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Chasing Active Critters

  
 
Dalantech
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Chasing Active Critters


After a year long break I've decided to get back into macro. But I honestly don't have much time for online forums. As much as I hate social media I need to be more active on Facebook and Instagram, and a lot of the photography that I see on those sites fits more into what I'm trying to do with my own images. I'll shoot anything that lets me get close, but I'm more concerned with photographing active subjects. Here's some of the images I've taken so far, and of course none of them are focus stacked. All taken hand held, and I still do not allow myself to crop in post.

I was shooting this dormant European Wool Carder Bee when it woke up. The scene unfolded so fast I only had time for this one image. Shot horizontally but framed for a vertical composition (I turned the shot 90 degrees in post). Easier than trying to hold the camera in portrait orientation.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. I'm holding on to the Lavender stem with my left hand, and resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady.

Wool Carder Bee on the Move by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Caterpillars feed by extending their heads and then curling up as they chew. So the trick was to focus right at the edge of the leaf and wait for the critter to bring it's head up to start the next "row". I got seven frames before it figured out I was close and stopped feeding. Shot horizontally but framed for a vertical composition, and I turned the shot 90 degrees in post. Easier than trying to hold the camera in portrait orientation.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (over 3x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held. I'm holding on to the stem of the plant with my left hand, and resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady.

Caterpillar Feeding on Mint by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Shooting a hyperactive beetle feeding on Poppy pollen is probably the most technically challenging macro photography that I've done to date. Lots of deleted frames. Still want to revisit this scene before the Poppies are all gone.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/125, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (about 2.5x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

Feeding Soldier Beetle in Poppy I by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Finally got a shot of the little devils that are decimating my flowers. Still want to shoot these Chafer Beetles, but most of them are already gone for the year.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, -1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

Chafer Beetle Eating Pollen by John Kimbler, on Flickr

I'm disappointed that I clipped her wing, but this female Sweat Bee was moving so fast that I barely had time to adjust the frame. In my peripheral vision I could see the flower and the position of it, and those lines, and that's why I framed the scene the way that I did.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (3x) + a diffused MT-26EX-RT with a Kaiser adjustable flash shoe on the "A" head (the key), E-TTL metering, +1/3 FEC, second curtain sync). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

Foraging Sweat Bee II by John Kimbler, on Flickr

If you have any questions about technique or gear I'm more than happy to answer them.

Edited on Jun 24, 2019 at 03:24 AM · View previous versions



Jun 12, 2019 at 01:57 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Chasing Active Critters


John,

It's good to see you posting again. Very nice immages.

I see that you are using 1/125 with flash. I use 1/250, the highest available in manual mode, to avoid double images.

Actually, I have been shooting mostly daylight exposures in recent weeks. I also shoot a lot of active insects but also (mostly) static fungi and slime moulds, where I mainly use full flash but have done some daylight exposures. I try to frame so that cropping is not required but, even when subject and hands are steady, obtrusive backgound detail is often best cropped out. Not cropping is an excellent discipline but one too far for me.

Another thing not for me is social media.

Harold



Jun 12, 2019 at 02:27 AM
Dalantech
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Chasing Active Critters


e6filmuser wrote:
John,

It's good to see you posting again. Very nice immages.


Thanks!

e6filmuser wrote:
I see that you are using 1/125 with flash. I use 1/250, the highest available in manual mode, to avoid double images.

Harold


I think I was mixing natural light and flash and just forgot to change my shutter speed. For that frame there was no natural light at all since I was shading the subject, and pretty much shooting into a bowl (Poppy flowers have s bowl like shape). I've been using 1/125 of a second shutter and not getting any ghosting. The blue in the background on this one is the sky.

Finger Fed Bumblebee by John Kimbler, on Flickr

Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/125, ISO 200) + a Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens with 25mm of extension (1.7x) + a diffused MT-24EX (flash head "A" set as the key and "B" as the fill, both on the Canon flash mount). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

As for not cropping: Framing with the view finder will hone your composition skills, the cropping tool in post won't. I frequently see additional compositions while I'm framing a scene, and subject permitting I'll get a chance to get those images as well. If you see a new composition after cropping in post then it's too late to get those additional shots.



Jun 12, 2019 at 03:01 PM
slugly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Chasing Active Critters


Very interesting photos, thank you for sharing them here!


Jun 16, 2019 at 03:06 AM
Dalantech
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Chasing Active Critters


slugly wrote:
Very interesting photos, thank you for sharing them here!


Thanks!




Jun 16, 2019 at 03:29 PM







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