Praise the Macro Lenses. Post your best macros here.

Started Jun 5, 2013 | Photos thread
Brian Wadie
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Re: Tips to capture bees ?
In reply to geejay101, Jun 16, 2013

Hi Gerry, here's a piece about Bee shooting I wrote for another site, hope there may be something you can use

"Before even picking up the camera I spend a few minutes checking the situation, where are the bees feeding, how are they behaving, what's the light like where they are etc.

This is key to my style of shooting and can make all the difference between a successful session or a wipe-out.

In this case I noticed that they were feeding on two main plants, Wallflower Bowles Mauve and Teucrium.

With the Bowles they were having to take time as there were many flower heads / plant with deep nectar cups whereas with the Teucrium it was a snack and dash situation with them only stopping for a few seconds at most.

This set me to shoot on the Bowles and it was then a case of waiting until they approached the first flower, focus on that and tracking the bee as it moved around the plant (up to 30+ seconds in total)

No more chasing after the subject - they come to you with this method

The technique that works for me, using the EM-5 with Oly 60mm macro lens (no flash) is to set in in AV mode, usually IOS 400 to keep the shutter speed above 1/640th (above 1/1000th if possible, these little beggars move fast even when standing still - apparently).

Set the focus limiter to closest focus range, not 1:1 (I find this is only of limited use)

I like to work at f8 if possible but will drop to f3.5 if needed to keep the speed up

EVF with 120fps in "live-view" mode and adjust the +/- EV to accommodate the changing light as follow the subject, working to expose to the right.

AFS focus mode with 4 fps frame rate (this for me is the revelation that first came with the 7D + canon 100 LIS, you can use AF to shoot macro whatever the "Experts" tell you). Use the AF to get first lock on the subject then holding half-pressed shutter gently rock the camera / your body back and forwards very slightly to get the focus spot on the eye. You should see it "Pop" into focus in the EVF as you go through the critical point.

The trick is to get used to your movement effect and fire the shutter just before the eye "pops" and hold the shutter for a couple of frames as you move

Start taking the shots from about max focus limit, then gently move in after each shot until you reach minimum focal distance (or the subject flies off)

Whatever you do don't let your shadow fall on the subject and if possible, approach on the same level / slightly below (I get the impression this is a blind spot). Start your experiments aiming to get the body parallel to the sensor of your camera then work around to the head-shots / full face work once you feel ready )

All hand-held of course (although it can work with a mono-pod + loose ball-head)

With a bit of practise it takes longer to describe than it does to carry out and it soon becomes second nature

 Brian Wadie's gear list:Brian Wadie's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Nikon 1 V2 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R +6 more
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