Nice hair!

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 8,903
Re: Nice hair!

Gary from Seattle wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

Gary from Seattle wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

It's certainly challenging with subjects that don't stay long in one place, the more so when a breeze is moving the plants around, so well done capturing those images.

Thanks; it takes a lot of patience and luck because of DOF and the necessary difficulty of targeting.

Gary from Seattle wrote:

Manual focus would be futile with the changing focus distance and shallow DOF.

I used autofocus for over a decade and never really got on with manual focus on the few occasions when I tried it. But then I moved to a manual focus only setup. To my surprise it has turned out that manual focus is giving me better focusing success than I got with autofocus, including some quite small subjects (2mm or so long) as they are moving around or what they are on is moving in the breeze, or sometimes both. I think it is focus peaking that is making the difference.

I use focus peaking and manual focus on plants, vascular, and bryophytes; but with bees I don't think this would work for me shooting at F8 on m4/3. The DOF at around 8" is supposed to be 2mm. Often, I will target the bee, press to get AF (very fast) but as I go to full press of the shutter, the bee has moved and I don't even shoot. I think BBF could help here, increasing the odds of a lucky shot.

I am finding that timing is key. This is with manual focus. My hands shake and especially at higher magnifications the subject is continually going in and out of focus, as I can see from the focus peaking (most of the time - sometimes there is no focus peaking signal at all, and most of the rest of the time the signal is very weak).

I have been practicing and practicing with the shutter button held half pressed (so there is the minimum time needed to activate the shutter), and getting a "feel" for how the random element of the in and out of focus is going, and often also deliberately moving the camera back and forth around the focus point which can give more predictability to the timing of in and out of focus. I'm practicing the timing of the shots to coincide with an instant that the focus peaking signal is showing. I obviously still get a lot of failures, the more so as subject size decreases and subject motion increases, but with continuing practice I'm finding that my success rate is improving, and is I think already significantly better than I was getting with autofocus.

Well, that is interesting and similar to what I do with plants. I think, if you are able to do this that you would be slightly quicker than acquiring AF.

It feels that way. It probably depends on the camera and the type of AF, but with my systems focus acquisition time can be variable. And with anything other than an almost instant response there is time enough for my hand movement to have taken the camera away from the focus it has set. This is especially the case as I get towards 8:1, which is a 4.5mm x 3mm scene, and the subject bobs around a huge amount in (sometimes out of) the frame. Couple the hand movement with a subject that is moving around and/or is on something that is moving around in the breeze, and it gets .... interesting.

But, I'd suppose, that basically you would have to specify a focusing distance and then adjust to get that distance.

I think of it as adjusting the framing/magnification and then adjust to get the focus.

There is so little time to shoot before a bee (in warm temperatures) moves. I'l try that. I would not ordinarily be able to adjust MF - just move slightly to try to obtain the shot.

Yes, that is what I do. Another thing I do sometimes is to adjust the focus very slightly back and forth to go in and out of focus. I find this too can help with predictability of the in-focus instant. I'm not sure under what circumstance I use camera motion back and forth and what circumstances for focus ring back and forth. Perhaps it is just ... I don't know, intuitive? random?  I just find myself doing one or the other, without thinking about it. Anyway, it works quite nicely sometimes.

I think about 8" is about it as far as close focusing - at least for me. Certain bees - Colletes - are less tolerant of close approach. They clearly see me.

As I said in the post above, I think the key for me is anticipating what the bee is likely to do so I can get a good composition, but the bee doesn't always/often do what I want. I target way more often than I shoot. When I shoot, I then shoot a short burst of 2-3 frames. Sometimes one of those frames is lucky.

But this whole thing is a whale of a lot of fun and looking through the EVF, I get to watch some fascinating and sometimes quite funny behavior. It might be, if done right, that some short video clips would be very entertaining.

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