediately locks the camera position which enables me to focus with my now free left hand. Speed is everything with insects and I found the traditional tripod head which requires 2 screw handles to be tightened just wasn't fast enough.

    Originally I used a cable shutter release but found it was just one more thing to worry about. I did tape it to the tripod head adjusting handle which was an improvement but after a few test photos I decided that providing my shutter speed was reasonably high there was no need to use cable release.

    One final tip. Because your depth of field will always be shallow, try to get square (at 90 degrees) to your target insect which will increase the area in sharp focus. This is particularly important with wide or long insects like dragonflies etc.

    Hope this rather long ramble will give you some ideas.

  9. #9

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    Re: micro machines

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Hello

    I also use a Sigma 180 but rarely attach a 1.4x converter as I find it often causes more problems that it solves. The loss of light means that during dull weather even ISO 800 requires too wide an aperture for good depth of field. And I find focusing even trickier with extra magnification; although for those really tiny creatures anything that 'increases their size' is useful.
    thanks for the info, always want to know how some ells works
    but whit the high apertures what are u shooting? flowers or lager objects
    in my opinion a smaller aperture is better for smaller object and close ups and more detail
    ok, you will have more dof, but need less light

    anyway, thanks for sharing your info

  10. #10

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    Re: micro machines

    I mostly shoot insects etc, alive in the wild, with all the problems of poor light angles and wind movement. By 'wide' aperture I mean 'open' with a lower F number. For instance, I would rarely shoot anything in the F6.3 to F8 range and prefer to shoot between F11 to F14.

    With a shallow depth of field on macro photos, I find a small aperture, say F11 minimum, is essential to give you a reasonable depth on any macro wildlife, be it flora or fauna. Even then it can be less than 12 mm so I'm afraid that problems with poor light are the price that you have to pay for a good depth of focus.

    But in good sunshine you can still achieve a good balance between aperture and shutter speed with an ISO of 200.

    Many of those absolutely superb photos that you sometimes see in magazines are a composite of several images with different focus points, but I find that principle difficult to achieve when working with real live insects in the wild. Chiefly due to wind rock and subject movement.

    What some photographers do is to kill the specimen then carefully position it in front of a suitable background inside a studio with all the best lighting. That way it is a lot easier to get a number of perfect photos for a good composite image.

    As an alternative, some insect photographers place their subjects into a refrigerator for a short time to slow them down before using them in a similar studio environment.

    But I like the challenge of 'real life' macro photography. For me, getting some suitable angles for identification are the first requirement; after that I start to think about achieving the best looking photos.

    There are a selection of my live insect photos on the P base site http://www.pbase.com/crustacean
    Last edited by Geoff F; 4th April 2010 at 06:10 PM. Reason: link added

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