Posts Tagged Macro flash
Friday, June 24, 2011
So, here’s a ladybug. I used my Tamron 90mm macro lens that I picked up used at Glazer’s a year or two ago. The more I use it, the more I’m convinced that it doesn’t result in quite as nice of images as my Minolta-mount Kiron 105 that I got on Ebay. But, it’s a heck of a lot easier to use. That’s because it’s actually a modern, electronic lens that is designed for working with a Canon body, as opposed to an old, physically actuated lens that was designed for a mount that I’m not even sure they make anymore. The reason that makes a difference in usability primarily comes down to the aperture. With modern lenses, the aperture is held wide open as you’re focusing and composing, then it’s closed down to the desired size when you hit the shutter button. The minolta-mount lens has the same idea, but it’s done physically – meaning there’s a little spring-loaded rod in the mount that, when moved to the side, holds open the aperture. When you hit the shutter button on a camera that uses that mount, it then moves something out of the way that was previously holding that rod in place, thus the spring that I mentioned then closes down the aperture. But obviously, a modern Canon-mount camera doesn’t support that.
So, the upshot of all that is that when you’re using the Kiron lens, you have to close down the aperture before taking the shot. Which means that you’re restricting the amount of light that you have to focus with, sometimes severely so. And, to make matters worse, you’re enlarging your depth of field at the same time. So it becomes extremely difficult to tell if you’re focused on just the spot you want, particularly so when you’re taking macro shots, where being off by a millimeter or less can ruin the shot. Yeah, it’s hard. So, that’s what I mean when I say the Tamron is easier to use, because you can use the wide open aperture to focus, and it’ll automatically step down when you take the shot. But the images aren’t as nice. So it goes.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens with Opteka extension tube and Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/16, ISO 100.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Just a quick post today to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about you all. I mean, I almost forgot about you all. But I kind of just barely remembered you when I was grabbing a cup of coffee. So in some respects I *did* forget about you all, just… not permanently. But don’t worry! I still love you all! As much as I ever loved you all. Which I guess means that I still … umm … don’t actively dislike you all. Umm… here’s a spider.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens with Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Welcome to Friday! That means the week is over, which is probably a good thing. I had a really hard time picking an image for today, as it turns out. Not because I just wasn’t finding anything good to toss up here, but because I had no idea what kind of picture I should go with. I had my buddy Roy help me pick one, and the choices I gave him ranged from stuff like this, to flowers, to snowy mountains, to some east-coast fall-color stuff. But out of the eight choices I sent him, he picked this one. Sorry that it’s a bit, ahh, disgusting.
As you probably know, I spent a fair bit of time this summer running around after bugs. As it turns out, there really aren’t very many interesting ones here in Seattle. I mean, if you were to head out into the actual, you know, woods, you’d probably find a few, but if you’re just looking at what’s running around my neighborhood, there’s really not much. There are a couple different kinds of flies, and a couple different kinds of bees. And then there was predominantly one kind of spider, which you’re looking at right now. Almost all of them that I saw were probably around an inch across, so not really exceptionally large in any way (although not too small either, for sure), although I saw some slightly larger ones as the summer came to a close. As it happens, it can be pretty difficult to get a decent shot of these guys, because they tend to hang out right in the middle of their web. But, webs move. So, while I’m trying to focus on the spider, the web can move several inches in either direction with even the slightest breeze. And there are almost no times at which there is no movement. If you’re not using a flash, it’s not as big of a deal, because then you can just let the shutter rip (although since you’re not using a flash, you’re probably using a longer shutter speed, which can cause problems due to the movement itself.) But if you’re using a flash (particularly a really cheap one like I was, that takes forever to recharge), it can be a real pain in the butt.
But, it’s not impossible, and then you get stuff like this. I’m not saying stuff like this is particularly great, I’m just saying that this is the kind of stuff you get, you can be the judge for whether it’s worth it or not.
Anyway, have a great weekend!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens, Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 90mm.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Wait, what?? This blog is still getting posted to? Man, I thought it was dead there for awhile. But then, BAM, just like that, a new post.
That’s right, folks, I’m getting back on the horse! The horse meaning, of course, the habit of occasionally posting pictures, maybe a few times a week if you’re lucky. I spent some time out of town over the holidays and all that, but I’m back now. Perhaps eventually I’ll even toss up a couple photos from that trip. But, not today. I haven’t even downloaded them from the camera yet, honestly. Hopefully soon, we’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s another insect and a flower. It’s true, this one is very similar to a photo I posted a long time ago. But, while it was taken at the same location (the Rose Garden in Woodland Park), it was taken about a year later, using different equipment. So it’s totally fair game. Because, you know, it’s all a game, with rules and stuff. And I hate breaking the rules.
Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll try and put up at least two posts next week, but I totally want to ease everyone back into this, so I’ll definitely take it slow.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens, Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens, cheap macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/18.0, ISO 100.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Anybody know if this is a bee or wasp? I think the answer would lie in what the stinger looked like, or if there even was one. Unfortunately, you can’t see it. Sigh.
UPDATE: A reader named Joan Knapp (see her blog here) pointed out that this is actually a fly, “Genus Spilomyia”. So there you go!
What do you mean that flower looks familiar? Umm, right. This may or may not have been taken at about the same time as yesterday’s picture. Actually, all three pictures I’ve posted this week came from last weekend. I think that’s actually the first time I’ve ever done that. Normally I try to spread things out so as to not saturate the blog with one subject. Plus, then I can post two pictures that are really similar but yet a little bit different months apart, and nobody says anything. Oh, wait, nobody says anything anyway. Right.
Notice how the eyeball patterns are different? Weird. Have I mentioned lately that you guys should all sign up for Flattr?
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens, cheap macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/18.0, ISO 100.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I know, I know. A lot of you really hate this kind of thing. But, this drama was happening just outside my house last night, so I figured I’d share. This guy had built a web that went clear across the little alcove over my front door, which got me right in the face when I walked outside. I suppose after he had nabbed this guy, he got a little bit cocky.
Before last night, it had been awhile since I had brought out my macro ring flash. I don’t really have a good excuse for that though. I really need to get back on it. I suppose one reason I don’t use it that much is that we just don’t have many bugs out here in Seattle. And, the bugs we do have are just the ordinary kind – flies, bees, and spiders. I’ve seen some ridiculously awesome bug pictures out there, of wild and exotic things, and we just don’t really have that stuff around. But, that’s no excuse, I know. I promise, I’ll try and get out at least a couple more times before the end of the summer.
In the meantime… Have I mentioned Flattr.com yet? (Yes. Yes I have.) You all need to check it out. I’m serious. After playing with it over the weekend, I’ve decided that the biggest issue right now is that they need to get more Flattr buttons out there. Meaning, they need more publishers to sign up to give people stuff to appreciate. So, if you’re reading this, and you have a website or a blog or even just a Flickr feed, you should totally sign up. Then, let me know (either by commenting below or sending me an email: dave (at) davefry (dot) net), and I’ll happily click away on whatever Flattr buttons I see. I’m not even going to tell you that you need to Flattr me back, that’s how magnanimous I am. Do it! Seriously! Now!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tamron 90mm macro lens. 1/160s, f/22.0, ISO 100. Focal length: 90mm.
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.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
And there it is.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 50mm f/1.8 with Opteka macro expansion tubes and Phoenix ring flash. 1/160s, f/18.0, ISO 100.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Hello again everyone. I’m still under the weather, so I’ll keep this short again. But, here’s another image that came out of my new macro toys, the extension tubes and macro ring flash. It’s a fly! I’ve been using two of the tubes in combination with my 50mm prime lens, and it’s been working fairly well. The downside is that you have to be REALLY REALLY close to the subject to get it in focus. As in, less than 2 centimeters away. It’s really hard to get that close without scaring things away. What I really need is a true macro lens (so that I don’t need the tubes, or don’t need as many tubes), or maybe even longer macro lens (like a 90 or 100mm macro lens, or Canon and Tamron both make a 180mm 1:1 macro), that would give me more of a working distance. One day, one day. Until then, this will do, for sure.
In other news… I fooled around a bit last night and got the Facebook like button working on my pages. There are a zillion different WordPress plugins to do it, but surprisingly, NONE OF THEM EFFING WORK. They’re all busted in the same ways – granted the root cause is probably a bug on Facebook’s side, but STILL. I ended up just hacking up one of the plugins to use the newest version of Facebook’s APIs, and that did the trick.
Why would you want to use the button? Well, I’ll tell you why. It helps me out, you see. When you click like, it’ll show up in your news feed on Facebook, and then all of your Facebook friends will see it, and then all the cool ones will click through to check it out, and they’ll get hooked just like you did. Brilliant! I know, I know, lots of you are all freaked out about the Facebook privacy concerns and stuff, so all you guys can feel free to not click the button. Don’t worry though, I don’t get your login information, nothing like that. I don’t even get to see the names of the people that click like unless you’re already my friend on Facebook. It’s all cool.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens with Opteka macro extension tubes and Phoenix macro ring flash. 1/160s, f/20.0, ISO 100.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
As promised, here’s a picture taken using my new macro tools that came in on Friday and Saturday. (To refresh your memory, I got a set of macro extension tubes, and a cheap macro flash.) I spent a little bit of time playing around with them over the weekend, and so far I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ve been using the setup almost exclusively with my 50mm prime lens so far, and it’s been working out fine.
It doesn’t seem like you can get in as close with this particular setup as you can with the reverse mounted lens, although that was sort of expected. (Although I wasn’t sure how dramatic of a difference it would be.) This picture was taken using 2 of the 3 tubes, so I could have added the third to get in closer, but it’s pretty unwieldy as-is with the flash attachment and everything on there, so getting close enough to the subject would be pretty challenging. (The tip of my lens was about an inch away from the bee as it was.) I need to try it out on different lenses though, to see how it reacts with each. (The longer your lens – not focal length, actual length – the less dramatic the effect. Makes sense, really, since if you’re 3 inches out from your sensor to start with, adding another 3 inches means you’re doubling it. If you start 12 inches out, adding 3 more is less than 30% of an increase..)
The flash is pretty awesome though. It of course takes a little bit of time to refresh, so my old strategy of just taking oodles and oodles of frames as I slowly swayed back and forth (to try to ensure that I got at least one in focus) needed to be adjusted somewhat. But, the benefit of being able to use a super-tiny aperture (f/18, even at ISO 100!) outweighed that. After shooting with the reverse-mount for awhile, having the extra depth of field is reeeeeally nice, and it has the added benefit of covering your butt if your focal point is a tiny bit off. It’s definitely a little bit unwieldy, especially when you mount it on a short lens. Having a longer lens (like a 100mm macro) that allows you a greater distance to your subject would be really handy for getting into corners and stuff. But, if you’re on a budget like me, this setup seems to be working out great so far. I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll see of it.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, with Opteka macro extension tubes. 1/160s, f/18.0, ISO 100. Phoenix macro ring flash.