Nikon 105 for butterfly collection

Started 8 months ago | Questions
StillLearning
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to labalaba, 8 months ago

labalaba wrote:

TQGroup wrote:

Thank you for your thoughtful comments and the time you have taken to communicate them. Fortunately, I have some time before I start this work in July and so I will practice and experiment before I go overseas. I already own a 105 VR and so that will be the lens I use on a newly re-shuttered D600 (with a D7100 as an emergency back-up).

I have already contacted the museum in Sydney and I will have discussions with a curator to fully understand what "perfect" could look like... not that I am promising "perfect" results...:-)

Given the weight restrictions traveling "cattle class", I will experiment with an easily portable "rig" that does not weight too much but is very stable and secure. Does anyone have experience with Nikon's R1 macro flash setup?

Finally, throughput speed is very important; at one butterfly a minute, the task will take just 21 eight hour days...:-|

good luck

presumably you'll have assistance, to move the butterflies around for you, and for conversation to remain sane (10,000 clicks is a lot).

If it is any consolation, once you've finished someone else will have to copy the data information for each specimen onto your image files. That is going to take a lot longer. I wouldn't mention this though, or they'll suggest you photograph the data labels at the same time as the specimens.

Good point.  May want to leave some space below each subject so information can be layered on in post processing photo software.  That will take longer than the photographing will.

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StillLearning
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Re: butterfly collection & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

Good catch.

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TQGroup
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to Photofunster, 8 months ago

Please wait until I pinch myself... ouch, these look dangerous. Now I know how my thousands of stamps have felt when I 'tweezed" them. Fortunately, all the specimens are mounted on a pin and we will not actually have to handle them.

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TQGroup
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Re: butterfly collection & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to StillLearning, 8 months ago

Thank you! But, please, you really don't want me to get started on fishing and fishing photography...:-D

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StillLearning
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Re: Flash for butterfly collection & reflections on glass
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

Beautiful shot! While you were kindly posting, I also put a photo up. Amazing; we both have discovered that the cloudy lightsphere works brilliantly for close up photography! But hush, don't tell anyone because we will give away our competitive advantage...:-D Thanks once again for all the advice. Cheers Andrew

Learned it from a die hard macro photographer who's pictures put mine to shame.  He was kind enough to let me in on his secrets.  He used a macro flash bracket from Kirk Enterprises and GF Diffusor.  Since then they have redesigned the flash brackets.  That's what I use now.  Price jumped though from $80 to $225 but it is easier to hold.

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StillLearning
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Re: butterfly collection & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

Thank you! But, please, you really don't want me to get started on fishing and fishing photography...:-D

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TQGroup
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to labalaba, 8 months ago

Awww, you are such a tease.:-) You are right on, of course. Many if not most of the specimens have a typed label. We have agreed that we will not try and simultaneously photograph these. The other parties to this venture will look into any commercial or better still free-ware software to input this data uniformly later.

We are still exploring the optimum way to associate each specimen with its photograph and we leaning towards a simple number and label system at this stage.

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TQGroup
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to labalaba, 8 months ago

Once again, thanks for your suggestions and moral support! As to my "sanity", no need for any concern there - I lost that years ago and nobody bothered to help me go looking for it!

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Re: Flash for butterfly collection & reflections on glass
In reply to StillLearning, 8 months ago

Thanks for the tip! It sure beats an on camera setup. I'll look into the Kirk but they get pretty expensive posted down here to Oz!

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Photofunster
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

Please wait until I pinch myself... ouch, these look dangerous. Now I know how my thousands of stamps have felt when I 'tweezed" them. Fortunately, all the specimens are mounted on a pin and we will not actually have to handle them.

Yes, more like surgical implements.

Frank Zappa used Zircon encrusted tweezers...

Zircon  Encrusted Tweezers

But him the Torture Never Stops

Hurt me hurt me. Moon Unit !

I only have my stamp of approval!

Let's all Hope this adventure turns out good for you.

Chas

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TQGroup
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to Photofunster, 8 months ago

Thanks for the encouragement! Now my little home gym will never look quite so vicious!

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dave gaines
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2 examples & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

That's a very nice shot Andrew. Wow, you nailed it. Animal interactions are the best. They show so much about the species.

You can see in your photo how short DOF was at f/11. Even the clothes line is oof. Not a problem for your image. Everything that matters is in focus. But that's why I often shoot at f/22.

Hanging clothes to dry is a good thing. It saves energy and that's good for the planet.

I tried to cover what was hard or impossible to figure out about the R1C1 by reading on line, like the fact that you need the gel filter holder to attach the diffuser/reflector to the SB-R200. The kit is a better deal than buying the units seperatley, even used from KEH or B&H. I actually bought the SR-800 Command Unit after recieving the R1 kit without it. Once I realized how hard it is to adjust flash output in the camera menu I found a used Command unit from KEH. This is not a problem for your collection project since once you find correct exposure it probably won't change.

Gee, I read how long you think this project will take. This is huge! Yes, you want to get it right in-camera, not by post proccessing every shot.

Can you sell the catalog to the museum that accepts the collection? They would have to do the  same thing using staff hours and not get the same results, unless they're very good at it. Who will retain rights to the images? Who are you shooting these for and how will they use it? Can you give them limited use so that only you can resell them to others? If it's being used to market the collection you could put them up on a gallery website that preventss right click and doesn't allow copying links, like SmugMug. Anyone could view them but you would retain control, copyright and all sales rights. Just a thought. It sounds like you're doing this gratis work for family members because it is a labor of love.

2 more images: This was created last summer using an Olympus E-5, 4/3 format, with a 35-100 mm f/2 SHG lens and an EX-25, 25 mm extension tube at 100 mm (200 mm EFL). Focus was fixed with this combo so moving in and out was the only way to focus. Available sunlight at f/10 and 1/160 sec on 4/3 format, which has more DOF than FF.

Soaking up the nectar

Carpenter bees, like bumble bees, can't fly. It's physically impossible. On Mount Lukens in So Cal. There are lots of  dead pine trees from the Station Fire of August, 2009. This carpenter bee is probably building a nest in the dead wood of those sugar pine trees. Macro near 2:1. 100 mm equivalent with a ring flash, ISO 100, f/11, 1/100 sec. with E-5 and 50 mm f/2 lens.

Carpenter Bee

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dave gaines
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Re: Nikon APS-C for more DOF
In reply to labalaba, 8 months ago

labalaba wrote:

Hi Nick,

...

No, there are many photographs of single butterflies in the gallery.

Also, I think DOF will be similar regardless of focal lengths for the same field of view, as the DOF calculator will show.

Yes, I think you're right about this. I've seen it proven at longter distances.

Maybe one solution is to shoot with APS-C format, which will have more DOF for the same FL.

But in any case I do not think DOF will be limiting.

Maybe Andrew knows what he's aiming for. We don't know how much detail he needs nor how much DOF that will require.

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Photofunster
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

I've volunteered to photograph a very extensive butterfly collection. I plan to use my D600 + Nikon 105 VR lens. Has anyone any experience or suggestions?

Is IQ still good at F22 or is there a significant impact from diffraction with this combination?

I'm thinking of using a colour corrected led ring light... will this work OK? If so, should I use even lighting or offset to render more "depth" to the images?

As the collection numbers well over 10,000; throughput speed is important. Thanks in advance for your advice!

I think this should be shared this with you guys, as you have got me so enthusiastic about your project.

Plus my interest in the beautiful butterfly images already posted from sunnyArizona.

50 Fascinating Close-Up Photos of a Colourful Butterflies

http://www.pxleyes.com/blog/2012/06/butterflies-photography/

I hope you shall enjoy these pictures,. Ah-think So? I know you will Love these...

Chas

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antoineb
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f22 massively in diffraction territory! Don't go over f11
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

I've volunteered to photograph a very extensive butterfly collection. I plan to use my D600 + Nikon 105 VR lens. Has anyone any experience or suggestions?

Is IQ still good at F22 or is there a significant impact from diffraction with this combination?

I'm thinking of using a colour corrected led ring light... will this work OK? If so, should I use even lighting or offset to render more "depth" to the images?

As the collection numbers well over 10,000; throughput speed is important. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Hi TQGroup,

people should be thankful that you've volunteered to photograph over 10'000 butterflies!!!

My two cents is based on the very solid article in this link:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/resolution.shtml

Basically, this says that, even with a "perfect" lens (i.e. no loss in light transmission, etc) then for a 24x36mm sensor of 24mp:
- at f8 you're in in safe territory diffraction-wise, except for the longer light wavelengths (red) where even a perfect lens could properly feed only 19mp
- at f11 you're already losing resolution to diffraction for all light wavelengths except the shorter ones i.e. blue-violet
- at f16 you're massively losing resolution to diffraction for all light wavelengths.  Even for blue-violet a perfect lens could properly feed only 14mp (vs the D600's 24mp)

And then you have to remember that even a great lens such as the 105mm macro, is certainly not "perfect" in terms of theoretical models.  For starters, the 105mm macro loses you no less than 3.4 stops in light transmission (the very best lenses for transmission being shorter focal length primes but even they lose around 1.5 stops).

BOTTOM-LINE:  I personally wouldn't go over f11.  You must obviously be good at this if you took such an assignment, but just in case:  (1) I hope you own a lightbox, either purchased or home-made - one of these with a thin side opening to install objects can save a lot of valuable time;  (2) I'd do some testing not just w the Aperture but also with whether I can manage it in JPEG and if so whether I can play with the compression settings - could be invaluable if you could avoid having to PP a few tens of thousands of images.  Good luck.

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Peter Damroth
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Re: butterfly collection & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

TQGroup wrote:

Thank you Dave for all the invaluable information, particularly on the RC1/C1! I will definitely fully investigate this option as I will be able to work from a table.

One of my concerns is being able to "nail" the shot in the camera! Can you image going through 10,000 shots and doing a PP on each... it would be enough to "P" you right off!!:-)

I am an opportunistic macro photographer... so while hanging up the washing one morning; I know, I've already been told I'm an "old woman" before, I noticed this creature having breakfast on the clothesline. It is an Insect Assassin or Bee Eater feasting on an unknown fly.

The only possible shot was directly into the sun on a uniformly cloudy morning, and as speed was obviously of the essence, I put a " GF light sphere" on the SB910 to diffuse the light and hand held the D600 + 105 VR at F11, ISO 560 and shot i-TTL at 1/750 with spot metering and manual focus, VR on:

6274 crop sml D600 + 105 VR + SB910 + GF lightsphere F11 1/750 ISO 560 spot, manual focus, VR on HH SOOC- no PP 100% crop reduced size

Cheers Andrew

Andrew, how did you sync with the camera at 1/750 sec.?

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Peter Damroth
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Like that diffuser
In reply to labalaba, 8 months ago

labalaba wrote:

one more thought. Try a simple diffuser with your onboard flash eg this $10 item. http://www.dmkfoto.com/Diffuser_for_on_camera_flash_speedlight_p/5870.htm. If using the 105VR, you may need to remove the hood. Try it before you dismiss the idea.

Now, I like this product! I've built my own, but they aren't as easy to use as this would be.

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Peter Damroth
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Re: Like that diffuser
In reply to Peter Damroth, 8 months ago

Peter Damroth wrote:

labalaba wrote:

one more thought. Try a simple diffuser with your onboard flash eg this $10 item. http://www.dmkfoto.com/Diffuser_for_on_camera_flash_speedlight_p/5870.htm. If using the 105VR, you may need to remove the hood. Try it before you dismiss the idea.

Now, I like this product! I've built my own, but they aren't as easy to use as this would be.

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Another thought , this would also be a reasonable bounce card for shooting macro when shooting a subject that is back lit.

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PHXAZCRAIG
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Re: Nikon 105 for butterfly collection
In reply to TQGroup, 8 months ago

I've done some (live) butterfly shooting with the 105vr.   Flash helps a lot.   It's critical to get as parallel as possible to the specimen, and even then you'll have antennae going out of the focus plane.

My advice is to spend a few hours getting set up 'right'.   Finding out the best aperture (likely F16-F22), and completely controlling the lighting.

I'm not sure as to what results you'd get from ring lighting, but the 105 has enough working distance to put a couple of speedlites at 45 degree angles to nicely illuminate the subjects.   Even better if you can put together a tent or diffusion dome, or at least some diffusers over the flashes.   I do think two would be enough - don't need to carry 6 of them at least.

As for controlling the lighting, you will be working long hours at this.   If you have strong daylight coming into the scene, the lighting will be changing over time.   You want to eliminate that, and shoot in raw, so that you can apply the same color balance adjustment to the entire shoot.   In your setup, I'd start with a whibal card in there.   Later on you can use something like CaptureNX2 to take an eyedropper sample of the whibal card to get an adjustment to apply (to all subsequent shots using that lighting).  Since you'll be stopped down quite a bit, it's likely you won't have much, or any, effect from ambient lighting, but I'd still block any windows and beware of overhead flourescents.

I don't know if lighting angles are really important on butterflies, to bring out certain patterns or fluorescence.   Hopefully you don't have to be adjusting angles constantly, but can bring out a specimen, put it in the right spot, refocus on it, and get a a couple of quick shots without adjusting any lighting or camera position.

Anyone experienced shooting butterflies use a polarizer?  (With flash?)  Any usefulness there?

Bring spare batteries and a good charger (Maha) for the flash batteries.   Sounds like you'll be swapping them out a fair amount through the shoot.

Will you be shooting all the specimens against the same backdrop?  (Thinking some will show up better than others at any particular color.)

Do you have a tripod with a geared head?   Macro rail?

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TQGroup
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Re: 2 examples & R1C1 macro twin flash
In reply to dave gaines, 8 months ago

Great shots Dave and many thanks for doing all the R1/C1 research for me, its really appreciated!

As for the reward side, as the photographer I will retain copyright but I do not intend this to be a commercial proposition, nor am I even thinking about recovering my costs. It is about giving something back to the community at large and this collection has significant scientific value.

I've had discussions with The Australian Museum in Sydney and they are currently undertaking a project to digitize their collections of everything from insects to sea shells and including butterflies. They have developed a procedures manual and are using volunteers extensively. Their main interest seems to be capturing all the data associated with a specimen and less on the quality of photography. That is not my primary interest but it has us thinking!

For what it is worth to this photography forum, here is the link to their manual: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Uploads/Documents/22933/Specimen%20Training%20Compressed.pdf

Fortunately, I don't start shooting until early July in Kuala Lumpur so we have time to decide on the best way to associate the very valuable capture records with each specimen as well as making a call on just how many of the 10,000+ specimens really have to be shot in "coffee table book" quality.

Personally, I prefer to do it "right the first time" and FWIW I do not have great enthusiasm for the Museum's approach; even though I fully understand their compelling reasons for doing so as part of establishing an Australian continent-wide database that can be searched and interrogated at will by anyone so interested.

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