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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Macro 
Thread started 04 Jun 2016 (Saturday) 02:43
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Active Honeybees

4,444 posts
Gallery: 194 photos
Best ofs: 3
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Joined Jul 2006
Location: Bacoli, Italy
Jun 04, 2016 02:43 |  #1

This one is sort of a work in progress -got some compositions still stuck in my head. The setup is pretty simple: I mixed up some "artificial nectar" (2:1 sugar syrup with some butterfly nectar mix added because the critters like the mineral salts in it) and injected it into a Lavender flower using a 5cc syringe with a .7mm diameter needle (the look on the pharmacist's face when I asked for a needle that big was priceless!). Then I put down a 2 meter by one meter roll of wallpaper on the ground that has gold metallic flakes on it. You can use just about anything I guess, but I chose the gold metallic so that the background would be a little "warm" and the flakes don't show up in the bokeh because the paper is a few meters from the Lavender flower. The purpose of the paper is pump some natural light into the background to keep it from being black because I was shooting at 2x and higher and didn't want to walk the shutter to expose the background.

Focusing: I've had a difficult time explaining what I'm doing with the camera to get a lot of apparent depth. If I was to just move the camera toward the subject until I got the eye in focus then a lot of the surrounding area would be out of focus. So what I do is pick a spot in the foreground, in this case it's the critter's proboscis and the flower, and then "roll" the opposite end of the frame deeper into the scene. Just kinda twisting my wrist a little, so that I can place the thin flat plane of acceptable focus over an area that's sort of a curve. Nothing special, anyone can do it and it's like any other technique -just muscle memory and mechanics.

Because the critter wants the nectar it's willing to put up with me grabbing onto the Lavender stem with my left hand, and then resting the lens on that same hand to keep the scene steady. But she doesn't like me getting close, so I have to constantly adjust the focus as I'm framing the shot cause she's trying to distance herself from the camera. Lots of deleted frames. As a side note: This technique actually works best when it's windy, cause the critter can't tell the difference between the vibration caused by the wind and me grabbing onto the flower's stem.

Tech Specs: Canon 80D (F11, 1/250, ISO 200 with highlight tone priority, -1 2/3 EV) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x to 2.5x) + a diffused MT-24EX (both flash heads on the Canon flash mount, E-TTL metering with -1 FEC). These are single, uncropped, frames taken hand held.

IMAGE LINK:​PU  (external link) Damaged (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE LINK:​nj  (external link) Feeding Honeybee VIII (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

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Cream of the Crop
12,934 posts
Gallery: 70 photos
Likes: 4248
Joined Jan 2011
Location: Bristol UK
Jun 04, 2016 04:00 |  #2

Wonderful work as always.

I must have a go with some 'nectar' to entice some subjects. The more I can get to stop the more practice I get.

Bas (external link)

4,300 posts
Gallery: 140 photos
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Joined May 2014
Location: Bethel, Ohio
Jun 04, 2016 08:32 |  #3

Beautiful. I like the first one here best.

Canon 70D | Canon 18-135 f/3.5-5.6 STM | Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS STM | Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8 USM | Twin Speedlite 270EX II's | Speedlite 550EX | Set of tubes
flickr (external link) My other hobby (external link)

Senior Member
400 posts
Likes: 20
Joined Dec 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Jun 04, 2016 08:57 |  #4

Stunning captures! Great job

Tammy Christopher
www.tammychristopher.n​et (external link)
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Active Honeybees
FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Macro 
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