Cucumber Beetles

Sometimes it is fun to go out in the yard or fields to see what subjects you can find close at home. I look to see if there are any interesting bugs to photograph. Usually I look for dragonflies, but any insects will do. Here are a series of Cucumber Beetles. I was using a Sigma 150mm macro lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 7D. I  also used a flash with diffusion to add some fill light to lighten the shadow areas to give a more even light on the images.

Cuccumber_Bug_v1_150mm_1_4X_filFlsh_7DCuccumber_Bug_150mm_1_4X_f11_FilFlsh_7D_MG_9095Bug_Yard_v2B_150mm1_4x_7D_f11_FilFlash_MG_9077Cuccumber Beetle_v1_150mm_1_4X_7dCuccumber_Bug_v2_150mm_1_4X_Fil_flsh_7D_MG_9043

Odd Bug Under A Leaf

I was going through old backup drives cleaning out images to make more room and came across this odd bug image from years ago. Do not know what it is, but it is definitely different looking. Images taken with a Sigma 150mm macro with a Canon 1.4X teleconverter on a Canon 7D. I was also using some fill light in the shadows with a flash dialed down and more diffusion added to the flash head to just give a little more light on the subject as it was under the leaf.

Bug_yard_150mm_1_4X_7D_Fil_Flsh_MG_9109

Bug_v2_150mm_1_4X_Fil_Flsh_7d_MG_9047

Common Whitetail Female Dragonfly Wing Closeup

A macro shot closeup of a wing section from a female Common Whitetail Dragonfly. Image taken with a Sigma 150mm macro lens @ f/14.

 

Female Lily Pad Forktail Damselfly Focus Stack @ 150mm

This Damselfly image is made from 12 handheld images, focused at 12 different points along the body of a Female Lily Pad Forktail Damselfly. Images shot with a Sigma 150mm macro lens @ f/4 to keep the background smooth and uncluttered looking. I loaded the 12 images into one layered Photoshop and let Photoshop blend the sharpest elements from each layer together for the final image.

 

Damselfly 8 Image Focus Stack

When I was photographing this Damselfly, I decided to shoot with the aperture wide open. I wanted a very smooth background to highlight the Damselfly and the water drops and keep a smooth background. So I shot a series of 8 images focusing on the Damselfly and the water drop covered stem. I shot a series focused on 8 different focus points, going from left to right. I was using a Sigma 150mm Macro with a 2x teleconverter. With the 2x teleconverter on my 150mm f/2.8 lens, my maximum (Aperture) f/stop was f/5.6 wide open.  (With a 2x teleconverter you loose 2 stops). I loaded the 8 images into 1 Photoshop layered file and used Photoshop to automatically align the 8 layers in the file. Next I used Photoshop to automatically pick the the sharpest areas & soft background areas in each layer for the final image. I saved that file in case I need to make minor touch ups here or there. After that I flattened the layers for my final image.

Bleeding Heart Panorama & Focus-Stacking For Smoother Backgrounds

After a heavy rain the other day I went out to see if I could find some interesting subjects with water drops to photograph. I wanted to use Image Stacking for more detail in the water drops and main subjects, but still have softer backgrounds. This is one of the first subjects I came upon. I was using a Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon R. These are all handheld because it was difficult to get the view I wanted using a tripod. The featured image is 13 images shot from left to right @ f/2.8.  Each image in the panorama series is manually focused for the area needed in focus as I shot along the subject to keep a softer cleaner looking background.

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 4.41.50 PM

Bleeding Heart_8img stk f11_v1

8 image handheld panorama focused stacked stopping down to  f/11  – giving a much busier looking background

Water_Drops_v2_2img stk_f16_ISO2000

18 image stack @ f/8

Water_Drops_v1_150mm_f16_ISO_2000_8img

8 image Focus Stack – f/16

RainDrops 12img_D_f8_12img_Stk_v5

12 Image Focus Stack @ f/8

RainDrops 9img D-18_9img Stk_v3a

9 Image Focus Stack f/5.6

RainDrops v2_150mm _7img pano f8_800ISO

7 Image Stack @ f/8

RainDrops_18img f_8_v2_150mm stack

18 image stack @ f/8 for a much wider focus range.

Image Stacking For Detail With Soft Backgrounds

Quite often I use Image Stacking techniques for my macro images. This works best if you are using a longer macro lens for shallower depth of field & softer cleaner backgrounds. I shot with the lens wide open and take images starting from the closest area I want in focus & ending where I want the background to go softer. The image I chose for this blog is one I photographed years ago. It was photographed using a tripod with a Sigma 150mm Macro lens & 1.4x Canon Teleconverter.  I also went a little overboard on layers, but because I was using a 150mm lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter I shot more focus points than usual. I ended up with 44 images in this stack. But shooting @ f/2.8 & adding the 1.4x teleconverter it was actually f/4 (Wide Open). I started from the bottom of the image & worked my way up to the top. You can also not use all the layers if you want to select where the softness ends or begins. Here I purposely ended where I wanted it to end. You can also use a smaller aperture / larger f/stop number to use less images for the stack but I like the smoother background.

I then load all the images into one Photoshop layered file and select all layers.

A) Under Edit – chose Auto Align Layers

Screen Shot aaa

Screen Shot bb

(B) then select Edit – Auto-Blend Layers – for final blending.

Below is Final Blended file on the top layer in Photoshop with all the sharpest sections of each Layer (masked) below the final layer.

 

Screen Shot b

I use this technique with my macro images mainly to get the greatest detail on my main subject and the softest backgrounds behind them. You can also control how much sharpness you have on your subject and where the softness starts. With practice the results get more reliable for what you are envisioning when you are photographing them. Also you can change your mind after you captured the series and have the detail or less detail where you want it while you are adjusting your files.

image 1

First Image in Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macro Sampler

WARNING _ LONG POST!!

Being we are not supposed to be out and about, especially here in NJ, I thought these images would give some an inspiration to see what you can find interesting to photograph in their own yards or close to home. You can post yours so we can see what is happening in others areas. They closed all the Parks and other outdoor spaces here and limit travel basically only for food & essentials. They are even limiting the amount of people in the stores. So here are some macro images I have taken in my own yards over the years with different types of cameras and lenses. I tend to use a variety of cameras, lenses & different types of m43 and Canon Cameras. Many times for macro images I adapt older Canon FD manual focus lenses on my m43 Panasonic or Olympus Cameras. Doing this I get an approximate FOV of 2X on these manual focus lenses plus get a longer working distance to my subjects and with increased depth of field (in simple terms). It is fun to see what you can come up with. The featured Damselfly image is taken with a Canon FD 200mm f/4 macro lens on a m43 camera. My most used FD macro is the 200mm because it gives me a longer working distance to my subjects. The following sampler of macro images are with both m43 Cameras and Full Frame Canon Cameras for an interesting Macro Mix.

Blue Dasher v2 CU 2img stk

Blue Dasher Head Shot – 200mm Canon FD Macro on m43 Camera (Full Frame Equivalent View – FOV ~400mm)

Praying_Mantis_2img stk_v4_150mm_w1_4X_210mm_6400_ISO_76A4856

Praying Mantis Portrait – 150mm Macro Canon R

Eastern Pondhawk V3_MG_2625

Eastern Pondhawk – 200mm Canon FD lens on m43 Camera (Full Frame FOV ~400mm)

Blue Dasher_v2_f16_420mm_DM 6_19_76A0627 copy

Blue Dasher, Male – 300mm Canon EF lens with 1.4X Teleconverter

WaterDrop_web_2img blend

Water Drop Panorama – 2 images, 200mm Canon f/4 FD Lens, m43 Camera

Water_Drop_stk v4

Water Drops After Rain – 3 image Panorama, 200mm Canon FD lens – Panasonic m43 body

 

H Dandelion v1 6img 200mm

6 image Focus Stack & Pano –  200mm f/4 FD Canon Lens on Panasonic m43 Body

Dandelion Natures Fireworks v2 7img stk

Dandelion 7 image Pano & Image Stack, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 body

Dandelion stk 5 img a1

Dandelion 5 image Image Stack for more Depth of Field, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 body

Spider 6 img stk m43 200mmFD v2

6 image, 200mm Canon FD macro, Panasonic m43 Body

Water_drops_flower_v1_MG_7659

1 shot, Canon FD 200mm Macro, Water Drop, Panasonic m43 Body

water drops leaf_MG_7897

200mm, Single Image – Aligned camera so I was shooting straight in to subject eliminating the need for stacking multiple images.

_MG_7679 v2

Water Drops – Single Image

Blue Dasher FM v4 yd_MG_9828

Female Blue Dasher Head Shot – 100mm Canon FD macro lens

Damselfly v3 DM 7 17_MG_8691

Damselfly – 200mm FD Canon Macro lens

Lily 9img stk v2Lum 150macro + 1_4X f4

Flower detail – 200mm Macro lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

Day Lily aftr Rain 6 17 v2

Day Lily After Rain – FD 200mm, m43 Camera

Dandelion 4img stk v2

4-images stacked in CC Photoshop, 150mm macro @ f/8

 

bud Tree wat_dropYard 6 17 v2 m43_200FD_1400394

Starburst on bud, 200mm FD on m43 Panasonic Camera

Milkweed bug eggs_onleaf v2 6 17_43G4555

Milkweed bug eggs on leaf – Panasonic m43

Day Lily stamen v1 shrt stk

Day Lily Stamen v1 – Short Stack (2 images) for softer background

Rain dropstack 3_10img

Water Drops after the Rain – 10 images @200mm m43 Olympus Camera

Raindrops 21 3img v2

3 image Short Stack – @200mm m43 Olympus Camera

Feather v1 DM v2 2017_43G7187

Single Shot – 200mm @ f/4 for Softer Background

raindrop-v1_1080512

Water Drop On Leaf – 50mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

raindrops-v1_1080610

 

catepillar-v3-lg-2016

lady-bug-v4-davidsons-mill-2016_43g6456

Lady Bug – 100mm macro

Echinacea stk end_1370720 v3

Echinacea Multi-image Pano, 200mm FD Macro lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

_Korean dogwood v1 3X 1360782

Korean Dogwood – 200mm, m43 Camera

lg bug wings v4_HP 1360998

TreeHopper (?) 200mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

1 feather fish stack  v2

200mm macro, RainDrops on Feather (looks like a fish) Panasonic GH2

Zinnia stk v3

Multi-Image Zinnia Image, 200mm m43

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G2829

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

Eastern Carp Bee v3 brig 2015_MG_0230

Eastern Carpenter Bee, 200mm FD Lens, Panasonic GH2

jagged ambush bug v3_43G7000

Jagged Ambush bug, 200mm FD lens on Panasonic GH2

RainDrops on Web v1_MG_7388

Rain Drops, Multi-Image Stack, 100mm, Panasonic m43

_1260344 lichen

Lichen on Wood, 200mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

_MG_8669 damselfly v3

Damselfly, 200mm FD Macro lens, Panasonic GH2

_MG_8695 pond daselfly v3

Closer View – Damselfly, 200mm Canon FD macro, Panasonic m43 body

_1260772 v3

Water Drops on Flower Stamen, 50mm FD macro, Panasonic m43

 

Panoramas Are Not Just For Landscapes

I am still going through images I photographed earlier in the Summer. The featured image is a panorama of a Praying Mantis in our garden at home. Using 3 images and assembled in Photoshop. It was a windy day so the flower it was on was blowing wildly in the wind. I had no way to stabilize the flower, so I was shooting bursts at a high shutter speed to hopefully get a sharp enough image and have the frames needed to blend together. I was shooting with a Sigma 150mm macro lens so the movement of the subject Mantis was all over in the frames. I was shooting bursts to hopefully get some in the frame and in focus and have enough to work with.

Praying Mantis_v4_150mm_76A3412

Single Image Closeup – 150mm Sigma Macro, Canon R, f/11, 1/400sec, 1600 ISO

 

RainDrops After The Storm

Sometimes it is fun to look for raindrops after a heavy rain storm. I tried during a light drizzle, but the camera was getting too wet. So I waited til the next morning after the heavy rain storm was over and the sun was out. I was using a Sigma 150mm macro lens for all images here. Also the images here are just single shots, except for two listed as a 2 image stacked panorama. It also helped there were webs in the bushes for the raindrops to land on.

Raindrops_v1_76A0542Raindrops_v1_76A0547Raindrops_v1_76A0580

Raindrops_2img_Pano_v1_150mm

2 image stacked panorama 

Raindrops_v1_76A0540Raindrops_v1_76A0534Raindrops_v1_76A0522Raindrops_v1_76A0462

Raindrops_v1_2img pano 2

2 image panorama, 150mm

Raindrops_v1_76A0497Raindrops_v1_76A0504

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