Critter Mix

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Critter Mix
7

We're still not out of lock down, so I've been limited to shooting macro just in my back yard. Fortunately I've planted enough flowers to attract a variety of critters, and I've ordered some and had them delivered to my front door.

I bought a kit so I could raise a few Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio machaon) and this is a frame with the Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens set to just under 4x.

I shot a video of the "field studio" that I used to photograph this critter.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (almost 4x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

Before sundown I went for a walk in my yard to see if I could find something to point the camera at and I spotted this European Wool Carder Bee snoozing in one of my Sunflowers. They normally emerge when the weather is very warm, so I haven't seen many of them yet.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (over 2x) + a diffused MT-26EX RT (E-TTL metering). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

Every time I cast a shadow over this mating pair of Ladybugs the female would start running. So I had to keep letting the sun hit her so she'd stop and then rapidly frame, focus, and take the shot before she started moving. I got six frames before she moved to a spot where I couldn't photograph her and only two of them were usable.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/50, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (around 2x) + a diffused MT-26EX RT (E-TTL metering with -1/3 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Sharpen AI and Clarity in that order.

There wasn't enough wind so this Sweat Bee felt me grab onto the stem of the Sourgrass Flower that it was foraging in and climbed to the top of it to investigate. But when it did it was facing away from me. So I carefully turned the flower so that the critter was facing the camera. Gotta be gentle, cause I didn't want to spook the bee into taking off and I didn't want to damage the flower. I managed to get the shot and leave the both the critter and the Sourgrass unharmed.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (over 2x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

I watched this Sweat Bee foraging for pollen in a Sunflower and tried to predict where it was going to be and the angle I needed to get as much depth as possible. Then I focused on an anther and waited for her to start stripping out the pollen. She was moving so fast I could only get one shot before I had to set up on another anther. Lots of deleted frames.

This one is still a work in progress, since I'm trying to get a shot without anything in the foreground to distract the viewer from the subject. Several years ago I taught myself to do all of the framing and composition with my peripheral vision. If I took the time to look around the viewfinder the subject will have moved before I can look back at it. By using my peripheral vision I don't have to take my concentration off of where I want the focus to start and that's how I can track a moving subject with the camera, even up to 5x mag. I also don't have to center every shot and then crop in post. Twisting my wrists to lay the area of acceptable focus over as much of the critter as possible is also automatic now.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-26EX RT (E-TTL metering). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

Here's another frame that I took yesterday, same situation as the one above where I'm tracking a hyperactive female as she forages fro Sunflower pollen.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-26EX RT (E-TTL metering). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

The downside to shooting into a yellow flower is that it acts as a reflector, bouncing very warm light back to the subject that's only reduced by roughly one stop.Easy to keep from crushing the shadows, but it makes adjusting the white balance and tint a bit of a pain.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
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Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

Canon EOS 80D Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro
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gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 7,561
Re: Critter Mix

Super set John. I'm especially impressed with the illumination on the ladybirds/ladybugs.

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

gardenersassistant wrote:

Super set John. I'm especially impressed with the illumination on the ladybirds/ladybugs.

Thanks!

I ordered a second set of the diffusers that Canon supplies with the MT26EX RT (had to call their parts ordering number). I have a new idea for a diffuser, but I didn't want to dismantle my current one. Should be getting them next week.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 7,561
Re: Critter Mix

John K wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

Super set John. I'm especially impressed with the illumination on the ladybirds/ladybugs.

Thanks!

I ordered a second set of the diffusers that Canon supplies with the MT26EX RT (had to call their parts ordering number). I have a new idea for a diffuser, but I didn't want to dismantle my current one. Should be getting them next week.

If in due course you are inclined to share any thoughts about your new idea that would be good.

Actually, I would appreciate the chance to get your thoughts on some issues I am running into with diffusion for my new setup. However, I don't want to hijack this thread. Perhaps best if I start a new thread.

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

gardenersassistant wrote:

John K wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

Super set John. I'm especially impressed with the illumination on the ladybirds/ladybugs.

Thanks!

I ordered a second set of the diffusers that Canon supplies with the MT26EX RT (had to call their parts ordering number). I have a new idea for a diffuser, but I didn't want to dismantle my current one. Should be getting them next week.

If in due course you are inclined to share any thoughts about your new idea that would be good.

Actually, I would appreciate the chance to get your thoughts on some issues I am running into with diffusion for my new setup. However, I don't want to hijack this thread. Perhaps best if I start a new thread.

Nick I'd be happy to help -please start a new thread and I'll give you my .02.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 7,561
Re: Critter Mix

John K wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

John K wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

Super set John. I'm especially impressed with the illumination on the ladybirds/ladybugs.

Thanks!

I ordered a second set of the diffusers that Canon supplies with the MT26EX RT (had to call their parts ordering number). I have a new idea for a diffuser, but I didn't want to dismantle my current one. Should be getting them next week.

If in due course you are inclined to share any thoughts about your new idea that would be good.

Actually, I would appreciate the chance to get your thoughts on some issues I am running into with diffusion for my new setup. However, I don't want to hijack this thread. Perhaps best if I start a new thread.

Nick I'd be happy to help -please start a new thread and I'll give you my .02.

Thanks John. Will do.

MLWestphal Regular Member • Posts: 220
Re: Critter Mix

Nice shots. Were they ALL alive?

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Enjoy playing with photography...landscape, astronomical, wildlife (especially insects and spiders).

 MLWestphal's gear list:MLWestphal's gear list
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OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

MLWestphal wrote:

Nice shots. Were they ALL alive?

Every single one. I have a lot of experience shooting active subjects. Took this shot yesterday:

This Sweat Bee was foraging for nectar in a Sunflower and while I was tracking it with the camera it "paused" for a brief second to do some antenna maintenance.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-26EX RT (E-TTL metering). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. In post I used Topaz Denoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Clarity in that order.

Not only obviously alive but also moving.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

MLWestphal Regular Member • Posts: 220
Re: Critter Mix
1

Very cool shot, yes I have an in flight somewhere that shows that behavior.

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Enjoy playing with photography...landscape, astronomical, wildlife (especially insects and spiders).

 MLWestphal's gear list:MLWestphal's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS Canon EOS 80D Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM +9 more
richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,044
Re: Critter Mix

Very impressive technique!

Do you know the species of sweat bee? Perhaps one whose distribution includes your area.

Thanks,

-Richard

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 richj20's gear list:richj20's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Leica 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH Panasonic FZ1000 Sony a7R II
OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

richj20 wrote:

Very impressive technique!

Do you know the species of sweat bee? Perhaps one whose distribution includes your area.

Thanks,

-Richard

Thanks!

Not sure cause it's difficult to find someone familiar with the critters in this area. To add insult to injury I have at least three distinct species. All of them look very similar and only really varying in size. Here's one of the smaller ones: There wasn't enough wind so this Sweat Bee felt me grab onto the stem of the Sourgrass Flower that it was foraging in and climbed to the top of it to investigate. But when it did it was facing away from me. So I carefully turned the flower so that the critter was facing the camera. Gotta be gentle, cause I didn't want to spook the bee into taking off and I didn't want to damage the flower. I managed to get the shot and leave the both the critter and the Sourgrass unharmed.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (over 2x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

stevendillonphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,228
Re: Critter Mix

Nice series (as usual).  I like the 4th one the best.

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Steven Dillon - Capturing Nature's Art - http://www.stevendillonphoto.com

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

stevendillonphoto wrote:

Nice series (as usual). I like the 4th one the best.

Thanks!

I set out to really document those Sweat Bees in Sourgrass flowers this year. Was hoping to get another chance at a composition like this one, taken last year:

I like everything about that shot except for not getting all of the wing in the frame. This is the closest I could get to that composition this year:

So I'll be trying again next year. It's tough to nail the framing when I'm tracking a moving subject.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

DNSJR
DNSJR Veteran Member • Posts: 3,258
Re: Critter Mix

excellent series John, #4 my favorite

 DNSJR's gear list:DNSJR's gear list
Sony a6300 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS +2 more
OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 8,616
Re: Critter Mix

DNSJR wrote:

excellent series John, #4 my favorite

Thanks!

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: http://www.extrememacro.com
My gallery: http://www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/4122501/Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

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