Lighting macros

Started Jul 24, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Duncan C
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Lighting macros
Jul 24, 2010

I haven't done a lot of shooting lately, but I'm on vacation on Cape Cod, and brought my camera.

I like shooting insect macros. I shoot handheld, and shoot skittish insects like butterflies, dragonflies, bees, etc. Thus, I need fast shutterspeeds. I also use small apertures to maximize the limited DOF. That combination means I need tons of light.

I've used all different kinds of lighting setups over the years, including dual flash macro brackets, a dedicated TTL ring-flash, etc, etc.

Believe it or not, my favorite macro rig is a little pop-up diffuser that I got from eBay for about $10 US. It attaches to the front of the lens and I fire my hot-shoe flash through it. It gives MUCH better light than my $400 TTL ring-light, and is easier to use.

Here's a picture of it:

Here are a couple of pictures I took today:

Note the subtle, soft-edged shadows under the butterfly.

Note the soft highlight on the butterfly's eye. Most of the other macro rigs I've used produce very stark, ugly, unnatural highlights.

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