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Weevil Feet -

In yesterday's image I noted how I thought the Crab spider I was photographing was sensitive to noise/vibrations given off by the Zuiko 60mm macro lens when the in-camera stacking routine is executed. I think the Clown Weevil is also sensitive to the pitch given off by the lens. During the day, when it's warm, they are more alert and on guard. They are quick to deploy the classic I can't see you to can't hurt me defense - quick to scoot to the other side of a stem or leaf as the photographer approaches. However, in the morning one can usually close in on them with a careful approach. Such was the case with the weevil in today's photo. I had the rig setup for a nice stack of the shell glimmering in iridescent orange and salmon colored scales. Start the stack and it scooted to the other side of the stem. I'd move the camera to get the topside down angle, start the stack and again it would scoot to the other side. After several go-rounds I conceded to the Weevil and photographed it's feet.

Image specs: Olympus EM-1, Zuiko 60mm @ ~1:1, f/3.5, SS 1/8, ISO 200, Available Light Field Stack (140 images Stacked with Zerene) , Square Crop

#macroaddict  +MacroAddict 

#hqspmacro +HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten  +Robert Kubacki and +Andi Fritzsch

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones
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Late Bloomer

I bought a Fotodiox Pro EF-Sony adapter so I can use my Canon lenses on the A7. The adapter performed well with the Canon 180mm macro. This afternoon I decided to test the adapter with the MP-E 65. For the most part I was quite pleased with the results but Idid notice a loss of contrast in the images. It's correctable in post but annoying none the less.
I'm not sure if it's the flocking in the adapter (looks good to me), a light leak in the optical path, or if the flash was bouncing back into the lens. Controlled testing will be required if this continues to be an issue.

As for our subject, a freshly emerged ladybird, with it's pupae casing. Weather has been unseasonably warm and a bloom of aphids has brought about a bevy of ladybirds to the backyard. As fate would have it our first cool front is moving through. Temperatures shouldn't get too low to kill this generation off but I think this could be the last batch until next spring. I plan on photographing them while I can.

Image specs: Sony A7 w/Fotodiox Pro Adapter and MP-E 65mm @ 2.5:1, f/13, SS 1/250, ISO 200, MT-24EX with DIY diffuser, power manually set at 1/8.

+MacroAddict  #macroaddict  

#hqspmacro +HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten  +Robert Kubacki and +Andi Fritzsch

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones
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New Macro Rig II:

Like my previous beetle image, this ~4mm leaf(?)beetle macro was taken two weekends ago. As noted before, I really like the camera for macro photography. That said, no camera is perfect (if you find one please let me know). The M3 does have some deficiencies that might dissuade one for using the camera for flash based macro photography. The most obvious drawback is the lack of a built in electronic view finder (EVF). Instead Canon offers an EVF that mounts on the flash hot shoe. The quality of the EVF image is excellent, the build is robust, and it rotates 90 degrees upwards (I can see this being very useful for low level ground/tripod work). However you have to buy the EVF separate (cost) and you can't use the EVF when using a flash as the hot shoe is being occupied and there isn't a PC-Sync port on the camera. The latter is isn't a problem for me as I use an Zacuto Z-Finder loupe on the LCD. Other solutions like a Hoodman or no name brand off eBay should work just as well. While my preference would be to shoot with the EVF the loupe does offer a few advantages at the expense of increased rig length and a slight weight increase - a large 3rd point of contact(your face) to help stabilize the camera when shooting handheld. The resolution of the LCD is excellent so it is very easy to pick up the focus peaking ripples on the screen. I haven't tried it yet but I image using the 5x and 10X Live view magnifications could be handy. Finally the M3 has 4 info modes that can be displayed on the LCD. By simply pressing the info button with your right thumb you can quick go through the various screen settings, in particular I find I like checking the liveview histograms for either total illumination or RGB. As I process images from the camera I have noticed the window for correct exposure is smaller than the 5D-3. On the full frame camera I can typically push or pull exposure ~1 stop. With the M3 there is less latitude (to be expected with an APS-C camera), around a ~1/2 stop push/pull.

Image specs: Canon M3, Canon EF-S 60mm Macro with 36mm tube @ ~2:1, f/10, SS 1/125, ISO 100, MT24-EX flash with DIY diffusers @ 1/8 power, square crop in post.

#macroaddict  +MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Adelphe BACHELET +Ruth Benjamin 

#hqspmacro  +HQSP Macro +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki +Andi Fritzsch 

+BTP Macro Pro +Kenny Jones 

#photomaniausa  +David Pilasky +Marjolein Schat +Kris Rowlands +Dorma Wiggin 
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New Macro Rig:

A funny thing happened to me while I have been patiently awaiting the release of the Canon 5D-V, I discovered a new camera for macro photography. I started toying with near infrared photography. At first I used a Hoya 72 filter on my Olympus EM-1. Fundamental problem with this camera is it has an IR filter, albeit weak, that requires very long exposure times. On bright sunny days exposures can take as long as 16 seconds. This produced blurred results due to wind movements and really brought out the noise of the u4/3 sensor. I needed a camera with the IR filter removed so I searched for a cheap used option. Enter an ir "super-blue" converted Canon M. I didn't expect much as I had read so many negative comments about the camera. As I used it, I was pleasantly surprised with the IQ. Though it is bare-bones in the fancy functions department, I found it to be more than adequate for taking pictures in manual mode. As an added bonus the menu system is driven via touch screen as is the shutter. The more I used the camera the more I liked it. I wondered how the newest version, the M3, would work for a macro rig. The idea of a lightweight mirrorless rig has intrigued me for sometime. I have tried the Sony NEX-7 and the Olympus OM-D EM-1 for macro photography. Both systems are capable cameras but each has short comings that I just don't feel like investing the effort through practice and experimentation to overcome. I did quite a bit of reading up on the M3, tested it out several times at the local camera shop and when the price on the camera and EVF dropped in May I finally broke down and bought one. At the very worst, it would make a good walk around camera when I didn't feel like hauling around the 5D-3. I am so glad I purchased this camera. It is a very good, light weight macro machine. IQ is on par with the 70D, the LCD and electronic viewfinder are very crisp, focus peaking is well implemented in this camera with three color choices (red, blue, and yellow) and very accurate. I feel the focus peaking implementation is better than the NEX-7 and the EM-1. The Canon EF-EOSM adapter is solid, a very snug fit so much so that I forget I'm using the adapter. I can't always say this is the case with the Metabones Sony and Olympus adapters. Most welcome is the weight reduction and while there is a slight IQ hit compared to the 5D-3 it is a whole lot easier filling an APS-C frame. Overall very acceptable trade offs and instead of continuing to wait for the 5D-4, I'm looking forward to see what the M4 has in store....

Image specs: Canon M3, Canon EF-S 60mm Macro with 36mm tube @ ~2:1, f/10, SS 1/125, ISO 100, MT24-EX flash with DIY diffusers @ 1/8 power.

+MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Ruth Benjamin +Adelphe BACHELET 

#hqspmacro  +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki +Andi Fritzsch  #hqspmacro  

#btpmacropro  +BTP Macro Pro +Kenny Jones 

#photomaniausa  +David Pilasky +Marjolein Schat +Kris Rowlands +Dorma Wiggin 
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Cottonwood Leaf Beetle:

I first encountered one of these last year. The elytra can be quite beautiful, ranging from an ivory to yellow base with black markings. The yellow ones are my favorites as the shell takes on a nice metallic sheen. From what I have read these beetles infest Cottonwood trees eating the leafs. I’ve never seen them in Cottonwood trees but that’s not surprising as most of the ones I encounter are massive and the canopies 30 or 40 feet in the air. I do see the beetles on willow trees. The larvae are similar to ladybird larvae but are larger and are brown, orange and black in color. You can quickly tell when a tree is infest with these beetles as large patches of leafs are stripped. When the Larvae pupate they attache themselves to a leaf usually hanging upside down. From a distance in looks like flower buds or immature fruit. Photo is of a beetle doing what they do best, eat.

Image specs: 5-D3, MP-E 65mm @ ~ 3:1 f/13, SS 1/80, ISO 200, MT-24 EX with DIY concave diffusers.

#macroaddict   +MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Adelphe BACHELET +Stephen Thackeray +Ruth Benjamin 

+HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki and +Andi Fritzsch #hqspmacro

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . founded by +Rinus Bakker , owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones

#PhotoManiaUSA curated by +David Pilasky, +Marjolein Schat, +Kris Rowlands & +Dorma Wiggin
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Blister on a Cone:

I smile every time I see one of these beetles. It’s the first beetle I got a decent shot of several years ago. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had my MP-E 65mm and a Canon T2i and barely a clue what I was doing. Much like today only the T2i blew a shutter gasket so I shoot with a 5D-3 now… It was a blistering hot day. The noon sun was beating down and I was making my way back to the house with nary a single macro captured. I spotted a blister beetle on a cone flower, much like this one, and photographed it for the next 30 or 40 minutes. I’d get the camera to close to it, It would feel threatened and release a spray into the air. I could smell it, hard to describe other than acrid. I must have gotten misted once or twice as my brow and eyes would burn as sweat ran down my forehead. Lesson learned and I now photograph these at a safer distance. 150mm Sigma is good for this. On tubes at 2:1 there is a good 5 to 6 inches working distance. Even if I did get misted again no harm no foul blister beetle, you’re just protecting yourself.

Image specs: 5-D3, Sigma 150mm w/72mm tubes @ ~ 2:1 f/13, SS 1/200, ISO 100, 600EX-RT for fill, compositional crop.


#macroaddict  +MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Adelphe BACHELET +Ruth Benjamin 

+HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki and +Andi Fritzsch #hqspmacro

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . founded by +Rinus Bakker , owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones

#PhotoManiaUSA curated by +David Pilasky, +Marjolein Schat, +Kris Rowlands & +Dorma Wiggin
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Lizard Beetle II:

I photographed this Lizard Beetle last weekend but didn’t have time to post it. I encountered one of these for the first time a couple weeks back. I’ve been wandering the bayous since my youth and had never seen one before. Now I have seen and documented two in the course of a few weeks. This beetle was on the banks of holding pond several miles from where I spotted the first one. Typically, the beetles I run across stick to the same type of fauna. So far this one seems to be more diverse. I discovered the first one on a seed head of a wild grass stalk, while this one was on a coneflower. I’m going to have to do some more research on these  and keep an eye out for them in the fields. 

Image specs: 5-D3, Sigma 150mm w/72mm tubes @ ~ 2:1  f/13, SS 1/200, ISO 200, 600EX-RT with DIY concave diffuser,  compositional crop.

#macroaddict  +MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Adelphe BACHELET +Ruth Benjamin +Kailash Khedekar 

+HQSP Macro curated by  +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki and +Andi Fritzsch #hqspmacro 

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . founded by +Rinus Bakker , owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones

#PhotoManiaUSA curated by +David Pilasky, +Marjolein Schat, +Kris Rowlands & +Dorma Wiggin

+BH# 
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Lady Bird on a Seed Head

Haven’t posted a picture of a lady bird in a while. It's not because there is a lack of them. They are quite abundant this year. They were last year as well. In 2014, not so much. With the abundance comes opportunities to practice shooting them and hone techniques. Originally, I attempted to field stack this scene at lower magnification with ambient light. I wanted get the entire seed head, glistening with dew in frame  but there was just enough of a breeze to cause havoc with the fine bristles and dew drops. I really didn’t feel like playing the shoot between the the breeze(s) game as that almost always ends up in misaligned frames due to mid-shot gusts, bumping the rig because one is in a hurry or the subject/plant not settling back down into the original position. Time to change the shooting strategy to better accommodate the environmental constraints. I dialed in the magnification to ~2:1  and turned on the flash. Overall, I think it came out well and was a reminder to always be ready for change when the original plan doesn’t pan out.    

Image specs: 5D-3, Sigma 105mm w/91mm tubes @ ~ 2:1  f/13, SS 1/80, ISO 200, 600EX-RT with DIY concave diffuser, square crop...
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Even the Mundane:

This spring I have been spending most of my time in the grass fields of the retention basins that run along the bayou. Grasses are now 2-to-3 feet tall in many areas and teaming with life. It’s a great place to explore but there aren’t many foot trails. At times I feel guilty tromping through the flora but when I return the following weekend the grasses have sprung back all but erasing any trace of my excursions. I prefer to find areas that have a mix of grasses and flowers. I sit down and just observe. Often I won’t see anything for 10 or 15 minutes. But as my intrusion fades from the memory of the field the insects start to appear. In some cases I think they were there all along, it just takes time for me to recognize their presence. In other cases they don’t notice me and start occupying the area,  going about their business. To many this may seem mundane, to me it is magical. I have learned not to overlook what appears mundane to the eye and give it a closer look-see through the lens. Often the mundane disappears and a surprises appear from nature’s magic hat. Case in point for me is this beetle I spotted on a grass stalk. I hardly noticed it at first, dull brown and drab to my eye. A quick look through the macro lens and presto a lovely little creature full of rich textures, hairs and a nice reddish brown…. Just magical….

Image specs: 5-D3, Sigma 150mm `w/72mm tubes @ ~ 2:1  f/13, SS 1/160, ISO 100, 600EX-RT with DIY concave diffuser.  
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Lizard Beetle - Languria: 

I believe that’s what this is. Need to submit the image to bug guide and see what the experts have to say. These beetles infest clover patches, or so I have read. In the fields along the bayou I have seen on wild grasses with seed kernels. There’s plenty of grasses on the bayou so these critters don’t have a significant impact on the native flora, just part of the ecosphere. I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of one for the past few years with no luck. These are rather dull to observe as they really don’t do much and are quick to scurry when the camera approaches. That said I really like the color scheme. 

Image specs: 5-D3, Sigma 150mm `w/91mm tubes @ ~ 2.5:1  f/13, SS 1/160, ISO 100, 600EX-RT with DIY concave diffuser. 

#macroaddict  +MacroAddict +Sandrine Berjonneau +Adelphe BACHELET +Ruth Benjamin +Magy Duarte +Kailash Khedekar 

#hqspmacro +HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Igor Schevchenko +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten and +Anja Wessels

#BTPMacroPro+BTP Macro Pro . founded by +Rinus Bakker , owned by +Nancy Dempsey ,curated by +Kenny Jones

#PhotoManiaUSA curated by +David Pilasky, +Marjolein Schat, +Kris Rowlands & +Dorma Wiggin
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