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By Overread  
f13, ISO 200, 1/200sec

Reading can be a challenge when the words are so big!

Setup:
Taken with Canon 400D, Sigma 70mm macro and sigma 1.4 teleconverter. Camera and lens arranged on a single focusing rail (cheap ebay rail) which was attached to a Manfrotto Junior Geared Head and then onto a set of tripod legs.
Lighting was a 580 EX2 with lumiquest softbox mounted on an offcamera flash cord and held from an above position with the flash head directed slightly toward the front of the insect.

The insect itself was slightly cool (naturally) and just happened to be in the room at the time. It was placed onto the book where it eventually settled somewhere (I honestly didn't pose it right over that word, I just let it move itself around till it came still - a thing which made focusing tricky when it would suddenly get up and go).

edit: any advice on dealing with the reflections of the flash and softbox on the insects back would be most welcome. I;ve tried making the softbox itself larger, but it still showing. Is the next stage to move it further away or do I have to go all the way toward lightboxes to get smooth flashbased lighting on such a subject? (I would prefer not to have to use a box as whilst in this shot it would not have been a problem it does pose more limitations outside - and further increases setup time).

Tags: Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.

Comments


Wonderful macro shot! Focusing is spot on!
Vinai

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metro074 6 8 Australia
18 Jan 2010 4:23AM
Good macro shot. Well done
Carol
LilyWren 6 7 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 6:26AM
Wonderful shot. Love the title too, made me smile!
Smile

Melanie
paulbroad 9 117 1079 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 9:15AM
My kind of thing, so I appreciate it. Very difficult to do well, but you have done just that. A lot of work but worth it. Flash beautifully handled.

Didn't know the Sigma converter fitted the 70mm? Obviously does.

Paul
CathR 9 151 564 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2010 10:15AM
This shot shows well how little depth of field you get with macro shots Alex even though you have got quite a small aperture. It's a nice idea and definitely made me smile on a foggy Monday morning.

Best wishes

Catherine
FredF 10 1 France
18 Jan 2010 10:43AM
superbly shot.

Fred
Overread 8 4.1k 19 England
18 Jan 2010 2:47PM
Many thanks all Smile
Paul - yes both the sigma 1.4 and 2* teleconverters will fit to the 70mm macro - the join is even very smooth with no forcing needed.
arhb Plus
9 3.2k 68 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 2:18PM
Just a thought, but maybe a thin grey cloth over the soft box would lessen the reflection.
Also try to fit a deflector inside the softbox to deflect the main beam of light out and onto the reflected surface of the softbox, instead of straight through the front fabric (I dont know if this is fitted already, as part of the softbox - I would like to know either way, as I'm thinking of getting one for my flashgun).
strawman 13 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 2:23PM
Given your set up I would think of bouncing the light even more, sat having a piece of white card/paper above the insect and bouncing the light down.
Overread 8 4.1k 19 England
21 Jan 2010 3:53PM
Thanks Arhb and Staw.
The idea of using a deflector is something that I have seen in some of the larger softboxes (studio sized ones) but only ever seen it being used in one custom smaller softbox. The Lumiquest sofboxes don't have any deflector fitting, though they do have a thicker fabric section to the middle of the front of the flash - so as to lessen the light from the very middle.
I'll give some thought to making and fitting some form of custom deflector into the softbox though - it could prove very interesting to see the results of such!

Straw - just to comfirm but when you say break the light up even more do you mean shoot with the sofbox at the reflective paper or to use the flashhead bare onto the paper? The idea of bounclight is something I should be looking more into (esp now I have a 30cm reflector to actually use)
User_Removed 14 7.3k 6 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 4:16PM
Personally, I think there is a little too much foreground. I think a crop to just below the main 'word' would be better.. might upload a mod just to see if that IS the case.

Other than that, very nice (where did you get a ladybird that was that big and could read Wink):
arhb Plus
9 3.2k 68 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 4:45PM
A cheaper and easier way to lessen the cenre spot light would be to make a ~4inch circle out of white gaffa tape, and stick it to the inside of the softbox front cover at the centre.
naturenut 13 1.8k England
21 Jan 2010 4:45PM
I think it's a harlequin,
in which case it may have the family lurking somewhere indoors as well Wink
zanzibarwinds 13 205 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 6:09PM
Nice photo Alex and welcome to EPZ. Bumped into you on flickr btw
dlegros 14 217 England
21 Jan 2010 8:16PM
It's a great shot, wonderfully focussed but I think I agree with Barrie about the crop.

As a demonstration of limited depth of field - it's ideal, but artistically, I think the FG is a little distracting.

As for the softbox reflections, I think it's already been said, bounce the light around more.

Great shot though.

Dom
Paintman Plus
10 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 8:51PM
I felt a crop would distill the message and focus more on the word and the bug. I straightened the image then increased the contrast selectively. I also selectively sharpened and blurred the image.

Your camera's sensor is due for a clean. It looks like my hoover's dust bagSmile

Alan.
Overread 8 4.1k 19 England
21 Jan 2010 9:45PM
Meggsy - yep there is a small army of them hiding out behind the computer at home- sadly I got told this fact after I got back to uni so no chance to get pics of the army.

Thanks for the mod Paintman and for the cropping suggestions Dlegros - I have to say whilst I was thinking of cropping the shot to move the insect more into the upper right corner a bit more the foreground areas were something that I didn't consider adjusting at all.
The contrast enhancement is also telling me that this monitor is really not that good at all - I've had some say that the shot looked a little underexposed and your boost to contrast is really much stronger than I thought the shot needed based on the image I get through this screen. I'll have to play around with getting used to this cheap LCD some more it seems.
Paintman Plus
10 1.2k 177 United Kingdom
21 Jan 2010 10:21PM
I've rechecked the histogram and there is little shadow and highlight clipping. It looks fine on my monitor. The contrast isn't OTT, just enough to add impact to the bug.

Regards, Alan.

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