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Beetle on Flower | by DaveWilsonPhotography
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Beetle on Flower

This is probably not the best macro photo I've ever taken but it does represent a breakthrough for me since it's the first time I've ever shot macro with two lights. Up until now, most of my macros have used natural light. This is easy to do but suffers from the fact that you can't go down to the stupidly small apertures you really need to get decent depth of field. Last weekend, however, I broke out my 2 SB-600 flashes and headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to see if I could take f45 shots of some little critters if I bathed them in a ridiculous amount of light.

 

As you can see, the depth of field is really good (if you think otherwise, look at some of my other macros taken in natural light) and, since I was operating at ISO200, the image quality is a lot higher than previously (since I usually jack the sensitivity up to ISO800 or so for handheld, natural light macros).

 

The only downside to this approach is that you have to get 2 lights on stands (or, in this case, one on a stand and one in my hand) into position and get the shot before the target insect leaves. I only got two shots before this guy scarpered. Remind me to concentrate on slow bugs or snails next time.

 

For the Strobist-inclined, I had the main light about 4 inches from the bug to the left at about 9 o'clock (assuming the camera is pointing at 12) and a second flash set to -1EV at about 2 o'clock.

 

If you like my photos, your vote in the 2009 Photoblog Awards would be greatly appreciated - thanks!

 

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Taken on July 19, 2009