C&C Macro Bumble Bees

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Hankster, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Hankster macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #1
    Caught Digging for Gold

    I love macro shots of bumble bees, their color pattern looks like fur close up! Any feedback on exposure and composition appreciated. Photos taken handheld.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #2
    I like the last one a lot. Great detail and colors. The EXIF data doesn't have any camera info. What lens and camera did you use?

    DFale
     
  3. Hankster thread starter macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #3
    Ah, sorry forgot to post that info. Nikon D90 with 105mm 2.8. Thanks for the feedback. I think the focus is too soft on the second one, third seems clearer.
     
  4. MattSepeta, Jun 2, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011

    MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #4
    They look soft, and the composition leaves much to be desired. They just look like a really zoomed in view of a bee if you were standing over a flower in a garden looking at it.

    Try to experiment with the angles, get below the flower, or on the same level as the bee. This will let you mix up the backgrounds for some more interesting results. Another tip from my limited insect photography experience: wait and wait and wait. Rather than snapping an "ok" frame, wait and wait ans wait for the bug to move into a better position. The results are worth it!

    Here are a few macro shots from the last time I went "bugging" to give you an idea what I'm talking about. All natural light in bright sun, no flashes or fancy rigs. Just a Canon 50D and Tamron 60mm Macro:

    (Disclaimer- I am not claiming to be good at bug photos. Just some thoughts!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Looking again, you could do an awful lot to punch these up in terms of processing. What do you use?
     
  5. H2Ockey macrumors regular

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    #5
    I would agree the middle shot has the plane of focus a little beyond the interesting part of the bee.

    In all I think the composition and diagonal lines created by the wings and the similar shaped/angled/sized flower petals is pleasing. The first and third shot also have better isolation of the flower and wings which may add to the criticalness (is that a word?) of the second shot.

    I might play around with some cropping and orientation of the shot some just to see. I don't see anything "wrong" the frame is mostly filled nicely, there are nice diagonals but everything still seems very centered. Also there are no visible eyes. On one had it is interesting to see the bee deep into the flower but without eyes or the "face" of the subject it feels there is something missing.
     
  6. Hankster thread starter macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #6
    Thanks for the feedback, different angles would add to the photo. These photos have no post processing. When I do I use PhotoShop. Nice detail on the dragonfly. Waiting is the name of the game when it comes to insects, these shots took about 20 minutes but there were 5-10mph winds.

    The diagonal lines along the wings against the pedals do create nice symmetry. I understand what you're saying about a lack of "face". These guys were very busy that day digging there face into as many flowers as possible, catching their face was tough.
     
  7. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #7

    Wind + Macro bug photos = Don't even bother. Messes up the framing, adds motion blur, both things that are paramount in macro photography.

    The plane of focus looks off still in all but the first of yours. The focus looks a bit too far between the bee's face. Maybe try cranking your ISO next time to get a more useable f/stop, maybe f/9 or so to get more of the bug in focus.

    I have been tempted to go out with a flash and trigger and try to do some OCF macro work!
     
  8. H2Ockey macrumors regular

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    #8
    I tried once with horrendous results. All things that could be taken care of with better preparation but I was unable to get the flash in a good spot I wasn't creating more shadows from plant material AND get a good angle/focus on the bug I was interested. I'm sure I just needed more patience and a better platform for the flash, maybe different, less active bugs as well.

    For a flash I use a super cheap solution for a nice diffuser. A cut out side of a gallon milk jug, with a hole cut out to slide over the lens. I usually use it in TTL mode, but if there are too many shadows or a dark area I will need to reduce the flash some.
     
  9. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #9
    I had the granddaddy of that lens with my Nikon film rig in 1970. Great lens.

    Dale
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #10
    No eyes, no connection with a live subject. Get past that and then you can start looking for critiques.

    Paul
     
  11. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    What aperture are these shot with?

    Parts of the photo are in good focus, but the depth of field is pretty limited. If you increased the aperture, you would get an increased depth of field and more of the bee and flower would be in focus at the same time.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #12
    Macro shots all have a shallow depth of field. With static subjects, focus stacking is normal, but with live insects, not usually possible.

    Paul
     
  13. Kimbie macrumors regular

    Kimbie

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    #13
    Nice pics, but bumble bees are furry
     
  14. Hankster thread starter macrumors 68020

    Hankster

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    #14
    Great feedback. Thanks!

    My 105mm is by far my favorite lens ;)
     
  15. Waybo macrumors regular

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    #15
    Milk Bottle Diffuser???

    I'm trying to picture this in my mind. :confused: Would love to see a photo(s) of this!

    You could even start a new thread for "homemade equipment" ... There must be other newbies out there, besides me, that can't afford additional equipment right now. I'm SURE this thread would be read ... and appreciated! :)
     
  16. H2Ockey macrumors regular

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    #16
    Lol, yeah there is a lot out there for home-made equipment if you dig deep into the internet. Much of it is not very useful and some costs more to home fabricate than just buying something pretty decent on the used market.

    As far as this goes, the 1 gallon milk jugs made of thin slightly hazy plastic. Just cut one side from the jug, then cut a hole you can put the lens through. It works better with pop-up flashes than an attached.
    The only other thing i've done that works is to make a flash extender. A $.99 frenzal lens book mark and some card board to hold it off the lens.
     
  17. btbrossard, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011

    btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I was just trying to point out that if the shots were taken at f5 and the aperture was increased to f11, more of the bee would be in focus without the need to take multiple exposures and put them together.

    But I'm really a pretty crappy photographer, so I wouldn't take any advice from me.

    Sorry.

    Here's a visual look at what I was trying to say.

    They are essentially the same (albiet crappy) image.

    This one is f5.6 at 1/250:
    [​IMG]

    This one is f22 @ 1/15:
    [​IMG]

    The one with the f22 aperture is has a considerably larger depth of field than the one taken at f5.6.

    Sorry if I was confusing or didn't know what I was talking about.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    In macro mode, it doesn't make that much difference. At 1:1, on a 1.5x crop factor body, f/5.6 gives just .47mm of depth of field, and f/11 gives .93mm, a difference of .56mm, just over half a millimeter- generally not enough to make a difference. Change the magnification to 2x and you'll have to start measuring DoF in microns.

    These are not macro shots.

    Paul
     
  19. btbrossard, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011

    btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Well - then I personally apologize for offending you with my stupidity.

    Sorry.

    EDIT TO ADD:

    I guess I don't understand, Paul, that you said aperture has little to no effect on a macro shot. However, everything I've read about macro photography has pointed to using aperture as one way to control depth of field.

    Am I mis-reading something?

    And yes, the two samples I posted were not taken with a macro lens. They were taken with a standard canon crap lens with a +4 +2 and +1 close up filter attached, as you saw in the exif. I can't justify spending a considerable amount of money on a macro lens right now when I only take photos for a hobby and personal enjoyment. I spent enough money on the camera this year. It will have to wait until next year.

    Again, I'm sorry if I mislead anyone with my incorrect information.

    Thanks,

    Benjamin
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    I didn't say "little to no effect," it has an effect, just a very small one- look at the numbers I provided as an example.

    The physics are constant, it works the same no matter if it's macro or not- so I would never characterize it as having no effect, but any online DoF calculator will show that it has little effect.

    Here's an online DoF calculator for macro:

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/macro-lenses.htm

    See c.f. http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/depth_of_field.html

    Read the section titled "DOF and Magnification" and pay attention to the numbers in the table- for instance, you don't get to 3mm of DoF between f/5.6 and f/11 until you go out to 1:3.

    A Bumble Bee is roughly 2.5-3cm in size, depending on the bee. That means cannot get the entire bee in focus at f/45 at 1:1 or even 1:2. At 1:3 it doesn't happen until f/45- which means you're going to need a LOT of light to not get motion blur (especially because macro changes your exposure values.) You're also going to be firmly in visible diffraction territory with any DSLRs at f/45. At f/11, you're looking at 1:7 to get the entire bee's body in focus. I chose f/11 as an arbitrary limit because of diffraction, you could likely get away with f/16 at 1:6 on less-densely packed sensors.

    Remember that each stop of light is a 100% change in value- so you're looking at 25% as much light for exposure going from f/5.6 to f/11. The insect is moving, so you're going to have to factor that in as well- you don't want subject motion blur for the body, and may only want a small amount for the wings if any.

    For what it's worth, it looks to me like focus caught on the wings, and that's the major focus issue in these shots, and without the eyes in focus with a live subject you really can't go much further except for occasional behavior shots.

    Paul
     
  21. btbrossard macrumors 6502a

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