August 31, 2009 – Green Bottle Fly

Green Bottle Fly

Green Bottle Fly

Monday, August 31, 2009

Okay, I’ll admit, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Ever since I posted that bee and flower a few weeks ago, I’ve sort of gone off the deep end with this macro obsession. (Well, to be fair, it was always there, it’s just been latent until recently, when I realized I could satisfy my unhealthy urges without shelling out too much cash.)

First, it was busting out my old lens, then it was the Hoya macro kit.  Now, I’ve moved on to a reverse-mount attachment, and oh my god, it’s incredible.

This little device is just a metal ring that attaches to the front of your lens like a filter. Then, you pop off your lens, and literally just attach it to the camera backwards. As in, what was once the butt-end of the lens, the private parts that were once only visible to the camera’s sensor, is now exposed for the whole world to see. And the magnification that gets you is, for lack of a better word, ludicrous. I’ve just been using the simple, basic, cheap 18-55 mm kit lens that came with the camera. And at the 18mm end, it’s too close in to even work with. Fantastic! (Since it’s on there backwards, everything is reversed, so whereas normally lower numbers mean more wide-angle, here it means you’re closer in.) This photo was much closer to the 55 end of the lens, and it’s still pretty close in, as you can see. The drawback is of course that your depth of field is, quite literally, microscopic. You can see for yourself how narrow that band of in-focus-ness is on the leaf. That’s probably where the difference between a 13 dollar attachment on a free lens and a $1400 macro-specific beast lies. Or maybe not. Until I drop that 1400 bucks (probably next week at this rate), I won’t know for sure. It’s really tough to use, for a couple reasons. First of all, I tend to sway back and forth when I’m taking a picture. If I’m shooting a mountain, not a problem. But if you only have a millimeter or two of focus to play with, an inch or two in either direction obviously kills the shot. Second, if you’re looking a flower or something, the slightest gasp of wind sends your subject on a wild roller coaster ride in and out of the frame. Patience is an absolute necessity, it can get pretty frustrating. A tripod definitely helps, or at the very least something to steady the camera against. (Like a gorilla pod! – that’s what I used for these shots.)

Now, I’ve just got to figure out the whole lighting situation. This shot was taken with natural light, because it was bright and sunny. Any other conditions (the day before I was trying to work with late-afternoon light with only limited success) and you’ve got to jack the ISO up to 1600 minimum to even START getting results. I’ll let you all know what I figure out when I figure that one out. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post another super-ridiculous-macro shot, sans insect. We’ll see how I feel.)

Enjoy your Monday!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55 mm kit lens.  1/200s, ISO 200.

Subscribe to the Picture of the Day via: a feed reader (RSS) or email


  1. Reply

    […] mm kit lens (Amazon link: ).  But this time it was used for good, not for evil […]

  2. Reply

    […] a flower, for example), you can get a great image. If you’re hoping to shoot images of the little hairs on a fly ( ), then you’ll need something […]

  3. Reply

    […] photography. The extreme case was of course  the reverse-mount adapter that I used to get that picture of the fly a few days ago.  That one, while extremely powerful, is also extremely difficult to use. […]

  4. avatar
    Marie June 3, 2010

    your fine, I love macro photography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *