Photography: Macro Puzzles

I struggle for consistency with my macro photography. Sometimes it is there and other times it just isn’t. Today, I wanted to photograph a small (size 16) emerger pattern I simply call a ‘Puff’ given the wing material is called a CDC Puff Feather. I tried to present a contrast to the flies size by shooting it in front of a U.S. Quarter for a point of reference. The flash was dialed way down. Yet it still washed out. You still get an idea but not as crisply as I would have hoped. The beauty of the macro lens or magnifying goggles is one can readily see the faults of one’s tying (sloppy thread head/cut starling hackle for example).

camera fly quarter SB puff quarter vise SB

sb cdc puff

14 Responses to “Photography: Macro Puzzles”

  1. November 16, 2013 at 15:38

    I also love the fly – nice work! Perhaps try angling the coin slightly so the light does not reflect straight back into the camera… Alternatively, See if you can place the coin flat on a horizontal surface, with the fly placed on it, then light the shot with an angle poise lamp or equivalent and take the picture from above – fingers crossed!


    • November 16, 2013 at 15:58

      Mark, in the past I usually did lay the coin flat and the fly/flies atop. I may revert back to that but at a higher angle to give the proportionment/scale of it all. Thank you for all the kind comments!


  2. 3 craig
    November 16, 2013 at 06:41

    having just gone through this myself…if your flash is turned down and it’s still too hot, try diffusing or angling it off-center a bit.
    even a kleenex draped over the “bulb” will take the harshness out of the light.

    i’ve played around with ott-lites and reflectors with some success, foregoing the flash entirely.

    the other thing i’ve done is set my aperture to f22 and shot using reflected daylight. the results are a little clinical but everything will be in focus and uniformly lit.

    good luck.

    love your pattern as always.


  3. November 15, 2013 at 23:58

    That is a darned nice looking fly 🙂 I am not a photographer by any stretch but perhaps the flash isn’t required. With the camera on a tripod the shutter speed doesn’t need to be fast. Then again a less reflective object for scale, perhaps a match stick would be easier to shoot. Mostly I use rapid fire and chuck out the duds , alternatively I set the delay so that there is no camera shake, (and still throw out a lot of dud shots), the joys of digital..


    • November 16, 2013 at 07:01

      Thank you Tim. A less reflective back piece is definitely called for with any flash. I seem to need light and will adjust with defusing and better back drops to experiment. Appreciate the suggestions.


  4. November 15, 2013 at 23:51

    There is a pin on Pinterest of an inexpensive way to take micro photos with the lens from a cheap laser pointer. I know they have them in pet shops. On my Pinterest boards it is under Must Do. Might be fun considering good resolution on many cell phones.


  5. 9 beckyinma
    November 15, 2013 at 18:40

    That’s a tricky macro. With the golds and whites in the pattern, (bottom pic) perhapd trying the perspactive shot with a dull penny without so much reflectivity would work. ???


    • November 15, 2013 at 18:47

      I think you are right…


      • 11 beckyinma
        November 15, 2013 at 20:16

        Sorry for all the typos. Silly iPad keyboard!


        • November 15, 2013 at 21:54

          How funnie, I red adn undrstood eactly whut uyo ment tooo!!!!


          • 13 beckyinma
            November 16, 2013 at 05:53

            HA! As I was thinking about this (I’ve taken out my tying materials from the attic, after a few years, and always enjoyed macro photography) I want to share something about softening the flash.. I have an old Canon EOS digital, 6mp with only the standard flip-up flash. Whenever I use it for macro (great camera for it) I tripod it, and use the remote. Often times the regular flash is too harsh, so I tape one or two layers of copy paper across the flash to soften it, so the image doesn’t get the glaring sharp reflection. Especially helpful when shooting stuff that’s highly reflective, or super light color… Just my amateur thoughts. Enjoy!


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