October 19, 2010 – Ant


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


What were you expecting, more fall colors?? Nah, not today. Instead, we’re going to go with an insect picture, just because I know how much my friend-in-law likes them. (That’s what you call somebody who is your friend by marriage, right?)

This one wasn’t taken with my normal macro setup. So I think that’s worth talking about. I took this one while out hiking, whereas most of my insect pictures are taken around my neighborhood. The macro stuff I usually use (macro lens, extension tubes, macro flash, sometimes a tripod or a monopod) can be kind of bulky. It’s fine if I know I’m going to be looking for bugs, but on a hike, bugs aren’t really the goal. So, that led to the question of what I should bring along. Ideally, if I did see a cool bug worth taking a picture of, I’d want to be able to do so. But, all the stuff I’m already bringing on hikes (camera, 3 lenses, plus filters, extra batteries, etc) is kind of annoying, so bringing even more stuff, like a lens specifically for macro and a flash, is not really desirable. So, as a compromise, I’ve started just bringing a couple extension tubes. They’re pretty lightweight and small, and they’re pretty rugged, so you don’t have to take as good of care of them as you do lenses. After doing some experimenting, I decided I could get “close enough” by using the tubes with my telephoto lens. (That worked better than with my wide angle or my standard range lens, for what it’s worth.)

The day I took this picture was really the first time I really tried it out in actual use, and I was glad to see that the hacked-up setup did indeed work “well enough”. It definitely wasn’t as pleasant to use as my regular setup, but it got the job done. Good thing, too, since I was on a hike that was supposed to have really great views (but didn’t, they were only mediocre) on a day that was supposed to have really nice weather (but didn’t, it was that bland featureless overcast that just kills me. And then it started raining), so it was nice to have other things to take pictures of. Although the fact that I didn’t have a flash meant that I had to crank up the ISO, but the results were still passable.

So, to summarize, here’s the setup I bring with me on hikes these days, for those who are curious. Camera (Canon EOS Rebel T1i), with Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens attached. I usually have that in my hand the entire hike. Then, I have a small camera bag attached to the side of my backpack. In there, I have two lenses (Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and Canon 55-250mm IS), two extension tubes, two filters (circular polarizers for the 11-16 and 17-50 – need to get one for the 55-250, but haven’t bothered yet), 3-4 spare batteries (they’re super cheap on eBay), a couple spare memory cards (that I haven’t needed to use in years), and a lens cleaning cloth. That’s all the important stuff anyway. Then, I sometimes also (when I remember) bring along a gorilla pod, but I basically never get around to actually using it. I really should use a tripod more often, for those times when I want to slow down a river or get some depth of field. But… whatever.

Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 55-250mm IS lens with Opteka extension tubes. 1/250s, f/7.1, ISO 800. Focal length: 55mm (Well, that’s what the lens was set at..)

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  1. avatar
    Mike December 24, 2010
    • avatar
      Dave December 25, 2010

      Them’s the ones!

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