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Macro fly photos


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16 replies to this topic

#1 longrodder

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 02:36 PM

Hello all.  I'm new to photography, in a way.... lets say I'm not very good at this point.  ..and I'm trying to get some good macro shots of flies with a completely white background.  So far i'm not having too much luck with getting the pure white color for the backdrop.  Is this a trick in the photo editing software or is my lighting not right?  I'm using sort of a homemade "light tent" with tissue paper as a light filter on a white card.  I have a basic Nikon setup with a regular 18-55 lens on a macro setting.  Nothing fancy but it should work.   I'm having an especially hard time with all black flies coming in focus ... 

 

Also I scanned though the topics a ways and didn't see anything right off, but if this has already been discussed in another post, just point and I'll find it eventually

 

Thanks all

 

Dave


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#2 rockworm

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 03:10 PM

The white background is a good way to monitor your "white balance." If it doesn't look right then either your light source is not the right temperature (I think daylight is about 4500k) or your camera settings need to be changed. If you are using flood lights, make sure to use daylight bulbs and set the camera to "daylight" lighting.* (You probably also want to turn the flash off.)

 

If you are having trouble focussing on your fly you probably want to set your camera to "manual focus." The automatic focus on some cameras isn't very accurate at short distances.

 

It can be a real challenge to get the right exposure for a small black subject against a white background. Your camera's AUTO exposure will probably not give good results. Use the MANUAL setting and take multiple shots with a good range of exposures.

 

* In some cameras you can save your picture files with the "RAW" setting and you can adjust the colour balance later.



#3 Crackaig

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 05:42 PM

Rockworm about sums it up, though, it is easy but expensive to work out the correct exposure. Simply use a separate light meter and measure the light falling onto the subject (not reflected light as your camera does). This is usually taken off by placing a translucent cover over the meter's sensor.

Alternatively get a 72% grey card (any good photographic shop for not very much), and place it by the fly and take the reading off that.

Cheers,

C.


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#4 mikechell

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 07:06 PM

One thing I've noticed ... trying to take macro shots of a 3-D item like a fly doesn't work every time.  Macro shots do not give a deep field of view.

Sometimes, it's better to back off a bit and zoom in a little.  Zoom compresses the depth of field and brings more into focus.


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#5 longrodder

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Posted 14 June 2016 - 10:57 PM

Thanks all for the replies. That helps out a lot.  I'm changing the lights out first.  I'll try the daylight bulbs and the daylight setting.  I've been using a manual focus and the auto function with the macro settings.  Sometimes it works, not always.  I do think I will back up a little and use the zoom.  The depth of field is pretty tight on some patterns I'm trying to get. 


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#6 rockworm

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 05:20 AM

You can easily increase your depth of field by using a large f-stop (small aperature) and increasing the exposure time. (Good flood lights can minimize the exposure time.) Stabilize your camera with a tripod and use the shutter timer to prevent vibrations.



#7 BBBruce77

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 05:19 PM

The zoom idea is totally wrong a longer focal length decreases your depth of field. To increase your depth of field stop the lens down to its minimum aperature, such as f/32 or f/22 and adjust the exposure. Use "A" setting or aperature preferred setting if available on your camera.



#8 mikechell

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 07:26 PM

We'll just have to disagree on that, Bruce.

When I was into photography, I use to take very good flower and bug shots by using a macro lens and zooming in on the subject.

 

Unfortunately, that was back in the 80's and it was all film ... nothing digital.


Barbed hooks rule!
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Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis
 


#9 FlaFly

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 08:35 PM

Same here.  I used a Canon EOS with a zoom lens to get nice "closeup" of butterflies, birds, etc., from clear across the yard.  All the junk in the background would be out of focus, except for the limb they were perched on.  Gave a great effect.

 

I'd post one, but that was back in the film days, and I never have digitized them.


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#10 Kentuckysteve

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 09:59 PM

Place an 18% grey card in the same spot as your fly and in the same light.Take a photo of the grey card.Be sure the photo is completely filled with the grey card.Then in your cameras settings choose custom white balance.Use the photo of the grey card for your custom white balance.

 

You could also zoom in on your white background and do the same.Just be sure there is nothing except the white in the photo and use it for the custom white balance.

 

If you are using the 18-55mm kit lens that came with your camera it has a minimum focus distance of about 11 inches so be sure you are not trying to take the photo closer than this.

 

Use a tripod and the cameras timer so you do not cause blur pushing the button.May also want to use the mirror lockup function if your camera has it.It will also prevent a lot of blur.

 

You did not say what lights you are using.You may need to increase the lighting and instead of positioning the lights on both sides of the fly,place them a little more towards the front so they highlight the fly more if you are not doing this already.

 

Also you may look up exposure compensation (+/- button on your camera) on youtube.This works great when the background is lighter and overpowering the subject in the photo.


There is no greater fan of fly fishing........Than the worm. -  Patrick F. McManus


#11 longrodder

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 03:58 PM

Hey thanks everyone for all the input.  I got a little busy with stuff but I got back to it a couple days ago and my results are getting better.  I think the lighting is the key to what I've been getting and I increased the distance a little and used the zoom to see if there's a difference.  If I figure out how to post pictures I'll show some of the results.  Getting there but still not perfect.  But of course I'm never satisfied so thats how it goes.... 

Tomorrow I'm off to Idaho so I'll be back at this again next week

 

D


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http://theeyeofthefly.com

 


#12 Chris_NH

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 05:21 AM

I like to use natural sunlight in our livingroom. Gives me way better results than I got with the 3 or 4 light setups I tried.

 

I bought a 99 cent opaque/frosty shower curtain liner that I drape over a fly rod going from the couch to the chair. I get under it like a tentt with the object and background. Can't remember the camera settings right now, got the proper ones off a forum, but it's macro mode, and one of the settings is 400.

 

Anyhow, the keys are keeping camera perfectly still and making sure you're in focus. On my camera it's tapping the button once. And you don't want to be in direct hard sunlight or you'll still get small shadows, so just out of direct sunlight but still where it's bright is best.  I use a blue file folder as background most of the time and the results are pretty good.



#13 Decisions

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 09:31 PM

I use my Samsung S6 cell phone. Point and shoot on a piece of white paper folded with a florescent light.

 

Far from being high tech but works for me!

 

add147.jpg

fishingbobnelson.jpg

jjs89yj.jpg


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#14 BBBruce77

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 06:10 PM

Those are pretty impressive in that they were taken with a cell phone.



#15 mikechell

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Posted 09 July 2016 - 09:00 PM

Those are great photos, Decisions!


Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis