Macro Fly Photography - A Process

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letumgo
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by letumgo » Fri May 08, 2015 6:12 pm

Stefan - Thank you for the link to David Stenström's fly patterns. What a great source of inspiration. I loved his quill bodied emerger. Goodness that is a pretty fly.

William - I am looking forward to learning from this thread. It looks like you have the macro photography dialed in quickly. Your narrow depth of field (DOF) suggest you shot this with a very low aperture setting and you nailed the focus. Golly that is a nice shot! I can see each fiber in the pheasant tail and the thorax dubbing.

I can't wait to see the photos of Bill's flies. The closer you look, the better they look.

Lance said extension tubes were very effective for macro photography. I have never tried them myself, but hope to someday.

What an interesting thread...
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by chase creek » Fri May 08, 2015 7:25 pm

Good thread.
Extension tubes are a really good way to get into macro. MUCH less expensive than a dedicated macro lens (hundreds of $). Extension tubes can only be used with a DSLR. In effect, they move the lens away from the sensor, or body, of the camera, letting the lens focus closer. There is no lens or glass in the tubes, so your image quality depends on the quality of your lens. Two kinds of tubes - auto and non-auto. Non-auto are the cheapest ($12-$20), but they do not have the electrical connections to pass info from the lens to the camera, so any automatic function is lost (auto-exposure, auto-focus, etc.). Auto tubes do have the connections fr auto functions, but are a bit more expensive (80-$130 +/-). There are other ways to get magnification, like a lens that screws on to the front of your lens, like a filter. But with those, you are adding another glass element to your lens. Not as good, in my opinion. Both of these options aremuch cheaper than buying a macro lens. Canon and Nikon make their own extension tubes, but they are expensive. Look at the options on the B&H website for other brands. I think I picked up auto extension tubes for around $80, and am very satisfied.
BUT BEWARE! Once you start with macro, you'll be stalking bugs in the garden. :shock:
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 12, 2015 11:27 am

I've had a couple days to fire off some shots and I really like working with the camera. This could get very technical very quick and I don't need to rush it, but I don't want to get bogged down either. So here are a couple more shots. Yesterday I put a 2x magnifier lens filter on my 40mm Macro lens, shooting through a polarized filter. I really would rather either a larger Macro lens...not likely ($600), or a set of extension tubes that I believe will put some more space between the camera and the fly ($65). The fine focus and lighting would seem simpler with some room to breath. I would like to share the details of the shots, but it seems illogical because I shot some in RAW and had the luxury of fussing with them in editing, altering anything the numbers might have offered. For instance, the F stop seems relevant, most are between F13-F20, but I really like getting down toward F10 and having a portion of the fly blur at the tail. Mostly it takes closer to F20 to keep the whole fly in a focal plane. Exposure would be the kicker, but like i said, the reading might be 1/6 or 1/20, but I bump up the exposure compensation when shooting when needed and then further adjust in Photoshop using the RAW file, so the numbers probably mean little.

(EDIT: I found the correlation between depth of field for a DSLR and a "fixed lens" or compact camera. I'll post it on Page 9.)

This shot was tweaked in raw mode then saved as a jpg. My first time shooting in raw and the thought of infinite manipulation puts me off a bit, unless I really like it. :D

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This was shot as a JPG and cropped in Photoshop. It's amazing how quickly you miss the RAW possibilities and want them back when they are gone, but the image is fine. I doubt I'll give up the benefits of shooting in RAW, but if it gets in the way, I'll leave it alone.

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I've always wanted to shoot on a white background and never pulled it off with my point and shoot (once...one time I did it, but I couldn't repeat it, and haven't tried since). This white felt is a nice option as I can stand a wet fly up to see the entire fly. I'd like to try with some watercolor paper next and maybe keep some of the texture surrounding the fly.

Image
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 12, 2015 11:44 am

I really like shooting on the neutral slate stone but half of my flies have dun or dark gray tones in them. The blue always works as contrast with the fly's materials, but I'd like to explore other options. I shot this fly on several stones and couldn't justify watching the hackle become difficult to read, or have it become less readable as the rest of the fly. The white works okay, and if I get better at it maybe the soft-hackles will be able to be shot consistently in this style.

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You might remember this one from 2011.

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I have most of the flies I've photographed. Something Hans mentioned about 7-8 years ago about keeping all the flies he has shot for his site. I always thought if I ever got a better camera I might want to have some to reshoot.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by letumgo » Tue May 12, 2015 11:53 am

This is fun to watch, and learn from. Nicely done William.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 12, 2015 12:03 pm

One thing I would really like to focus on (nope...didn't mean it) is composition and I hope you'll weigh in on what seems useful and what kinds of composition are most interesting. This lone PTN could have used a group to make for a better image and offered some alternate views to be a more revealing image. Even still I'm happy to have shot this one on the white felt background. Next time I'll just have to invite the family. This is shot at F10 allowing the rear of the fly to blur a bit. At F8, the fade was too much.

Pheasant Tail Nymph - tied with thread on a dry fly hook.
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On the other hand, this image actually tells a great deal in the composition, concealing the wire construction with only a hint as the wingcase is tied off. Not of interest if you don't know the fly is tied entirely with the wire, but upon seeing the name, you're already looking for the construction. I like this one. The group shot might not have been as interesting.

Sawyer's Pheasant Tail Nymph
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Better?
Image


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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by Smuggler » Tue May 12, 2015 12:26 pm

Macro photography is nice, you're doing a great job capturing these flies William. I'd love to get a nice camera but, I have enough bad habits. I'll get my fix vicariously through the great photo's you and the other members post :)
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by Ruard » Tue May 12, 2015 2:28 pm

Hi William,

I like it to have my flies straight, but if you want them in this filt perhaps you can give the filt a bit of colour. But I like it better if the background is not sharp(?) so the flie comes of the background. If the object is in the diagonal from left under to right up then your eyes go the picture in.
Just my thoughts nothing must evrything is possible.


Image

I learned also something of this thread: if i put my F on 8.0 then I have more parts of the fly sharp. you can see that in my last picture : the Poodle in the forgotten fly swap.

Greeting

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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 12, 2015 7:21 pm

Thanks, fellas.

Ruard, I take your point regarding the composition leading the eye. It's something to keep in mind. Your poodle looks great, btw.

Quick question. Those of you fooling with the DSLR's, what lens combinations do you prefer? I know Rodger is using a zoom lens with tube extensions, and Ray recently started using a 100mm macro lens. Who's fooling with tubes, macro adaptors, magnification filters, or just settings on other lenses? What size lens works best with the tubes? Anyone else putting a magnifying filter on a small macro lens? On a standard lens? i understand less glass is less interference, but the add ons, when clean are sharp to my eye.
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