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Buddy List Macro Challenge June - I'll Bee Seeing You

By rowarrior
Okay, well I was a big brave soldier when trying my macro shots today, as bees kept landing on my flowers, so I decided to focus on the bees instead (I have a creepy-crawly 'thing', so I really had to do a mind of matter that they were not going to land on me!). This was taken in Pollock Park in the Walled Garden while I did a care in the community trip out with my gran Wink

I've not really attmepted macro before, and don't have a macro lens, so for this I used my 50mm f1.8 + 21mm extension tube. This was the first time I really tried to use the tubes that I borrowed from Mr Scholey a month ago with a non-static subject (and even then only treid a bluebell before!). I had a go with the 13mm and 31mm tubes as well, on their own and in combination, but the 21mm seemed to work best with the bees. Some of them let me get amazingly close!

C&Cs welcome from all Smile

Tags: Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

Voters: Glostopcat, photophantom, wideangler and 22 more

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photophantom 12 108 3 Philippines
20 Jun 2009 9:15PM
superb macro
20 Jun 2009 9:26PM
I agree Great shot.
MaryMac 15 258 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2009 9:34PM
First well done for getting over your phobia of all things flying around you !
Its a very colourful shot nicely balanced with the blending of the pale lilacs and greens the bee is not totally pin sharp in focus but its very good for a first attempt. The angle of the bee sits well and I really like seeing the pollen on its head.
Overall its a good shot and I think if you took more macro shots you would soon improve with the focussing issues
Thanks for the comments on Boy George
HectorRivera 13 17 1 United States
20 Jun 2009 10:06PM
Very nice, great detail, Excellent balance and composition. Closing the lens just a tab would probabli gave you a better focus. Just play with aperture and focal point. Great job
PattiW 15 24 2 United States
20 Jun 2009 10:42PM
Whatever you did the result is terrific! Patti
Craig99999 11 19 1 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2009 11:37PM
Your braver than i am, if i get one of these things in the car i stop and jump out like a big

rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
21 Jun 2009 7:48PM
Thanks all Smile

Quote:the bee is not totally pin sharp in focus

Yes, I'd resigned myself to it not all being in focus because I was using the tubes and getting very close, but it does seem that it's his front feeler that actually caught the focus! I think I should perhaps have been using AI Servo mode, and also trying it on a less windy day, but I didn't have many days available this month unfortuntately Sad Still, I will attempt another go with these thoughts in mind sometime later in the summer Smile
harrattp 14 11 4 England
21 Jun 2009 8:56PM
Considering the limitations you have done exceptionally well.

Gaucho 19 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2009 11:47AM
Manual focusing is the only way with these critters. Set the focus then rock backwards and forwards until you get the desired effect. Good try though.

looboss 14 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2009 12:35PM
this image has an extremely narrow depth of field as such most is out of focus and cant get appreciated properly.
Also there seems far too much empty space on the left of the image.
rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
22 Jun 2009 12:45PM

Quote:Manual focusing is the only way with these critters. Set the focus then rock backwards and forwards until you get the desired effect.

Thanks, I shall give that a try

Quote:This image has an extremely narrow depth of field as such most is out of focus and cant get appreciated properly.
Also there seems far too much empty space on the left of the image.

Yes, I think I'm fairly limited with the tubes on how great a DOF I can get. I'll maybe see if my dad will lend me his baby (his Canon 100mm macro) for a while too. Will try a crop as well, thanks.
pennyspike 17 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
22 Jun 2009 7:11PM
You did so much better than I did tring to get a picture of a bee when the wind is blowing.
I gave up!

I like the way it comes into its own when seen large and the bee appears to be wiping pollen grains off its eye.

Not too keen on the bright area top left but that might redeemable if you rework the RAW file and just tone it down a little.

There is a pleasing combination of colours and for a first attempt with extension tubes I think you can be quite pleased with yourself as there always was going to be limited depth of field.
Nick_w Plus
13 4.3k 99 England
22 Jun 2009 7:55PM
Well a pretty good effort. Looks like you used a standard lens and extension tubes (great minds etc Wink ) As you know getting focus with such a set up with a moving subject is extremely difficult. I wouldnt worry about it not all being in focus so long as the eye is. I think you missed it by a fraction and its on the front antenae, although a high pass filter on a copy of the layer, set to soft light would help (the settings vary from image to image).

Penny mentioned the other problem which is the bright bit top LH corner. It can be a hnightmare in strong light at the RH end of the histogram. Some of the highlights will be retrievable in RAW, but as some ar almost white, I think you may strugle. Try using the histogram more in tricky lighting keeping the channels as close to the RH edge, without actually blowing. When in such conditions use spot metering before you home in on the bee and work in manual mode.

A great image tho well composed and I would stick at it.

rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
22 Jun 2009 8:35PM
Thanks Nick and Penny. I think I may have blown that bit at the top left myself in processing, it was within the histogram when I took it/had it in the RAW processor. I need to work on my PS skills too - so much to learn, so little time!
NEWMANP 12 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2009 4:42PM
the colours work nicely together and the whole arrangement falls into quite nice shapes. i like the big yellow band on the bee, it makes him look like Dennis The Menace.
there is a very limited dof which may or not help the overall effect but would not be great if you were making a large print. i would have liked a little more sharpness from his pokey out bits up front to the hairs on his back and possibly the wings.
a nice shot though, especially if like me, you feel dizzy looking through a macro lens.
all the best
rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
23 Jun 2009 8:33PM
Thanks Phil. Unexpectedly I may get another go tomorrow night in the same place, so I'll see if I can remember everyone's advice and try again!
Pete 19 18.8k 97 England
23 Jun 2009 11:37PM
I'm a bit late on this and everything has been said really. A brave attempt at a quite difficult macro subject as these bees never seem to stop moving around. Glad you went into true hardcore macro for the challenge - pushing yourself, that's what this is all about Smile

Your main problem is focus because depth of field is really restricted at this close range. It's safer, as a beginner in this kind of photography, to shoot from the side then there's less of a problem, you also get more of a shape of the bee.
rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
24 Jun 2009 11:56AM
Thansk Pete, I did try a range of angles, but it was a large, long bush, and I was restricted in what angle I could get the bees at. I'm going to have another go later on, so I'm going to see where I can persuade them to sit. I wonder if superglue on their little feet would work Wink
alansnap 17 577 26 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2009 9:29PM
Yeah, well done, this is damned hard to do. And no you bloody can't have my macro lens! Well, only if you ask me really nicely and I'm doing something where I'll not need it - such as when I'm walking the West Highland Way in September.



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