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Thread: Handheld Macro BG control basics

  1. #51
    John Renda
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    thank you fo a very interesting article

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    Just when I post something white, that should have been shot with a flash, the answer is on the next thread. Like Brady, my brain hurts, but its worth it. Thanks SO much for this tutorial. Now if i can just get Bruce to show me how to turn the power down.

    Kat

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    BPN Member Craig Markham's Avatar
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    Robert, from the readership and questions, it looks like you really struck a nerve with this thread! I've been using flash a lot this spring -- everything from HS sync on flying sapsuckers(!) to botanical macros. The practice and experimentation has helped a lot, and I'd encourage everyone interested to do likewise.

    Many think that flash is something you use only when there's "too little" light, or when you're trying to "stop" action. However, I think one of the most important uses is in bright, contrasty situations where existing light would force you to make the choice between blasting out the highlights or completely blocking the shadows, or using multiple exposures for HDR recombination. Flash, properly used, helps control the wide dynamic range of contrasty environments, and can also serve as a tool to highlight a subject with an otherwise distracting BG.

    I happened to be doing some field documentation of Penstamon rydbergii the other day, and, using manual exp/ manual flash comp (HS sync turned on) took a couple of frames that I think illustrate your points about the benefits of adjusting your camera and flash levels independently to achieve desired effects. I've put the exposure info on the accompanying photos. I was using a 1D Mk3 with 50mm compact macro and a MR-14EX (macro ring) flash, ISO 400. Flash was on ETTL with -2/3 flash comp for both frames. The flash exposure is essentially the same for both frames (there was a negligible difference in subject distance); the only substantial difference was the shutter speed. The faster shutter reduced the BG light in the right frame, while the flash maintained the same light level for the subject. I like the left frame as a more "contextual" image; I would call the right frame a striking specimen image that brings full attention to the plant.

    BTW, I'm loving the results I'm getting with the MR-14EX, except that in extreme close-ups on plants with water droplets, the two curved flash elements show up as little white parentheses ( ) in the droplet reflections -- arrgh!
    Last edited by Craig Markham; 07-08-2009 at 12:50 PM.

  4. #54
    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    BTW, I'm loving the results I'm getting with the MR-14EX, except that in extreme close-ups on plants with water droplets, the two curved flash elements show up as little white parentheses ( ) in the droplet reflections -- arrgh! <!-- / message -->
    Hi Craig, what if you bought a very fine diffuse white material and cut a hole in it for the lens, "somehow" attached the material in front of the the MR-14EX without covering the lens? You might have to increase the flash output power to compensate for the material diffusion; however wouldn't that eliminate the "white parentheses"? Depending upon how shear the material, it might provide a lovely diffused light. Cheers, Jay
    Cheers, Jay

    My Digital Art - "Nature Interpreted" - can now be view at http://www.luvntravlnphotography.com

    "Nature Interpreted" - Photography begins with your mind and eyes, and ends with an image representing your vision and your reality of the captured scene; photography exceeds the camera sensor's limitations. Capturing and Processing landscapes and seascapes allows me to express my vision and reality of Nature.

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    BPN Member Craig Markham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Gould View Post
    Hi Craig, what if you bought a very fine diffuse white material and cut a hole in it for the lens, "somehow" attached the material in front of the the MR-14EX without covering the lens? Cheers, Jay
    Hi Jay, and thanks for the thought. I considered that, but the flash elements already have diffusers as a necessary part of the design. Adding another layer of diffuser material would likely be redundant, especially at small macrophoto distances, and only serve to lower the effective output. This is probably one instance(droplets) where off-camera flash set at a non-retroreflective angle would be a better solution. Here's an example of the "( )" phenomenon -- Cute maybe, but not exactly what I wanted! Sort of like having a bunch of little :):)'s all over the image. I should have tried slipping the ring off and holding it off to the side for the shot.
    -- Craig

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    Lifetime Member Jay Gould's Avatar
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    Craig, is that with the diffusers being utilized? I have been considering either the ring or the twin flashes. I too would not be happy with the dual :):) . Of course, if you removed the ring and put it to one side of above and to one side you will then introduce a shadow on the other side. :D Jay
    Cheers, Jay

    My Digital Art - "Nature Interpreted" - can now be view at http://www.luvntravlnphotography.com

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    BPN Member Craig Markham's Avatar
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    Jay, I think we're getting off the thread topic. The face plate of the ring is the diffuser. That's the only mode. If you have further Q's on this please PM me so we don't hijack Robert's techniques thread with an extended equipment discussion.

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