Master & Servant
Someone kindly suggested on my last shot that another fly looking across might be interesting... so I gave it a shot. It certainly works for me =). Thank you Gary! And, credit where credit is due: I really liked this shot by Jemenu so wanted to have a play too! So this is, I think, a pair of greenbottles (not bluebottles, I promise you they look green compared to the bluebottle I compared them to at the time!), they're rather mundane creatures but not without a certain aesthetic appeal when you look at them like this. A blue background: a different blue to last time which is gradiented towards purple. I wanted a bit more vibrancy and I think this gave it to me!
Posing this wasn't easy. I used the Watkins & Doncaster Insect Examination Stage with some cork cut out in a 2 cm by 1/2 cm by 1/2 cm strip mounted at the tip. Then I cut a groove into the cork for each mounted insect according to the angle which I needed for the shot. Each of these insects were mounted on a thick black ent pin. Then I fiddled, swore and cursed for 30 mins to get them parallel and in the positions I wanted, cutting off the end of the pins that went beyond the cork so that it could all fit into the chip cone diffuser. These chip cones are handy because they're shaped so that they diverge so allow relatively big things inside the diffuser (mine just sits on the end of the lens with a custom reverse lenscap made from a black party popper) but they're also the right shape so that there's stilll enough omnidirectional light of a similar intensity (because of similar distances, not quite a perfect hemisphere but better than other things I tried). With close flashes I get away with 1/32 and 1/64.
Technical: Gradient in CS4 piped into SmallHD using HDMI matrix used as ambient lighting for the background; strobing has rear curtain sync. 1s exposures; 121 photos into 34 sub stacks, retouched from Dmap composite, finished off with CS4 & Topaz Detail. Step size of 30µm, polystyrene chip cone diffuser. Cropped then resized 10% to lessen noise. Componon 35 f/4 reversed on flat bellows so about 1:1 ish; 2 Pentax 540& 1 Pentax 360 off camera flashes triggered wirelessly by Metz 58 II cam-connected controller; all manual trailing synch to eliminate flash ghosting, strobes manual at @1/32; perpendicular to flys at @2,6.30 &10 o'clock.
Looks nice on black! www.flickr.com/photos/jingleslenobel/7191333770/lightbox/
Link to full size image: farm9.staticflickr.com/8158/7191333770_da753c467e_o.jpg
UPDATE 2014 - I have put together an extreme macro photography learning site to explain the techniques and equipment used for all my macro photos here in Flickr which is now ready. To point to a few of the links that people who want to learn this stuff might like to have a browse of:
Focus Stacking, Focus Stack Preparation, Shooting A Stack, Stack Processing, Stack Post Processing, Schneider Kreuznach Componon 28 mm f/4, Schneider Kreuznach Componon 35 mm f/4, Schneider Kreuznach Componon 80 mm f/4, Nikon El-Nikkor 50 mm f/2.8N, Reject Enlarger Lenses, JML Optical 21 mm f/3.5, 20 mm Microfilm f/2.8, Anybrand MP-E 65 Macro Lens, Manual, TTL, Rear Curtain Sync, Extreme Macro Backgrounds, Single Colour Background, The Gradient Background, Adjustable Flash Shoe Mounts, Extension Tubes, Eyepiece, Field Monitor, Flash Bracket, Focusing Helicoid, Holding Tools, Lens Adapters, M42 Iris, Macro Tripod, Making A Macro Beanbag.