A few hoverflies in flight

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Chris 345 Forum Member • Posts: 93
A few hoverflies in flight
15

macrouser
macrouser Senior Member • Posts: 2,683
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

I can see at least four species.  That is very well done.  Did you use auto focus or manual?  Did you use burst mode?

 macrouser's gear list:macrouser's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sony a7R III Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS +2 more
OP Chris 345 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

macrouser wrote:

I can see at least four species. That is very well done. Did you use auto focus or manual? Did you use burst mode?

I used flash set to high speed mode, enabling shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec (camera shutter speed limit). The flash recycle time meant that I could only take single shots rather than use burst mode. I used single shot auto focus with the limiter set on the lens to prevent focus shooting off toward infinity if I missed focusing on a hoverfly. The flowers around which I took the photos were California poppies, field poppies and plantains (uncut 'lawn'). Judging by the location of hoverflies at a particular time of day, various species of plants produce their nectar at different times of day.

Chris

macrouser
macrouser Senior Member • Posts: 2,683
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

I have only resonantly started using the same method.  I use zone or wide for the focus area.  I find the camera can follow very small subjects very fast that way.

I was experimenting two nights ago with manual settings on my flash to get a faster recycle time.  At 1/8 power and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. and f11, I can use burst mode at 8 frames per second and get good exposure on all shots up to over two meters.  I haven't tested it on insects yet but am looking forward to it.

My 90 mm macro is best for that.  The sigma 150 mm macro lens is using an adapter and the focus is not that good or fast.  It might work with my FE 50 mm macro lens but I haven't tried it yet.

I like to limit my ISO to a range of 100 to 400 if possible.

 macrouser's gear list:macrouser's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sony a7R III Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS +2 more
cpharm86 Senior Member • Posts: 2,590
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

Very nice shots! I’m trying to do more macro work. Big learning curve for me to get shots like this.

John K Veteran Member • Posts: 9,245
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

Excellent set!

They are all heavily cropped though -looks good on the web but they won't print well.

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OP Chris 345 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: A few hoverflies in flight
2

macrouser wrote:

I have only resonantly started using the same method. I use zone or wide for the focus area. I find the camera can follow very small subjects very fast that way.

I was experimenting two nights ago with manual settings on my flash to get a faster recycle time. At 1/8 power and a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. and f11, I can use burst mode at 8 frames per second and get good exposure on all shots up to over two meters. I haven't tested it on insects yet but am looking forward to it.

My 90 mm macro is best for that. The sigma 150 mm macro lens is using an adapter and the focus is not that good or fast. It might work with my FE 50 mm macro lens but I haven't tried it yet.

I like to limit my ISO to a range of 100 to 400 if possible.

I have previously used manual flash set at 1/64 power for photographing water drops. The (2) flashes were fired by an electronic trigger and the camera shutter speed was set to around 1 second. The short duration of the flash was effective at freezing motion and there was no problem with a secondary, blurred image due to the long shutter speed because I worked in a darkened room.

The reason I chose to use high speed flash with a high shutter speed for photographing hoverflies in flight instead of manual flash at my camera’s highest shutter synch speed was to avoid an unsharp ‘ghost’ image caused by the ambient light. Reading your post encouraged me to try the latter method, however.

I set my flash from high speed mode to 1/64 power, which automatically lowered my camera shutter speed to 1/300sec (max synch speed). I used f11 and set the camera to servo mode and high speed continuous burst mode. This set up enabled me to shoot a number of frames continuously without waiting for the flash to recharge. Trying to track and shoot several frames of a hoverfly in flight is a new technique to me and takes some getting used to. Also, I usually use one shot focusing mode which does not allow the shutter to fire until focus is achieved, whereas servo mode allows firing before focus is achieved. I did, however, get a few sequences of 2 or more sharp images, with the longest being 10 frames. The conditions were overcast and I did not get any noticeable blurring due to the ambient light and 1/300sec shutter speed. I tried the same technique on a sunny day and my images had blurring due the bright sunlight forming an image at 1/300 sec. The situation could probably be improved by lowering the ISO setting on the camera and increasing the duration of the flash but I want to freeze motion as much as possible. Going forward, I will probably restrict my use of manual flash with servo for hoverflies in flight to overcast days.

Water drops colliding

The following sets of images were taken in burst mode, servo focusing, 1/300 sec at f11 and flash on manual 1/64 power

___________________________________________________________________________________

The following image shows blurring of the wings due to bright ambient light and 1/300 shutter speed

macrouser
macrouser Senior Member • Posts: 2,683
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

That looks worth trying more.  The water drop is spectacular and has great colors.

You got more sharp images of hover flies in flight in one session than I have taken yet.  Thanks for sharing the experience.

 macrouser's gear list:macrouser's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sony a7R III Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS +2 more
Daniel Willson New Member • Posts: 16
Re: A few hoverflies in flight

Beautiful !

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