Posts Tagged ‘Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR’

Orchid Photography – Ottawa Orchid Society’s 32nd Annual Show

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

This past weekend I was able to make it out to the Ottawa Orchid Society’s 32nd Annual Show and Plant Sale at the Nepean Sportsplex. It was my first time out to this event and there was so many great orchid displays that at first it was almost overwhelming. The show was well laid out with dedicated areas to the orchid exhibition, orchid art and jewelry, and buy areas. The show was definately well attended with many photographers which made for tight working spaces with tripods and lighting equipment everywhere (Sunday 9-11am).

Equipment and Technique: Camera set to manual exposure: ISO 100 1/125th sec. Aperture was between f/11-f/22. External SB-600 Key light (on light stand) was set to manual 1/4 power and fill SB-600 (hand held) was set to manual 1/8th power. Triggered wirelessly via Nikon CLS from Master SB-800 speedlight on camera. Lens on manual focus. Shot on a tripod for the most part (to aid in fine-tuning composition changes), with some handheld due to space restrictions. Due to the flash(s) firing a brief blip of intense light I am able to freeze subject and camera motion blur so handholding was not an issue.

Feel free to click each image for a larger view in the gallery and for fine-art purchase details.

Pink Masdevallia Bella Donna orchid flower. (Stephen Harrison)

Orchid Dtps. Nobby's Pink Lady (Dtps. Nobby's Valentine x Phal. New Cinderella) (Stephen Harrison)

Angulocaste Santa Barbara flower. (Stephen Harrison)

Orchid Dtps. Nobby's Pink Lady (Dtps. Nobby's Valentine x Phal. New Cinderella) (Stephen Harrison)

Pink Orchid flower. (Stephen Harrison)

Phragmipedium Belle Hougue Point orchid flower. (Stephen Harrison)

Orchid Dtps. Nobby's Pink Lady (Dtps. Nobby's Valentine x Phal. New Cinderella) (Stephen Harrison)

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!

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.

Lighting Small Things in a Big Way

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Silicon Carbide

Way back in grade 4 a classmate brought in a very large unusual rock for show and tell. It was very unique in that it had a black iridescent sheen with multifaceted patterns and angles. The thing was so big he shared a piece of it with each student to keep. I held on to it for a very long time as it looked really cool, and later came to find out it was a man-made rock called “Silicon Carbide”. One night while working at a photography retail store (when it was very slow) I brought it in to photograph it.

A lot of times when people use macro lenses they forget about proper lighting as they are so hung up on the “seeing small things large” aspect. Although it pretty much goes unsaid, I’m going to say it. It’s all about the light. This thing is near black, and the funky colours can only be seen when light reflects off the surface at a particular angle. And this thing had so many angles on it.

But first, placement. After inspecting the piece I decided to use the largest flat area as the “face”. I created a quick and basic ad-hoc “studio” out of a sheet of 8×10” glass from a picture frame as the reflective base and propped the large white box that the frame comes in up as the background. Under the glass sheet I placed a black cardboard sheet in order to create a strong solid reflection.

Equipment I used was a Nikon D200 with 105mm f/2.8 VR lens all mounted to a Velbon Sherpa tripod. Whenever possible I utilize a tripod to open up my creative possibilities with deep depth of field though the use of small apertures and troubleshooting composition and lighting issues. Also, I am guaranteed a sharp image which is always welcome.

You can see the progression of images/composition/lighting/white balance with this Lightroom screenshot:

Silicon Carbide Lightroom

Ok, so back to the light. I used 3 portable Nikon speedlights in various ways, some being fired by the built-in flash of the Nikon D200’s Creative Lighting System (CLS).

At first, I lit the face of the rock with a top-down speedlight (frames #16/17).

Silicon Carbide

Then, adding an edge light for separation (frame #18), which was later changed to blue with the use of a coloured gel.

Silicon Carbide

Finally, the background light was used (Frame #19 onward). Final image (Frame #25): f/32 13 sec. ISO 100

Silicon Carbide

Also, the general colour tone of the image was easily modified by setting the White Balance (WB) manually, and adjusting it warmer or cooler. The final image has a WB setting of 4700 °K shot in 12-bit RAW. The magenta/green sheen & reflections are naturally occurring colours, not Photoshop.

Flash layout:

1st flash: Hand held Nikon SB-800 using modeling light for 3 seconds directly above rock through sheet of white paper towel for diffusion (can be seen camera left in overall shot). The paper towel was used to create a large broad light source from the small specular flash unit. This broad light then easily and evenly spreads across the face of the rock to show its unique “brain like” pattern.

2nd flash: Nikon SB-800 1/8th power w/ blue gel camera right to add accent strip light and colour separation.

3rd flash: Nikon SB-600 zoomed to 105mm fired directly onto white cardboard box (background) camera left on tripod fired at 1/2 power. Varying the power of this flash I can independently control the brightness of the background.

Silicon Carbide Flash Layout