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Old Apr 15, 2010, 3:01 AM   #1
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Default Some tiny flowers and an SR bonus. . . (7 imgs)

Hi All,

I went for a walk at the Nature Center to try out the K-7 with the Sigma 180 Macro + P F 1.7x AFA and the Metz 15 MS-1 "ringlight" slave, but after wandering about a mile from the car, I realized that I'd left the flash unit on overnight, and the batteries were dead. I had two sets of spares, but had left them in my jacket in the car. . .

One of the cool things about the long Macro is that the working distance is long enough that I can easily use the popup flash as a last ditch light source without the lens getting in the way and causing a shadow in the shot. In this case, I had additional working room because I had the P F 1.7x AFA mounted, so I could shoot at 1:1 at about a foot from the end of the lens. The flash was necessary to get sharp results -- a 306mm macro lens is not easy to hold steady. . . All of these were shot using AF C, full pressing the shutter after the first beep, and while the AF was "stuttering", making micro adjustments. The lens was stopped down to f14, so the effective aperture with the 1.7x AFA was @ f24.

This first shot is of the roots of a dead vine that had grown up the side of a tree. Figure this as shot at a bit over 1:1, so even cropped a bit, this whole frame could be covered by a quarter (24mm across). I pushed the contrast and thought to make it B/W, but instead pushed the saturation also. I thought it was interesting.


The rest are wild flowers. I have no idea what they are, I just took a number of shots whenever I found one that was different. I'll spend some time online later to learn about them. -- so much to learn, so little time. . .
Remember these were with the popup flash -- I didn't even have a diffuser for it, so I was a bit surprised how well they came out. . .

I liked the rose colored tendrils on the stem and the "fur" on this one.


These are really tiny, maybe 1/4" from top to bottom.


These were about 3/4" across


These are @ 1/2", I had thought that they were just pink, but the same as the previous ones, but they are obviously quite different.


I took 3 shots of these, and this is the only one that was close to in focus. I wonder if the color is the difference?


This last one is just bragging -- handheld, leaning against a tree at 1/16 second at 510mm!!! That's 5 stops slower than the 1/FL rule, and almost 6 stops if you include the crop factor. I usually can count on SR to allow me about 2 stops from 1/actual FL, so 1/125 for 500mm is doing good for me.


I took 6 of this guy. It was an experiment to see if I could get critical focus on the bird with so much junk in the way using the AF system only. All 6 were focused on the bird, and 3 were usably sharp because the bird stood still enough, and this one isn't even the best of those 3. . . I left the full frame to illustrate how small the unobstructed areas were.

I discovered after PP that there was a patch to fix PSPPX3's inability to preserve the exif for jpeg saves, so there's unfortunately no exif attached to these, but any future posts should have the info attached.

Scott
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 5:28 AM   #2
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Aaagh ! Posting these just hours after I bought the T 90mm !

I am really beginning to love macro - you have some superb shots in this series (#2, 3 & 4) and didn't that flash do well !
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 9:35 AM   #3
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These are quite impressive. I'm especially surprised that you did so well with the on-board flash - makes me want to get a TC for macro use even with the 105 I have, to allow for more stand-off distance. Instead, I usually use the 540 flash off-camera wirelessly and the on-board flash as a controller only. It's not as ideal as your ring flash set-up, but it works reasonably well, especially if I also use a tripod and a reflector.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 12:06 PM   #4
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Very nice work Scott!
I can see I'm going to have to get out my macro stuff and start experimenting some more. I haven't used my TC's or extension tube in more than a year.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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Great work!

Really love the 1st and 3rd one, looks so alien!
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 1:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogfish View Post
Aaagh ! Posting these just hours after I bought the T 90mm !

I am really beginning to love macro - you have some superb shots in this series (#2, 3 & 4) and didn't that flash do well !
Hi FF,

Thanks!

I'm not much of a macro shooter, so I'm learning the ropes in regards to techniques and lighting. I'm really a long tele shooter, so trying to look at things from a macro perspective is very challenging. I got the 180 thinking that it could serve as both a birding lens and for macros, since they've always fascinated me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
These are quite impressive. I'm especially surprised that you did so well with the on-board flash - makes me want to get a TC for macro use even with the 105 I have, to allow for more stand-off distance. Instead, I usually use the 540 flash off-camera wirelessly and the on-board flash as a controller only. It's not as ideal as your ring flash set-up, but it works reasonably well, especially if I also use a tripod and a reflector.
Hi Harriet,

Thanks!

I'm very pleased with the results I got, and surprised that I didn't get the normal blacked out backgrounds I've previously gotten with macros with flash. Also, I was a bit surprised that shadows weren't a real issue except for #s 4 & 5, and not much of a big deal in either. I'm just starting out with getting some understanding of what I want in the way of lighting, and know that this will be a bit of a struggle, but hopefully, some real experience will allow these things to penetrate my admittedly thick skull. I think that the long FL will actually make things easier in this regard.

I'm actually most surprised that AF C worked so well. After hearing that AF was useless for macro work, and that Pentax's AF was so behind the leading edge, I felt that a look outside the box was necessary. The AFA helps with this, as it acts as a focus limiter. At macro distances, the full range of the AF is only a fraction of an inch, and full lock hunts only take a fraction of a second -- not enough to get really frustrating. It also adds working distance, and doesn't seem to degrade IQ significantly in this use. Once I get an initial lock, even when it's "stuttering", trying to gain precise critical focus, it seems to be able to keep focus within the DOF, and I don't have to wait for a solid lock with AF C, so I can fire the shutter at will. Obviously, sometimes I'll miss, but that also happens when trying to synchronize the shutter release with my body swaying back and forth in MF, and AF C has the advantage of the technology trying to give me some help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post
Very nice work Scott!
I can see I'm going to have to get out my macro stuff and start experimenting some more. I haven't used my TC's or extension tube in more than a year.
Hi GW,

Thanks!!

It's quite a challenge trying to look for birds and macro subjects out of the same eyes. Actually it's pretty strange for me, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. . . it's hard to teach an old dog. . .



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Great work!

Really love the 1st and 3rd one, looks so alien!
Hi Tach,

Thanks!

I was fascinated by the vine roots, I could almost hear the usual "creaky" movie sound effect of an alien creature invading its prey with its life sucking tendrils. . .

Scott
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 6:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Remember these were with the popup flash -- I didn't even have a diffuser for it, so I was a bit surprised how well they came out. . .
The pictures are great, and I'm not surprised at all. Firstly because you would do well with whatever method you use, and secondly because I regularly use the popup flash for fill light with outdoor closeups and macros. The only problem is with particularly long lenses or large sun shades that cast a shadow on close focus - Sony has an elegant solution, which I only wish would work on a Pentax - their full frame A850 has no popup, so they offer a small but tall brilliantly designed hot shoe folding flash (HVL-F20AM) that I use on my A550 (should work on any Sony). Pentax, take note!
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 7:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by penolta View Post
Sony has an elegant solution, which I only wish would work on a Pentax - their full frame A850 has no popup, so they offer a small but tall brilliantly designed hot shoe folding flash (HVL-F20AM) that I use on my A550 (should work on any Sony). Pentax, take note!
Hi penolta,

Thanks!

I couldn't agree more. When I was considering getting a Canon G11, I was going to mate it with a 270 EX external flash. It's compact enough to be pocketable, has a tiltable head, and is pretty easily affordable. I think that something with, let's say GN of @ 25, pocketable, with a tilt head, and priced somewhere on the order of $100-140 would be a perfect flash for 90% of users. It would also be nice if you could use it as either a wireless controller or master, and if it would be compatible as a wireless TTL unit, but the last isn't really that important. I'd certainly buy one -- maybe two. . .

Scott
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 1:47 PM   #9
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Amazing! I really like that first one. It's so interesting. And, the third one is beautiful. Purple is my favorite color might be one reason.

Patty
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