ABOUT ME

I live in a camper van with a couple of West Highland Terriers for company.
My passion is photography but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN
ALL IMAGES WILL ENLARGE WITH A LEFT CLICK

Sunday, 31 May 2015

WET AND DRY. (31/05/15)


I bet you are wondering what this bit of High Tech equipment is. It's a bucket on a stick I have been thinking about having a look at the insects in the pond but they are the devil to catch as they swim out of range when they see me. This has solved the problem.

I caught this Common Pondskater. Gerris lacustis. I never knew they had wings but from these pictures it looks as if they do. This is the set up.
Two strobes and a reflector seems to work best but it doesn't work very well. I could do with using a polariser but then the light would have to be from one side only and I can't see to focus. I think I'll have to set the camera up on a tripod, focus without the polariser then pop it on and hope I can see enough in EOS Utility to fire the camera and strobes when something swims into frame. 

I always trigger off camera strobes with Pocket Wizard triggers. These are their Flex TT5 system and I got them for about a quarter of new price. I suspect people buy them and then can't use them. It took me about a day to sort them. I had to log in to Pocket Wizard Utility and plug each unit into the computer and their software sorts them out. I switch them on from the top down. Strobe first, then the PW slave then when they are on do the master unit and the camera. I switch off in the reverse order. I was working with a chap who was also using them and he gave me this tip. The other thing to watch for is other photographers using them within a few hundred metres. There are three channels to choose from and the buttons are really fiddly. Just decide between you who is using which channel or you will be flashing by accident. If you have them don't give up, they work like a dream once you have torn your hair out and hit them with something big and heavy. The little gizmo right at the top on the camera is an extra and allows you to adjust up to three strobes manually. I tend to go with ETTL unless it looks really bad.
Now in my bucket I have one or two more little creatures, there is a little transparent thing that hangs vertically just under the surface and seems to move by waggling little hairs about and a black spider that swims back and forth. Lots of other things but I suspect they are going to be too small.
This is from yesterday and was sitting on it's web in the bracken. I just got the one shot and can't identify it.
There were several of these eating bird crap on a galvanised gate. I spent ages mucking around and really like this one lit from below. The only problem I have is that the zinc is showing colour fringing or chromatic aberration of some sort. It almost looks like luminance noise but I'll work on it a bit more. 
Have a great week and an even better month.

33 comments:

  1. You certainly have both the knowledge and the kit.

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    1. John, the list of kit is almost infinite. I rarely buy anything new but it is still expensive.

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  2. And here I am deliberating over a point and click camera. Do you ever get bored Adrian?

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    1. Carol, just pick a colour you like. They are all much the same but waterproof is worth paying for.
      How could I get bored?

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  3. I'll take you a while teaching at Ruben.

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    1. Bas, no it is easy to learn if you take one step at a time.

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  4. The settings on the flash sounds a proper nightmare I never realised it was so complicated!! It made me wonder about the debate a group of paparazzi must have and equally worried about a group of men accidentally flashing each other must make for interesting photos :-)
    I like the spider though the 'fly' made me feel a bit queasy

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    1. Douglas, it isn't complicated with a single flash. You just switch it on, make sure it says ETTL and it does it on it's own.
      I am thinking of printing the fly. Though I suspect fly on fungus would sell better than fly on bird shit.

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  5. Your created High Tech equipment really good :) Sometimes such simple things could solve our problem very easily. I'm not perfect in flash tech because I always try to avoid it in the nature but you have used it perfectly. Nice macros as usual. Regards, Miklos

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    1. Kovacs, I never use anything but flash. The insects and even mammals don't seem to be upset by it and it does freeze the subject.

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  6. Nice bit of high tech kit there Adrian, they always say the the simpler it is the better it works!

    Those triggers look to be the business?....once you get them set up! I've got the Canon ST-E2 speedlight wireless transmitter which seems to work well with my strobes.

    Just a thought, would a top light work on your setup?

    That's possibly a Garden Spider (difficult to ID from that side!)

    Looks like that fly is enjoying a nice and tasty light lunch there?

    Let's hope it gets a bit warmer, and brings out some more bugs, for the new month?
    Have a good one...[;o)

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    1. Trevor, I don't know what I'd do or what people did before cable ties, silicon sealant and gaffer tape were invented. It is quite a recent form of packaging for fat balls is the bucket.
      I tried that first and even with the flash on manual at 1/8th power the reflections were horrendous. I will try to set up differently tomorrow. If I angle the reflector then it should light the top of the insect. These skaters are quick and can jump quite high. the little black water beetles are faster than Lewis and Mercedes. There are several lava in the pond but they stop under the water so a polariser would help with them. There is a damn great thing about 50mm long but I'll leave that alone as I think it might be a dragon fly whatsit. It also looks very fierce.
      The bird must have had steak and caviare for it's tea. The flies kept coming back for more.
      I only got the PW as it was £185.00p a couple of years ago for that I got 3 TT5s, 1TT1 and an AC3 plus a posh zip up case to pop them in.

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  7. Replies
    1. Ta Ian, I'm saving as PNGs and things are a little better. If WLW is not running soon then I'll adjust my template to suit Blogger and do a new header.

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  8. Publishing pictures of your expensive equipment is surely like giving the campervan robbers of central Fife a shop window. For them it's a bit like shopping on line. I hope that Alf and Molly have been trained to savage intruders.

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    1. YP, never gave it a thought. Who would want to nick a bucket on a stick? This isn't the Central Belt, it's miles from anywhere and on a dead end road. It could happen there are thieving bastards everywhere. You lock your mower up.

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  9. WOW! That is some equipement and to think I only use 1 camera with 1 lens!!

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    1. Not a lot I can say to that except I must be daft. I'll trade it in for a smart phone then I could take pictures and chat at the same time.

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  10. When I was a child, we went out catching things in streams. I especially recall the ditiscus beetle (though I don't recall how to spell it. That looks very wrong indeed).

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    1. Frances, It's spelt Dytiscus. you were only a letter out. It's common name is Bert; of course not, it's The Great Diving Beetle.

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  11. Just a question. When do you eat? When do you sleep? This must keep you busy 23 hours a day. I can't believe the stuff you come up with as in methods and subjects to photograph.Nicely done.

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    1. Red, I don't sleep very much. I have Plenty of time.

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  12. My question isn't as complicated at Red's. I just wonder where you eat with all that gear on your table.

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    1. Pauline the table extends but I have a bit of a tidy up. Almost true, I push things to one side.

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  13. Just wanted to give you a heads up, that I have included your blog in my latest blog post called "10 Photography Blogs You Need to Follow". You can view it now on my blog.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Yes saw it and many thanks Mersad.

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  14. wow, great close ups! visiting from mersad's blog :)

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    1. Bob, the fly will be a common something but I like it.

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  16. Hi Adrian, hopping over from Mersad's blog. Really enjoyed the tech talk and the tips. I'm still having a love/hate relationship with my pocket wizards. Your info was helpful. And I love your bucket of photo 'subjects'. I was at a macro workshop recently and commented to the instructor that I didn't know how some photogs can get an insect to hold still long enough to shoot a photo of it's eyeball. He said that to get a really sharp, really close up, really great angle macro of an insect, many photogs freeze the bug, then place it where they want. Now I know! I'll visit you again soon, hope you get a chance to visit me as well.

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    1. Karen, I never freeze or use dead ones. Not because I object morally but because the challenge is to wait and get them when they are busy eating, bonking or just plain tired. Never even think that auto focus will work. It's a manual job set focus and move to them so make sure you are happy with the camera, lens, strobe set up. You don't get long to snap the little blighters.
      I do capture them and find a little stone in a dish of water helps contain them. It's hard to even find them with the MP-E 65mm if they are dashing about. I have swapped my screen for a prismatic one and after much practise it suits me. Outside I use the Canon Ring flash. Inside I cobble together as you have seen. I got my Pocket Wizards two years ago. I thought the same....expensive crap in a nice box....No, I've sorted them and they are perfect. Just now and again they are naughty but when they are it is usually my fault.

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  17. Me gusta tu manera de pasar el tiempo, si con este equipo haces esto con uno mejor ganarías un pernio nobel.
    Un abrazo.

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