Posts Tagged ‘macro’

On the Flip Side – Metallic Macro World

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Sometimes with the right angle, lighting, pattern, and technique, you can make the ordinary into extraordinary. When walking through the grocery store a few weeks ago, my wife stopped to look at a set of shiny new frying pans. Of course she was looking at them with a purely practical mindset. When I saw them I thought “Wow, that base would be cool to photograph with a macro lens!” So home they came.

After sprinkling a bit of water from the kitchen tap on the underswide of the pan I set it on the counter, upside down. At the same height as the subject, I setup a Bowens Gemini 200ws flash on a light stand with a Softlite Reflector and Clip-on Barndoors. Using a Nikon D300 with Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens I began finding the image and working the scene. Working different angles and areas of the pan I was able to take away two neat images.

The first image focuses directly on an abstract fractured fish shape created by three water drops.

Fractured and distorted abstract fish shape. (Stephen Harrison)

The second is a composite with one exposure near the spiral center of the underside of the frying pan, the second exposure being an out of focus highlight shot of the water drops coloured purple and composited ontop creating a cool glittering bokeh effect.

Glittery purple bokeh over metallic spiral. (Stephen Harrison)

A behind the scenes setup shot displaying the location and placement of light in relation to the subject:

Bowens Gemini 200 with Softlite Reflector and Clip-on Barndoors. (Stephen Harrison)

Next time you’re out at the grocery store, keep an eye open for those neat items that might photograph well under the lens!

Henry’s Kanata Free Photowalks

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Each month I hold a free photowalk on behalf of Canadian photographic retailer Henry’s. Just yesterday I led a macro workshop with the help of camera guru Quinn Brown (from The Almost Friday Show fame) at Ottawa’s Mud Lake in Brittania’s Conservation Area. During these free events Henry’s supplies free demo equipment for use during the outing, so on hand we had some nice Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro lenses, close-up filters, 50mm inversion rings, a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR lens and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 I.S. L lens. During these workshops I guide attendees through different photographic aspects of each subject matter with their equipment (or equipment they have borrowed) to acheive the best possible results. See below for images from this 3hr outing:

 (Stephen Harrison)

Close-up of eyes on a green frog peeking its head out of a swampy wet marsh. (Stephen Harrison)

A North American green frog sits camouflaged against a swampy wet marsh. (Stephen Harrison)

Last months workshop was a generalized Nature Workshop held at Kanata’s Old Quarry Trail with the help of Rickard Andersson.

Flowery green plant with prickly defences. (Stephen Harrison)

Plant with purple wirery bulb. (Stephen Harrison)

Dragonflies are a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. They have large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. (Stephen Harrison)

Dragonflies are a type of insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. They have large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. (Stephen Harrison)

June’s workshop was an Action photography workshop at Kanata’s Skateboard Park on Terry Fox Dr. Nikon Canada was kind enough to loan us a Nikon D3s camera body for the event. Henry’s lent some nice fast f/2.8 glass such as 24-70’s and 70-200mm lenses.

Young men with boards in hand gather in a line at a skateboard park. (Stephen Harrison)

Stay tuned for next months free Photography Workshop hosted by Henry’s Kanata.

Mixing Speedlights with Sunlight – A Daisy Experience

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Sometimes you may have a great subject, but the lighting is poor. Usually, the only way of kicking things up a notch or two is to add your own light to the scene to make things sparkle and shine. Take the following image for example. Great daisy, lousy light.

Beautiful chamomile daisy flower. (Stephen Harrison)
Nikon D3s w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR Handheld ISO 200 1/1250th @ f/3.2

However, by simply adding a Nikon SB-600 speedlight (with amber gel) to the left of the flower I can easily reveal depth, texture, and form in an otherwise uninspiring image. Technical note: I set the camera to 1/250th* Focal Plane Sync (FP Flash Mode), to be able to sync flash @ 1/1250th of a second. Normally, I would be limited to 1/250th on most cameras/flashes.

Beautiful chamomile daisy flower. (Stephen Harrison)
Nikon D3s w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR Handheld ISO 200 1/1250th @ f/3.2

A lot of the time beginning users of flash think of flash as simply a way of creating a usuable exposure in an otherwise dark situation. However, think of it as a little sun that you can transport with you and pull out and change the whole look of the image wheather through coloured gels, placement or quality of light. Also, use of the speedlights allow for handheld use of the camera with the flash freezing not only subject motion (the slight movement from wind), but also camera shake/motion.

A similar technique was employed for the creation of these two images. Nikon SB-800 on D3S hotshoe to trigger SB-600 speedlight (camera left mounted to tripod w/ amber gel @ full power zoomed to 85mm) with a second SB-600 flash handheld camera right (w/o gel zoomed to 50mm @ 1/64th power) used to fill in the shadows.

Beautiful chamomile daisy flowers. (Stephen Harrison)
Nikon D3s w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR Handheld ISO 200 1/1250th @ f/3.2 (SB-600 flash camera left @ 1/1 w/ amber gel zoomed to 85mm, SB-600 flash camera right @ 1/64th w/o gel zoomed to 50mm)

Beautiful chamomile daisy flowers. (Stephen Harrison)
Nikon D3s w/ 105mm f/2.8 Micro VR Handheld ISO 200 1/1000th @ f/5 (SB-600 flash camera left @ 1/1 w/ amber gel zoomed to 85mm, SB-600 flash camera right @ 1/64th w/o gel zoomed to 50mm)

So next time you are out photographing, keep in mind its not just about composition and exposure- but consider how the light is falling on the subject- and if you don’t like it- modify it with the use of reflectors (think white sheet of paper) and/or speedlights to kick things up a notch.