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Beautiful Bugs Workshop

Beautiful Bugs Workshop

Submitted by
Chris Temple
Hamilton Camera Club

Our everyday world presents intellectual challenges just as daunting as those of the cosmos and the quantum, and that is where 99 per cent of scientists focus their efforts. Even the smallest insect, with its intricate structure, is far more complex than either an atom or a star. Martin Rees

 

Beautiful Bugs Workshop with Gail MacLellan                    April 9 2016

 

Gail presented a wonderful macro photography workshop with the emphasis on Bugs.

 

Starting with equipment:

Gail made it plain that one did not need a large investment in equipment to get started. You can start with your DLSR and its kit lens and a set of close up filters ( ranging $15-$30from the orient, EBay or Amazon). Extension rings (about $20.00 from the same sources) are another inexpensive way to get close. Dedicated macro lenses come next but not required from the get go. An off camera flash while not essential is a strong recommendation, both to freeze action and to provide light. Light drops off very quickly in macro photography when you use lens attachments. Tripods are not terribly useful because, well bugs move.

 

Technique:

Like any safari hunter, first you need to spot your prey. It helps if you know their watering holes and habits. For this there is an upcoming Bug Walk to lead you to their lair. Once spotted, manual camera settings are best. Pre-set your shutter speed, aperture and focus, then do the wave, bobbing back and forth on your ankles like a Saturday night drunk to find your focus point. Bobbing and burst shooting will with a little practice will give you a set of stackable images to increase your minimal focus depth of field. Don’t worry a lot about background and composition at first. The flash will tend to blackout the background. The key is to getting the important bits in focus, just like any animal the eyes are the most important.

 

Recommended Settings Shutter 1/160 ISO 100 Aperture F8 to F13

 

There are lots of references on the web Mr. Google is your friend. Here are a couple.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickadel/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/opoterser/

 

Post Processing:

The biggest job is always culling the bad one. Don’t be embarrassed, because of the limited depth of field there will be lots of unusable images. Thank goodness this is a digital process.

Sharpening is the next step. Lots of programs out there, the now free Nik and the pay for, On One series of plugins. As you get better stacking will be the next chore.

 

This is not a hobby for the lazy, weak hearted or those that have to stay clean, but the results are rewarding, and the images unique

 

Don’t miss out on the Bug Walk