This summer has been brutal with temps around 24C or higher at sunrise with over 80% humidity, and there's just no such thing as finding a dormant subject early in the morning. So I'm having to do the majority of my macro photography between 6AM and about 11AM on the weekends, and baiting the critters into letting me get close. The one exception is this feeding plant bug -I moved slowly, and it was more hungry than afraid. Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F16, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens with 37mm of extension + a diffused MT-24EX (-1 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/w46Xqn Feeding Plant Bug by John Kimbler, on Flickr
For this Honeybee I injected 2:1 sugar syrup into the Basil flower to give her a reason to let me get close. I shaded the subject so that the flash would be the only significant light source on the bee, dragging the shutter to help expose for the natural light in the background. I also deliberately under exposed the background by at least a full stop. Digital sensors react to under exposure in the same way as color positive slide film -colors saturate. Even though the natural light was harsh the background isn't blown out and the color and contrast looks good. I also under exposed the bee with the flash for the same reasons that I under exposed the background, but not as much. Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/60, ISO 200) + a Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens with 37mm of extension + a diffused MT-24EX (-2/3 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/wqP7K1 Honeybee in BasiI I by John Kimbler, on Flickr
The tricky part, when shooting insect pairs like these Carpenter Ants, is getting both of their leading eyes in focus.
Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (3x) + a diffused MT-24EX. This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.
Technique: I put some 2:1 sugar syrup around the edge of an upside down plastic plate in an area where there were a lot of foraging Carpenter Ants.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/wuhm2f Lunch Date by John Kimbler, on Flickr
The down side to shooting this feeding Miner Bee in a sunflower is that the flower acts like a yellow bounce card and the image, even though I adjusted the white balance to 5500K in post, looks a little too warm.
Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F16, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-24EX. This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.
Technique: I injected 2:1 sugar syrup into a Sunflower so the critter would have a reason to let me get close. I shot from a low angle not just because it makes for a better image but also to get the proboscis and the face of the bee in focus.IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/vByZ7T Feeding Miner Bee by John Kimbler, on Flickr
At a higher level there are two separate techniques that I'm using. With the MP-E 65mm I'm shooting with the flash as the only light source, and I'm holding on to whatever the subject is on with my left hand (and bracing the lens on that same hand to keep everything steady). If I'm mixing natural light (for the background) and flash (for the subject) then I'm shooting with the EF-S 60mm and extension tubes when I can't hold on to whatever the subject is perched on. When I have to shoot freehand, or bracing the camera on my knee, it's easier for me to control the EF-S 60mm because it's not as heavy as the MP-E 65mm -the later weighs a kilo and once I get it moving it's difficult to stop it. Shooting free hand I'm nailing the focus more often with the EF-S 60mm. Your mileage may vary.