Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Guest
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 30 Aug 2011 (Tuesday) 19:11
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

Critique on Macro work...

 
AtomHeart
Senior Member
Avatar
483 posts
Joined Aug 2010
Location: Denver
     
Aug 30, 2011 19:11 |  #1

Hi there. Just wanted to get some comments and serious criticism about how I'm heading, get opinions, and see if there's any pointers I hadn't thought of yet, etc.

About 10 years ago I purchased my first manual camera, a Powershot Pro90 IS. About a month later, I purchased a 500D close-up lens for the front element. With this camera, I gained a love for macro photography, and so a year ago, when I upgraded to a 7D, while I couldn't afford macro equipment for it right away, I promised myself as soon as I could afford it, I would get some.

Last week, I finally got myself an MP-E 65mm and got back into macro after a long hiatus. The learning curve is steep going back in, but I'm trying...

The first night with the lens was last Wednesday. I got home and unpackaged the lens, made sure nothing was damaged, and everything was present, then snapped a couple test shots indoors because it was dark out. The first one was of this vacuum tube at 1X:

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6183/6094805932_10363d25e1_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​094805932/  (external link)
Mullard (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

Did some post production afterwards to give it a retro filmy look.

Then, in my kitchen I snapped some test shots of my cutting board because using flash was absolutely new to me, even though I had owned and never used a 420EX unit for 10 years. I noted that the images were overexposing unless I ran the flash exposure compensation down to -1. Anything above that was causing clipping of highlights. Great! I erroneously thought that I had everything dialed in.

The next morning I woke at the colon of dawn, and went out into the world to shoot actual microfauna (handheld), and this time I pushed the magnification up to 2x and 3x. Leaving my beautiful calibration job on the flash exposure at -1 I blazed away, diverting all my attention to absolutely still hand-holding, accurate placement of the focal plane, and the like. Then, when downloading to my computer, I found a problem. Got the following shots, all of which were underexposed. During my outing, however, even attempted a small handheld focus stacking which was a good learning experience:

2X
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6087/6090434739_bf2c90264a_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​090434739/  (external link)
Metallic Moth (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

3X
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6087/6079855661_20ab84ef75_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​079855661/  (external link)
Tiny Spider (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

2X focus stack of 3 images
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6068/6094327431_fa354dcdfc_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​094327431/  (external link)
Stick Insect - Stacked (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

I corrected exposure best I could in post production, and found massive amounts of noise from the underexposure, so attempted to do noise reduction and sharpening in photoshop, then attempted the focus stacking. Since I have an old version of photoshop, all I could do was manually stack them, and then carefully paint over masks on each layer to bring the sharp parts together into one shot. Found that I did ok with getting three shots that barely overlapped focus planes, and so that was encouraging.

Then that evening I practiced at 3X and 4X on a lemon I sliced in half:

4X
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6188/6081503806_fbb1374825_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​081503806/  (external link)
Sunshine Cavern (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

3X
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6079/6081506534_bb44638f65_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​081506534/  (external link)
Rainbow Falls (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

Again, dramatically under exposed, which caused pain with noise and lots of post production work. I tested my flash again...again aimed at my cutting board, and sure enough...anything over -1 FEC would cause my highlight warnings to go crazy. Returned the flash to -1 FEC and wondered if I needed to start experimenting with a shutter speed slower than 250 or an ISO higher than 100 to get these to expose correctly.

The next morning I went out and tried 4X on animals. First I shot the same spider. While I found the shallower depth of field at 4X more difficult to control (probably took me 30 seconds to snap this shot as I swayed back and forth getting a feel for the focus plane) I really liked the way it threw the wall behind the spider into smooth bokeh, even though it was no more than 1/32" away.

4X
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6210/6104314437_005381e747_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​104314437/  (external link)
Harpist (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

Again, underexposed. I just couldn't figure out what was going on with this. I set my flash to FEC 0 and decided to just shoot and deal with the aftermath when I downloaded my raw files. Decided to also take this opportunity to try focus stacking at 4X. Found myself a nice stationary model with the ladybug below. It proved to be quite challenging at 4X handheld, as I'm sure some of you experienced macro shooters know. I took 4 shots, of which only 3 were usable, and sadly there was one sliver of this ladybug, just across the thorax, that was left uncovered by any of these shots' shallow depth of field.

4X focus stacked
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6207/6086107874_11fd5254e8_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​086107874/  (external link)
Ladybird4X Grungy (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

Decided to give it a goth, grungy kinda treatment in post production with a dreamy haze over all of it to try to hide the sliver of blur in the focus plane, or to make it not matter. This one wasn't really underexposed, though. That's when it dawned on me...Flash Exposure Compensation, just like auto exposure compensation, is going to change with every shot, based on the subject! DUH! I kept testing it while shooting my dark walnut cutting board, so surely to get the exposure right, the camera needed some negative exposure compensation. With these small, less dark subjects against a white background, they would need less if any negative exposure compensation and maybe some positive. Now that I have figured that out, I am hoping I can get the underexposure noise out of my shots and get back to exposing to the right to eliminate noise and grain.

I really need to upgrade to the latest version of photoshop, so the program can do the focus stacking for me, instead of me blindly swashing about with the paintbrush tool trying to only hit the spots I believe are going to be in focus in the shot below the one I'm looking at. BAH! At any rate, it was more of a learning experience than a lifestyle choice. I will have to decide between the MT-24EX or Photoshop CS5 when I get my next bit of disposable income.

At any rate, I would love to hear some opinions of my shots over the last few days as I've been trying to re-learn macro. I know these shots are pretty amateur compared to many I see on this forum, so any ideas on how to improve, or opinions about how my various post production techniques pleased or displeased you, etc. would be gladly received. What would be the effects on the above shots of decreasing shutter speed, or raising ISO? Is depth of field ok or would they look better to you with a different aperture setting? Does my flash need more diffusion or is it looking ok?

Thanks to anyone with enough interest to have read this whole long saga. This weekend I'm going out to buy me some kneepads! YEEESH! This bug hunting crap is hard on the knees!

Canon EOS 7D | Battery Grip | EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | EF 70-200mm f/4L IS | 420EX Speedlight | MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Macro | MT-24 EX | Stackshot Focusing Rail
"The feeling -- that's the point." -moltengold

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Jason ­ B.
Senior Member
344 posts
Joined Jan 2008
Location: Northwest Arkansas
     
Aug 30, 2011 20:25 |  #2

You are a brave man starting out with a MPE. I had a 100mm and straight 1:1 was challenging.


5DMarkII|24-105 F4L|70-200 2.8L IS II|580EXII|

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
Woodworker
Goldmember
2,176 posts
Joined Aug 2009
Location: East Midlands, England
     
Aug 31, 2011 04:56 |  #3

Congratulations on your new lens.


David

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
AtomHeart
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
Avatar
483 posts
Joined Aug 2010
Location: Denver
     
Aug 31, 2011 13:19 |  #4

Jason B, Hehe, brave is one way to say it. Glutton for punishment is another.

Woodworker, thank you...its a very impressive piece of glass, and worth all the money saving to get it.


Canon EOS 7D | Battery Grip | EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | EF 70-200mm f/4L IS | 420EX Speedlight | MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Macro | MT-24 EX | Stackshot Focusing Rail
"The feeling -- that's the point." -moltengold

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
AtomHeart
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
Avatar
483 posts
Joined Aug 2010
Location: Denver
     
Sep 01, 2011 13:04 |  #5

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6200/6104278715_9b00fc5c16_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …highdeaf1080p/6​104278715/  (external link)
Tiny Spider Focus Stacked (external link) by highdeaf1080p (external link), on Flickr

Focus stacked just the abdomen in photoshop to improve the shot of this quickly moving little guy. I had read that it was impossible to even shoot a quickly moving subject with this lens, much less focus stack anything moving across the ground. Well, here is a focus stack of a fast moving spider, handheld, at 3X magnification, so don't let the articles with claims of impossibilities stop you from doing anything! It can be done.

I shot a series of 8 images of this little guy scurrying across my wood siding. I originally felt that only this one shot was usable because in 6 of the other shots, the spiders legs were up and covering the eyes. This was the only shot where I got the shutter to click just as the spiders legs revealed it's eyes. Sadly, however, because of the shallow DOF at 3X magnification, the top of this guys huge abdomen was well out of focus. Racketman suggested on my flickr page that he found the blurry abdomen annoying, and suggested I try focus stacking next time. I immediately went back through my throw aways from this sequence of shots and found that on one shot, I apparently raised the camera about .5 mm and as a result, on that shot, the abdomen was mostly in focus. Still not perfect, but much better than the shot showing the eyes.

I immediately tossed the new shot into photoshop as a layer over the previous one, slapped a black mask over it, then painted in the sharper abdomen with a white brush. Thank you Toby! Big improvement.

Canon needs to add IS with panning mode to this lens! Haha!

Canon EOS 7D | Battery Grip | EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS | EF 70-200mm f/4L IS | 420EX Speedlight | MP-E 65mm f/2.8 Macro | MT-24 EX | Stackshot Focusing Rail
"The feeling -- that's the point." -moltengold

  
  LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as a registered member)

993 views & 0 likes for this thread
Critique on Macro work...
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
AAA
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Index   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!


COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.


POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.1forum software
version 2.1 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©
for photography-on-the.net

Latest registered member is proxyrdp
856 guests, 270 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018

Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.