July 9, 2010 – Crazy Bug



Friday, July 9, 2010


I realized earlier today that it’s been a little while since I’ve posted a crazy macro bug shot. So here you go. I’ve got a fair number of bug shots that I just haven’t for whatever reason put online anywhere yet, so I had to dig this one up in order to post it today. I took this one earlier this spring, when I went on a little field trip to one of the parks here in Seattle (Carkeek Park, for those that know the area), because I was sick of the lack of bugs in my neighborhood. (Crazy, right? That I’d be complaining about there *not being enough* bugs. Weird.) I was using my recently-acquired macro ring flash, and two extension tubes with my Canon 50mm prime. (I don’t know the exact lengths of the extension tubes, but it was the two longer tubes out of the set of 3. With the third one on there, the already tiny working distance was just too short to be of any use..)

It’s really not very hard to get cool bug shots if you’ve got the equipment (and the equipment is surprisingly affordable!), but it does require a lot of patience. Both looking for bugs to take pictures of, as well as not getting too frustrated when they inevitably fly away before you get set up. Also, getting the bugs in focus is a real pain in the ass.

Another issue that I had with this particular set up is what I just hinted at: the small working distance. In order to focus, the bugs are only an inch or two from the front of your lens. So depending on how skittish the bug is, it can be hard to get close enough without them flying away. Also, they move a lot (especially the crawling bugs), so it can be extremely frustrating. But, it’s fun, so it’s worth the perseverance. (Wow, spell check told me I spelled that last word wrong, and after correcting it, it’s totally spelled differently than I would have expected.) Ideally, it would be nice to have a macro set up that would get me a similar level of magnification (or even more!) with a longer working distance. That’s where 100mm and 180mm macro lenses come in to play. Also, my macro flash isn’t adjustable at all, it just fires at full strength every time. Which means that sometimes there’s just no way to NOT overexpose the picture, because I’m already at the smallest aperture my lens will go to, at the lowest ISO my camera will do. I suppose the options would be to either use a different lens (that can go smaller), to manually cover some of the flash, or to use a neutral density filter. Perhaps I’ll try those later.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens with Opteka macro extension tubes. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100.

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