Things I’d Not Like to be Without! (Podcast 84)

Things I’d Not Like to be Without! (Podcast 84)

For the last month or so I’ve been saying I’ll do an episode on the equipment other than the main stuff, like bodies and lenses etc. that I’d hate to be without. I thought I’d better get that out, so I spent a few hours this weekend photographing all but one of the things I’m going to talk about and uploaded them to my Web site. Today we’ll go through and talk about 11 things that I use quite a lot, if not all the time, in my photography. I’ll try and interweave a few tips as we go along too, but the main tip for each is probably going to be using the item or similar equipment yourself if you think it might help you out.

As with last week we’re going to look at 12 images today to talk about the 11 items, so I’m not going to spend too much time on each one. Let’s first look at image number 1407 in which we can see the first two items. On the right is the Angle Finder C from Canon. This does exactly what you’d expect. It allows you to view the image through the lens at an angle. It rotates 360 degrees, so you can look into it from literally any angle, though it’s a little bit awkward to view from the bottom of the camera if you use a battery grip like I do. I use this most for low angle work, such as macro photography when the camera, is low to the ground. The Angle Finder also has a switch on the side as we can see in the photo that switches its magnification from 1.25X to 2.5X. This is really helpful when fine tuning the focus for macro shots, as it really zooms in on the subject. Of course, the most important part of the shot is not always in the center, but when it is, this really helps. Also, the barrel of the finder rotates to focus the angle finder itself, which I forget every so often and having rotated it slightly while handling or fitting it to the camera, and then I wonder for a moment why everything is blurred. I also use this sometimes even when I’m standing up or sitting, but want the camera to be lower than my eye level. It just helps to keep from straining the old back as I might while stooping if I didn’t use the angle finder.

Angle Finder C + Spirit Level

Angle Finder C + Spirit Level

The other thing in this first photo that I wanted to mention is the spirit level. This fits into my flashes shoe on top of the camera, and is literally just a spirit level to make sure that the camera is horizontal, or vertical, depending on whether I’m shooting in either portrait or landscape positions. The clear plastic level contains two spirit levels for this, and can be fitted to the camera in two ways too, to suit your needs. In the next image, number 1408, you can see the level sitting in the flash shoe of my Canon EOS 5D.

Spirit Level on 5D

Spirit Level on 5D

The next thing I wanted to talk about but have not taken a photo of is the Focusing Screen Ee-D. Canon makes interchangeable focusing screens for many of their film cameras, and for the 1D, 1Ds and the 5D DSLRs. The one I bought gives me a grid inside across the scene when I look through the viewfinder, and like the spirit level, this gives me a visible indicator of whether or not the camera is level or my verticals and horizontals are actually vertical or horizontal. Of course, sometimes a scene or subject looks more natural off level, but when I want things straight, this and the spirit level help.

As usual, most things I use come into my workflow for a reason, and the next one I bought after dropping my memory case on a snowy beach in Hokkaido and having to go back in a taxi with Japanese photographer Yoshiaki Kobayashi to look for it by torch light. I thought it would have been so much easier to find in the dark if it was a bright colour, so when I saw the yellow case in image number 1417, I thought it would be a good addition to my kit. These are Gepe Card Safe Extreme memory cases. You can see from the grey one on the left that they fit many different types of memory in the same case. I’ll put a link to the Web site for many of the things we’ll look at today, so you can check if this company has something to suite you too. I not only went for this case for the bright colour, but also for the fact that they are incredibly strong, and also waterproof. If I was to drop this into the sea while shooting eagles from a boat for example, it would not only be waterproof, but it would float, so I could hopefully fish it back out without losing the images saved in the cards. Of course, there’s nothing better than being careful so as not to drop the case, but in the cold, and with the excitement of the moment sometimes, things can slip our minds, and out of our hands. One piece of advice related to memory card holders is that when I’ve filled a card, but before I’ve made at least one backup, I put the card back in the case with the front label facing down. This way if I get carried away shooting and come to change the card again later I can easily see which cards are full and which I can use. I also usually write my name and email address and sometimes phone number on the back of my cards. I actually found a card case a few years ago full of memory which I handed in at the police station, but never found out if the owner got the cards back. If they’d had an email address or phone number I could have contacted the owner and sent them the cards back myself directly, and I’d hope that someone finding mine, if they understood the pain of losing these things, would do me the same favour.

Gepe Card Safe Extreme

Gepe Card Safe Extreme

In image number 1418, we can see my filter removers. A few times I’ve found I could not remove my filters in the field, and either wasted time trying until I could, or had to leave them on until I got home. Fortunately, I’ve never gotten one stuck that stops me from getting a shot, but if I was to get a polarizer or ND filter stuck on a lens it would increase my shutter speed and possibly I’d lose shots. For this, I found these light plastic filter removers, and drop them into the front pocket of my camera bag whenever I go out. You basically just have to grip the front of the lens with one and the filter with the other grip, and turn this in opposite directions. I’ve only had to use them twice, but they are quick and easy to use, saving me time, and possibly shots. One tip would be though, that filters usually won’t budge when you apply too much pressure in just two or three places. When filters get stuck, people tend to wrap their hands around the filter and apply a lot of force while trying to rotate the filter. This causes the filter to become temporarily misshaped, making it wider in some places than other, making it even more difficult to rotate. You’ll finder that holding it evenly with four or all five fingers and turning lightly will often get it off much quicker than putting all your strength into it. Still, when that doesn’t work, these come in handy.

Filter Removers

Filter Removers

The next gadget I’d hate to be without is the STO-FEN Omni Bounce diffuser that we can see in image number 1416. I know that some people don’t like these very much, and I know that there are other solutions to diffuse flash light, but I personally find the Omni Bounce diffuser to be fine for most of the flash work I do, and it’s nice and light. This really helps to remove the harsh shadows that direct flash light can cause. Of course, you can bounce the light to soften it, but I actually bounce the light with this diffuser attached, which I also find gives a nice soft light. But when the ceiling is too high or none-existent, you can point your flash straight at the subject with this diffuser attached and still get nice soft light. It doesn’t work well in portrait mode though, if there’s a wall or something too close to your subject, as you’ll still get a shadow on the opposite side of the subject than to the flash.

STO-FEN Omni Bounce

STO-FEN Omni Bounce

In image number 1415 we can see the next item that usually makes it into my bag when I’m going to be out shooting landscapes, and that a compass. Especially when you’re trying to get into position for a sun or moonrise, it’s necessary to know where the sun or moon is actually going to peep over the horizon. If you use a tool to find out the exact location, a compass can really help to get yourself in the right position and set up for the moment.

Compass

Compass

The next thing I’d say no one can be without is a good big blower, like the one we can see in image number 1413. This is actually the one that I leave at home, and use for blowing the dust of the front and rear elements of my lenses before trips, but I also have a small one that I carry with me on trips that I use for this. The main reason I use this big one is to blow the dust off my camera’s sensor. I find that holding the camera upside down and blowing the dust from inside the camera and then selecting “Sensor Cleaning” from the camera’s menu and again, holiding the camera upside down and giving the sensor a really good blow with this, keeps most dust away. Sometimes it gets a bit stubborn, so I take my camera to the service center for a more thorough clean. This is only every so often though. I think it’s been more than a year since I had my 5D’s sensor cleaned. I know that there are lots of other ways to clean the sensor yourself, but I just haven’t found it that necessary yet.

Blower

Blower

Wimberley Plamp

Wimberley Plamp

In image number 1414 we can see one of my Wimberley Plamps. Plamp stands for Plant Clamp I believe, and basically that’s what I use it for most of the time. When shooting flowers close-up on breezy days, they can sway around quite a lot, making it difficult to get your shot. If you clamp the Plamp to your tripod leg and then grab the stalk of the plant with the grip that is blue in my shot here, though the colours vary, then you can keep the flower or plant still while you shoot it. You can of course hold other things with the Plamp. I actually carry two around with me when shooting flowers, so I can use one to hold the plant if it’s breezy, and the other to hold a reflector in position, or a piece of semi-transparent white plastic over the subject to cut out some of the light to either increase or level out the contrast between the flower and the surroundings. I’m sure there are lots of other ways in which to use the Plamp, but these are just a few of the ways I use mine.

Let’s move on to image number 1412, in which you can see Really Right Stuff Focusing Rail. I mentioned both the Plamp and this in one of my Macro episodes, but just to recap, as I’d really not like to be without either of these tools, when shooting macro at life-size or higher magnification, to get a little bit closer, or further away, or even for moving slightly to the left or right, it can be a real pain to actually start moving your camera on the tripod itself. With focusing rings you can move back and forwards by rotating the screws at the front and back, or for left and right movement, slacken the quick release and slide the top rail around, then retighten the quick release. More importantly I’d say, is that the forward and back movement is so precise, that it helps to fine tune focusing, especially when using a lens like the 65mm 1-5X magnification lens, which doesn’t have any focusing mechanism. If you want more details on this lens though, please listen to episode 43, in which I talked about shooting in life-size are larger. I’ll put a link to the Really Right Stuff Web site page where you can see the focusing rails into the show notes as well. You have to click on the B150-B Package link to the right though to see this particular model. This is to allow you to use the rails with lenses on tripod ring mounts. If you would use the rail by mounting your camera directly rather than the lens, then you would not need the rail that allows you to move left to right.

Really Right Stuff Focusing Rail

Really Right Stuff Focusing Rail

Walkstool Closed

Walkstool Closed

Finally, one of the newest additions to my kit is a Walkstool, that we’ll look at in the next three photos. First, in image number 1411, we can see my Walkstool in its fully wrapped up state. Having tried a few for height, I decided on the Walkstool Basic 50cm / 20 inch model. This is actually the second to shortest of the models available right now. There are a fair few taller ones as well, but as you might imagine, the taller they get the heavier they get. The one I have is 65 grams, or 23 ounces. The other important thing is though, that I’m not carrying this thing around with me to give me something to sit down and eat lunch on. It’s basically to allow me to get down low for macro or other low-level work, without starting to get all uncomfortable when shooting in that position for a long time.

Walkstool Low Level

Walkstool Low Level

The 50cm stool I found was perfect for medium height shooting, and the wonder of this stool, as we can see in image number 1410, you can actually just undo the strap and open the stool up and use it without extending the legs, for an even lower support of 30 cm or 12 inches. If you are not familiar with these stools, you might be thinking right now that they may not support your weight, if like me you’re carry a pound or to excess baggage, but unless you are a Sumo Wrestler in your prime, even these smaller Walkstools should be fine. The one I use supports up to 150kg or 330lbs, so I can have a few more pints of Guinness yet before I have to worry about this.

Walkstool Fully Extended

Walkstool Fully Extended

In the last of the three images, number, we can see the Walkstool fully extended. Although I would not suggest sitting on the Standard model for a whole day, they’re definitely great for an hour or so while waiting for some action to unfurl, or while shooting some macro shots. They are even remarkably comfortable when using for a reasonable length of time without the legs extended as in the last shot. If you really want a comfortable sit though, as opposed to the Basic model, they also do a Comfort model, which has a larger sitting area. This would probably have been better for me when you consider the size of my jacksie, but as the comfort increases, so does the weight, so I decided to give weight preference over comfort. As it is, I can just attach this Walkstool to the back of my rucksack style camera bag, and forget about it until I need it.

So that’s almost it. I haven’t talked about my WhiBal today, which is a type of grey card that you shoot to either set your custom white balance while shooting or to set the White Balance later in post processing. I’d like to say that this is because I’ve covered this in other Podcasts, but, if I admit to myself and to you that the real reason is because I simply forgot to take a photo of it, I’d better just say that this is still one item that I use pretty regularly, especially when the light is a little challenging. I will add a link to the WhiBal Web site to the show notes in case you are interested.

There are probably a few other things that I’ve forgotten to mention, and as usual, if you have something that you just can’t live without, please do come by the forum at martinbaileyphotography.com and let us know about it. There is actually one other item that I’m seriously thinking about adding to my kit right now, and that is a pair of knee pads. Now, I know I’m going to look really silly walking around parks with knee pads on and will probably end up putting them on only when necessary, but when you weigh as much as I do, kneeling down on gravel or uneven surfaces can pretty soon become a painful deal. Ginichi, a photography store in Ginza here in Tokyo has started to stock a pair of quick release knee pads that I have my eye on, and will probably be picking up soon. I gave up trying to look cool while out photographing a long while ago, and would much prefer to get a few extra low angle shots now. I usually get the shot anyway, but find that I stand up, while grimacing with pain, a little sooner than I would if my knees weren’t being mashed up by the uneven surface.

So, just a couple of pieces of housekeeping before we finish. Firstly, remember that the Simplicity Assignment is now closed and I’ve turned on the voting system. Please do come by to the mbpgalleries.com Web site and take a look at the album half way down the top page, and please do take a moment to register if you are not already a member and vote for your favourite image. There are some really amazing shots in there, and I’m really looking forward to see what you guys choose. Thanks again to all those that took part. I’ve also noticed that some people that took part have not registered on the martinbaileyphotography.com Web site in addition to the mbpgalleries.com Web site. Whether you are registering just to vote or to upload your entry, please do also sign up at the main martinbaileyphotography.com Web site with the same user name and email address so that I can keep tabs on who’s who when I eventually get around to linking these two sites. Voting will continue until the end of Sunday the 29th of April when we’ll find out who the winner of an original print of one of my photos is, and more importantly, who will take the annual grand prize based on all of the accumulated votes, which this year is going to be an amazing Lowepro Stealth Reporter D650 AW camera bag.

One other thing is a few weeks ago I requested people to mail me if you know of any good lens review or lens comparison sites. Thanks very much to all those that have mailed, but if you have time, please do check the Podcasts forum at my Web site before mailing me. I’ve received quite a fair amount of mail with the same Web site that is already in the main post, so it would save me a little time if you could check first. If it’s a toss-up between mailing and not mailing though, just go ahead and send me the details and I’ll check myself. Anyway, with that, I’ll sign-off for today. Thanks for listening, and have a great week, whatever you have planned. Bye-bye.


Show Notes

Gepe Card Safe Memory Card case: http://www.gepecardsafe.com/eng/index.asp?mainID=50

STO-FEN Omni Bounce: http://www.stofen.com/

Wimberley’s Plamp can be seen here: http://www.tripodhead.com/products/plamp-main.cfm

To see the same Really Right Stuff focusing rail that I have, click on “B150-B Package” on this page: http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/specialty/index.html

Here’s a link to the Walkstool Web site: http://www.walkstool.com

And last but not least, here’s a link to the WhiBal Web site: http://www.whibal.com/products/whibal/index.html

The music in this episode is from the PodShow Podsafe Music Network at http://music.podshow.com/


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Michael Rammell

Posted on behalf of Martin by Michael Rammell, a Wedding Photographer based in Berkshire, England. Michael also has a long-standing passion for Nature & Landscape photography. To catch up with Michael, visit his Web site, and follow him on the following social networking services.

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Macro Photography Part II – Larger than Life (Podcast 43)

Macro Photography Part II – Larger than Life (Podcast 43)

As I said in last weeks episode, Macro Photography could never be covered totally in just one or two Podcast episodes. I actually thought at that time I would release two episodes for now and follow up with more later as I gain experience in macro photography and more tips for you. As when I was preparing for last week though, I’ve found that there is just so much that I want to say on this subject I’m going to keep going for a another episode making this initially a three part series. Again though, I’m really just scratching the surface. Macro-photography is such a complex subject that I’m really probably just scratching the surface of it myself in many respects. This can really be said about many of my Podcasts, but as I gain experience and learn more myself I will be following in future episodes. Today though, let’s touch on going larger than life-size, that is, magnification of more than 1:1. If you aren’t familiar with life-size shooting or what life-size or 1:1 means, or other terms like minimum focusing distance and working distance, I suggest to step back to episode 42 and brush up on some of these terms and some other basic macro techniques.

OK, so I was wondering in what order to attack the remaining subjects that I want to touch on, which are going larger than life size with the MP-E 65mm macro lens from Canon, and the focusing problems this causes. Also I want to talk about paralleling your composition when you have multiple subjects that you want in focus, and also using dedicated macro flash, and using a second flash to illuminate the background. I was going to leave talking about 65mm to the end, as it’s probably the most specialized of these topics, but thinking about it, once you start using a lens that allows you to get this close, all the other stuff I want to talk about becomes even more important, so although all of these things are still very relevant at 1:1 or life-size macro photography, I’m going to discuss going larger than life first today.

First to give you an idea of what I’m currently achieving with the MP-E 65mm lens, let’s take a look at image number 1023. Remember that I am now producing Enhanced Podcasts, so if you are listening on an iPod or iTunes, the image will have already changed automatically. If you aren’t listening to the Enhanced version you will need to go to my Web site at martinbaileyphotography.com and click on the Podcasts link to go to the Podcasts page. There are various ways to listen and view the images, but it’s all there on the Podcast page, so please take a look. Even if you are listening with iTunes, if you are at a computer, take a look at the Podcasts page anyway.

Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)

Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata)

Getting back to image number 1023, you will see the stamen of a Chameleon Plant, shot at 3X life size. That means that the little yellow anther, the tips of the stamen, that have been recorded at about 1.8mm wide on my 36mm wide sensor, are actually 3 times larger at 1.8mm than their actual size in the real world. In this image they look like little peaces of yellow candy, but in actuality, these are only each around half a millimeter wide.

There are a number ways to shoot at larger than life-size. Last week I touched on using an extension tube, but you can also use extension tubes with teleconverters or Extenders as Canon calls it, and also other methods include using bellows between the camera and the lens to move the lens away from the camera but stop any light from entering the gap and you can also stack lenses or reverse the lens. A couple of books that I’ve read that explain these techniques are John Shaw’s “Closeups in Nature” and Tim Fitzharris’ Revised Edition of “Close-Up Photography in Nature”. Both give some excellent advice on all aspects of Macro photography both smaller than and larger than life size. There’s a link to these books on my Recommended Reading page if you are interested. Click “Recommended Reading” in the “Quick Links” section on the top page of my site to take a look.

I’ve read these books like a child with eyes wide open unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, but I didn’t follow any of the lens stacking or reversing advice myself. The problem with stacking is that you have to tape lenses together and to a certain extent butcher them, and I don’t have any lenses that I really want to do that with. There are adapters available that allow you to join lenses by the filter screw threads though. When reversing lenses, you loose auto-focus and often, again without butchering your lens to a certain degree, you have only wide open aperture which isn’t that much use at these magnifications because of the incredibly shallow depth-of-field. There are again adapters that allow you to reverse lenses relatively easily, but as I looked into this more, I found some devices to actually help you to reverse a lens and retain all of it’s functionality by linking it back up to the camera. The problem was this costs almost $1,000, which was only around $100 less than I paid for my final choice, which was a brand new MP-E 65mm F2.8 1-5x lens from Canon. This is fully supported for use with the Canon EOS camera range, and has a connector for the macro twin-lite that I’ll talk about next week, and I don’t have to butcher any of my existing lenses either.

So, as the name implies, the MP-E 65mm F2.8 1-5x lens allows us to shoot at up to 5 times life-size magnification. The shot we are currently looking at, as I said, was shot at 3x. The shutter speed was 1/200th of a second at F8, with ISO 200. I was using the Canon Macro Twin-Lite MT-24EX flash unit. As I say I’ll go into this in more detail next week, but in the simplest use you really just need to switch the camera to manual mode so that I could just select the shutter speed and aperture I wanted and let the flash do the rest. I often find that I reduce the flash exposure compensation by around two thirds of a stop, but apart from the, the camera really does do the rest.

From an artistic perspective, I’d chosen to shoot this subject almost from above, so as to maximize the drop off in depth-of-field as we look down the shaft of the flowers stamen with two of the four white petals filling most of the background. I’ve frame this shot to crop the petals slightly, but you can see that the petals end from the darker corners, allowing you to fill out the rest of the shot, orienting your mental image. The patch of green at the top was within the range of the twin-lite, so it has founds it’s way into the shot, which I don’t mind at all as it’s totally out of focus, but then the background falls into total darkness in the top left as it receives no light from the flash.

Natural light at these settings was not going to illuminate the background in any way. There are two reasons for this, the first is that I was working in a park like a small wood, with a dense canopy of leaves above and all around, and the sun was already quite low in the sky. The other reason in how this lenses aperture works. The smallest aperture of this lens is F16, which might not seem that small for a lens with an inherently small depth-of-field due to the very close working distance, however, the effective f-number is smaller than that displayed by the camera. This is due to the design of the lens and the fact that the f-numbers displayed are those for when the lens is focused on infinity, despite this lens not being able to focus on infinity.

The formula to calculate the actual aperture is f-number x (magnification + 1), with the magnification + 1 part in parentheses. So when you are shooting at F2.8 at 1 times magnification, or life-size, magnification of 1 + 1 equals 2. Multiplying the F2.8 of the aperture by two gives us 5.6, so the effective aperture at F2.8 is F5.6. If we go to a magnification of two, we have to multiply 2.8 by 3, to get get F8.4. In the same way, F2.8 at 3 times magnification becomes F11.2, at 4 times it becomes F14 and at 5 times it becomes 16.8. So even if I am shooting with the lens wide open at F2.8, if I shoot at 5 times I’m already effectively at quite a small aperture.

As we start to stop down the lenses aperture the same formula gives us F16 effective for F8 at life-size, then F24 for two times, F32 for three times, F40 for 4 times and F48 for 5 times magnification. If you recall, I was shooting image 1023 of the Chameleon Plant at F8 at 3 times magnification, so I had an effective aperture of F32, which doesn’t seem quite as wide any more.

The far end of the scale, F16 actually gives us an effective aperture of F32, 48, 64, 80 and 96 as we move through life size to five times magnification. As I’m using a camera with TTL or through the lens metering, apart from the fact that at high magnifications the viewfinder does become quite dark, I don’t have to worry about the small apertures too much as the camera does the calculations for me. The formula for setting the exposure manually though are +2 stops for life-size, +3 for two times, +4 for three times, plus 4 1/2 for four times and plus 5 stops for five times magnification.

OK, now I know this will start to give you a number overload, but before we move away from numbers, finally I want to let you know just how shallow the depth-of-field is at these apertures. Firstly, an interesting fact to note is that this lens only has a depth-of-field of more than 1mm when used at life size and stopped down to an F8 or smaller aperture. Any other magnification cannot give you a depth-of-field of more than 1mm. F2.8 at life size has a depth-of-field of 0.396mm. F4 give you slightly over half a millimeter. F5.6 gives you 0.792mm and from F8 you finally have 1.12mm, F11 give you almost 1.6mm and F16 gives you a massive 2.24mm.

Once you start shooting at two times or more all apertures give a depth-of-field of less than one millimeter. To just give you the extremes at largest and smallest apertures for each magnification, two times gives you 0.148mm at F2.8 to 0.84mm at F16. Three times gives you 0.088mm at F2.8 to 0.498 at F16. Four times gives you 0.062mm at F2.8 to 0.35 at F16. Finally, at five times you get a depth-of-field of 0.048mm at F2.8 and 0.269mm at F16. And that’s it for number for now.

By now you are probably wondering how you switch between the various magnifications and how you focus this lens. Let’s take a look at a photo of the gear I used for this last shot to make it easier to explain. In image number 1022 you can see my Canon EOS 5D camera with the MP-E 65mm macro lens, the Canon Macro Twin-Lite MT-24EX flash unit and the Canon Angle Finder C. All of this is sitting on a Really Right Stuff focusing rail, which I’ll explain in detail next week, but is basically used for fine focusing by moving the camera back and forth. In this shot the lens is fully extended to 5 times. The 65mm lens is actually only 10cm or 4 inches in length, which is a little longer than the focusing ring on the barrel that we can see in the middle of the lens here. This length is when the lens is set for 1:1 or life-size photography though. As you turn the focusing ring, the lens extends from the front and back as it zooms through the magnifications from life-size up to 5 times magnification, which is what we see here with the lens fully extended.

Canon EOS 5D with Macro Gear

Canon EOS 5D with Macro Gear

Now if you notice, I’ve just said we turn the focusing ring to zoom through the magnifications. So how do we focus? In practice, you can turn the focusing ring to make focus adjustments, but as this is changing the magnification, if you want to retain the magnification, you must move the camera back and forth, and even then, the amount of focusing possible by turning the focusing ring is minimal, because as you turn it more, the magnification changes so much that you have to recompose the shot. In my last shot, where I wanted to just partially crop the flower petals, had I used the focusing ring to set the focus, the whole composition would have gone out the window.

By the way, as I mentioned earlier, this lens cannot focus to infinity. Unlike the 100mm macro or other macro lenses that can focus to infinity and therefore double as portrait lenses etc. the MP-E 65mm cannot. The minimum focusing distance, measured from the film plane or sensor is 24cm at 5x to 31cm at life-size. The working distance, that is, the distance from the front of the lens is fractionally over 10cm for life-size, and just over 4cm for 5 times photography. The focus for any given magnification is a constant. It cannot be changed. The only thing you can do is change the magnification, allowing you to effectively focus anywhere between 24 and 31 centimeters, or move the camera back and forth so that the subject falls at the right spot for any given magnification.

So now I’m sure you will be able to appreciate that with depth-of-field this shallow, no practical way of focusing the lens well without moving the camera back and forth, and effective apertures as small as F96, this is not the lens for the faint-hearted. With the slightest breeze causing subject movement blurring your shots to boot, if you want to go larger than life-size, you’re going to have to take some extra precautions that you don’t need to consider right now. Last week I mentioned that it took me around 9 months after I brought my 100mm macro lens to really start getting shots that I was pleased with, and that was at a maximum magnification of 1:1. Sure I was not spending a whole lot of time trying to overcome the difficulties, and now that you have learned by all my mistakes it should definitely not take as long, but I am really just pushing the point that macro photography takes a lot more patience than most other types of 35mm photography. Once you go larger than life-size though, we have a whole new bunch of difficulties and limitations thrust upon us. If I haven’t bored you silly already, and you are still interested, tune in again next week. I’ll finally get around to explaining some ways to make life a little easier.

So that’s about it for today. Some of you will have found this heavy going and there is now going to be one more part to this series, for now anyway.

One piece of housekeeping before we close is that I will have locked the Rainy Days assignment album by the time most of you listen to this episode and voting will have been turned on. There’ll be a small black “Vote” button above the photo when viewed full size, and you will be able to change your vote after you’ve voted until voting end. I originally announced that voting would be possible until the end of Sunday the 9th of July, but I might need to bring this in by a few days for personal reasons. I’ll then announce the winner and enable comments and rating in the Assignment forum after that.

So that’s it for this week. Have a great week what ever you’re doing. Bye bye.


Show Notes
Music from Music Alley: www.musicalley.com/


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