Saturday, July 24, 2010
MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A RING FLASH
I found this guy in my garden yesterday. It's a red velvet ant, and it was too intriguing to pass up the opportunity to get a good photograph. I recently created a new insect category on my website, and I thought this unique subject would be a perfect addition.
I put the velvet ant into a Tupperware container and then put that in the refrigerator. The insect moved very quickly on the ground, and this made macro photography impossible. By cooling it down, the velvet ant virtually went to sleep. I put a leaf on my kitchen counter and after a few minutes in the refrigerator, I put the insect on the leaf. I used a Canon ring flash to light the small set up, and to fill the frame with the colorful subject I used a 50mm macro lens with one extension tube.
Depth of field is extremely important in macro work, so I set the lens to f/32 and used manual exposure mode on the camera. ETTL on the flash automatically calculated a perfect exposure without even bracketing. I hand held the camera because as soon as the velvet ant warmed up a bit it started moving. I could only get a couple of shots before it became too active again, and then I put it back into the refrigerator for another 3 or 4 minutes until it was knocked out. I repeated this process about five times until I was happy with my pictures, and then I put the insect back into the garden, apparently unaffected by the photo session and the chilly temperature.