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Styrofoam Cup Fly Photography

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11 replies to this topic

#1 SilverCreek


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:52 AM

Here's portable "quick and dirty" photography method I learned from Bruce Norikane. 


Cut a hole in the side of a styrofoam cup for an electrical clip or a clip hackle plier as a fly holder. 


Cut a hole in the base of the cup to fit around the lens (cup on the left) or just cut out the enter base of the cup (cup on the left). Put the cup and camera on a table and shine a frosted fluorescent light on the cup.


The styrofoam cup acts as a light tent to diffuse the light for even illumination. I cut a few more holes to let in more light which bounces off of the curved opposite inside surface for more illumination.






The photos below were taken using the macro zoom mode of my Panasonic Lumix waterproof camera. It has a Leica lens and can take amazing photos for a pocket camera. 










If your camera has macro zoom ability, I suggest using it to frame the fly to your liking. I use a back or white craft foam for a background depending on the fly I am shooting.


I can take or even make a cup quickly to take photos of flies at fly tying events. I use the tiers own lamp and they are generally amazed at the photo quality. It is a wonderful way to capture a fly you want to tie later.




"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy


#2 fishingbobnelson


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 11:52 AM

Great idea and good explanation to go with it.

“The thing about fishing is that it gives a man hope.  Each cast builds a little hope and if he can lose himself to that hope, then the worries and the heartache fade into the background.  The wind inside him dies down for a while”

The Royal Wulff Murders, by Keith McCafferty


Fishing Bob

#3 flytire


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:26 PM

definately interesting but not the ONLY way of photographing flies

flies seem too dark for my eyes

Fly tyers sure have a way at making things difficult

#4 muskyhunter81


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:51 PM

Great Idea.

#5 Kirk Dietrich

Kirk Dietrich

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 01:35 PM

Nice shots, even lighting for sure.

Every now and then, I'll make a video, wish I could find time to do more; here is the link:

I've got a few folders with photos of flies, these get more updates than my videos:


#6 fshng2


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 05:48 PM

Very useful and Well written article.

#7 utyer


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 10:39 PM

Good idea for small flies.  I use a Clorox bottle that I cut a window into, and then cut the end to fit over my tying lamp.  The lamp is a daylight fl bulb.  I then use photo editing software to adjust the contrast, and color balance if necessary.   Then I crop out as much of the background as I can.  Finally, I make sure the image is re-sized to not more than a 1024.  

"We have met the ememy, and he is us." Pogo by Walt Kelly



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Posted 12 September 2014 - 07:40 AM

definately interesting but not the ONLY way of photographing fliesflies seem too dark for my eyes

The dark exposure on the fly is due to "auto" setting,,,, if your camera has "manual" or exposure compensation settings you can adjust easily. The "auto" setting is exposing for the light colored background,,, not the subject fly.

Neat idea, thanks for posting the coffee cup.


#9 flyoloco.com


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Posted 12 September 2014 - 07:59 AM

Great idea. I like the travel idea.

#10 ditz2


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Posted 12 September 2014 - 08:58 AM

That is a great idea for small flies but should also work on a larger scale. Also a perfect explanation on the reason for under exposure of the fly.  At least some of the pocket cameras also have a way to hold an exposure setting on a darker object then moving to the actual exposure position. Just point the camera to a darker background and partially push the shutter release and then point at the desired object. Usually the distance needs to be the same because it also holds the focus distance.

#11 RCFetter


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Posted 12 September 2014 - 11:41 AM

That's amazing.  I'll have to try it out.

#12 Kimo


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Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:19 PM