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Old Jun 19, 2009, 7:10 PM   #1
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Default Trying out a new (used) macro lens

Well, I finally saved up enough to buy a good used macro from KEH - the Sigma 105 F2.8... Had a few spare moments yesterday and today (in between time spend clearing storm damage off our trails) to try it out. Some of these shots are with the Macro, some with my standby (Tamron 18-250). Sure would appreciate any suggestions for improving, especially with the Macro lens.
First a few flowers - Black Eyed Susan, Tennessee Coneflower (which shot do you like better?). and Butterflyweed buds:
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 7:13 PM   #2
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Next a few butterflies. Our common milkweed & butterflyweed (also a species of milkweed) have just come into bloom these past few days. Sure must be attractive to the 'flies! Here are several shots of an Eastern Tailed Blue and (our Tennessee State Butterfly) a Zebra Swallowtail:
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 7:15 PM   #3
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Honeybees also love the Butterflyweed (which shot do you prefer?)
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 7:16 PM   #4
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Stopped by a little pond, and got thoroughly soaked wading out to photo this male Blue Dasher. His mate was more cooperative, and easier/drier to approach!
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 7:18 PM   #5
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Just one more shot - this is obviously not a macro, but just a scene on my way to work this morning. Sure would appreciate any suggestions or critical comments!
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 8:04 PM   #6
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Hey Mole,
Suggestions for improvement! You're kidding right?

The only suggestion I can make is be careful,
that lens could disappear come October!
I'll be up there 10-02 to 10-08

Absolutely Fantastic images, I can't pick a favorite.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 8:32 PM   #7
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Mole,

1- I can't see how you could improve these pictures. The subject matter that you present is varied and always well taken.

2- I like the third flower picture best (Tennessee Coneflower). You nailed the pattern on it, all elements in perfect focus.

3- Butterflies: I like No's 1, 3 & 4 best. I like the back lighting on No.3 but No4 is my favorite. That is one handsome butterfly.

4- Bees: Hands down its No. 1. I like the lighting better. The highlights on the body of No. 2 are a little distracting to me.

5- The picture of the male Blue Dasher is great. You got the whole insect in reasonable focus front to back. If this was with the macro lens you had to be at a high f stop. I would be curious to know what your settings were. The female however is the one I like best. I think the female Blue Dasher is a striking looking Dragonfly.

6- The shot taken on the way to work. WOW! And they pay you to do this?

I think you will love the new Sigma macro lens. They take some getting used to but you look like you have caught on quickly. I can't tell from looking at the photos what pictures are taken with the macro lens and what with the 18-250.

Some of my cropped 18-250 shots are indistinguishable from macro photos. The 18-250 is a very good close up lens. It's not until you get toward the 1:1 macro that you really see the difference.

By the way I represent a company located in Elizabethton, Tenn. I speak to them frequently and they are complaining of the rain as much as we are up here. I have represented them for about 27 years now and have visited several times. The NE corner of the state is also beautiful.

Lou
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 10:53 PM   #8
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Mole,
After reading Lou's comment, I went back and looked again at the bees side by side, and yes, I have to agree with him the first one is better. It amazes me that they were both taken at the same settings and were that different when all you did was move a little closer.
the tow you took with the 18-250 blow me away, I'd never think a zoom lens wold be that detailed!
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 11:59 PM   #9
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Your last shot is my favorite, it's the type of picture that I just love to look at. I agree with the highlights on the second bee being enough distracting that I prefer the first one. If you hadn't posted that first one I would think the second one a very nice picture. All of the flower pictures are very good, though the second one isn't quite as good as the others in my opinion.

As you get closer and closer to your subject, DOF becomes more of an issue. A flash can help you get more light on your subject and keep your shutter speeds faster. I can't give you any advice for the butterflies or dragonflies, since these are far better than anything I've ever taken. Also, don't be afraid to use smaller apertures, a macro lens will be sharp at smaller apertures than most zoom lenses will.
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 1:46 AM   #10
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I also think the first bee is best, and the flowers are incredibly sharp.
The lake shot is gorgeous.

Rodney.
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