Macro Fly Photography - A Process

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William Anderson
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 26, 2015 9:17 am

Again, I really appreciate all the feedback. I haven't been able to shoot anything for a few days and every time I open this thread, I follow the links and never find my way back to our forum. :D Those Ken Rockwell links are very helpful. He writes to my introduction level and answers questions I didn't know I had. When I have the extension tubes I'll pair those with a couple lenses and see if I can get some differences in the sharpness at varying apertures. I think that goes beyond what most care to see, so I'll try to keep this thread more general so there is something to be gained by everyone.

Stefan, you're suggestions are excellent and Mr. Dessaigne's flies, photography and website have always impressed me. He's definitely someone to watch closely.

So this is one of my favorites to date, although a lot of the credit must go to the fly, most soft-hackles are not as compliant when asked so pose and the garish dye of the hackle is striking no matter the context. Still, this is taken with artificial light and offers a fairly warm presentation.

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This is shot with the 40mm macro lens and a UV filter, at F18 and exposure time 0.7692. The Ott lights are above and to the right with an aluminum foil reflector to the left of the lens.
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 26, 2015 9:45 am

Prime Examples

I thought I would post a series of shots taken by other tiers/photographers just to spark a discussion of what we like to see in the fly images. I realize the point of most shots we share is to offer a fly as a model to be reproduced, which is why I fell straight to Hans' images straight away. For me, the reason for spending the time on presenting the fly comes from my reaction to fly shots from others that make me want to tie and fish a pattern. The shots from JP in Stefan's link, for instance. His flies make me want to unload my box and start over, because I can understand the potential of the materials from his shots. The fish don't care, but I'll never find out if I never give the pattern a try. A great shot of an effective pattern triggers a compulsion to try one. Or on more complex patterns you really need to be able to see how the materials come together, especially if you're trying to imagine how the fly will behave based on a photograph. Unless we're fishing together, it's the best we can do.

Two from Jean Paul Dessaigne

Three from Lucian Vasies. Lucian posted this image and the shot is remarkable in clarity and composition as well as descriptive. I don't fish beadhead nymphs often, but this one...it's very appealing, which means there's a place in my box. It's a cool shot and it looks like a killer pattern. The image maintains the full range of tones and the white background eliminates any other distractions. It's very contemporary. The groupings also emphasize his consistency and skill as a tier. I love these shots.

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A couple more illustrating a way to capture a more artistic way to present the flies without losing any of the detail or construction of the flies. Gorgeous. Lucian is using the power of repetition to reinforce every aspect of the pattern.

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These ants also offer a range of views. Even as an abstraction this one is compelling.
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"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by tie2fish » Tue May 26, 2015 11:40 am

Lance Hidy's Giant Stonefly Nymph.jpg
Lance Hidy's Giant Stonefly Nymph.jpg (119.61 KiB) Viewed 4135 times
This changes everything ...
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by daringduffer » Tue May 26, 2015 2:10 pm

I sent JP Dessaigne an e-mail to notify him of the problems navigating his site. He replied that he had closed it a month ago. Don't know for how long the content will be available. Just wanted to let you know.

dd
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by letumgo » Tue May 26, 2015 7:25 pm

William - I think the beadhead nymphs may have been tyed by a gentleman named Lucian Vasies. I have followed his tying for several years. It's interesting when you can start to see someone's style and think "I bet that was tyed by..."

Stefan - I've been a fan of JP Dessaigne for many years too, and exchanged emails with him in the past. I have several flies above my tying desk, which were my attempt at copying one of his swept wing streamers.

William - I am loving this whole thread. The responses have all been very educational.

Karsten - Thanks for the links. I need to do some diffraction experiments with my camera. This explains some of the issues I was having with very small aperture settings.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Tue May 26, 2015 8:50 pm

Ray, I believe these are by Lucian. I've admired his stuff for years. I wasn't certain as he uses several photographic styles to present his flies. I'll show a few of my absolute favorites. They are a benchmark to be sure.

Stefan it would be a crime to lose the material JP Dessaigne has put together. He innovations and presentations of materials and their abilities is inspiring to say the least. I do hope that material is not lost.

I'd still like to see what types of pics you guys like.

Bill, I agree that seeing Lance's was a real shift and I like the clarity of the materials.

Prime Examples

Three from Lance Hidy.
Lance Hidy uses a high end scanner for his graphics work and it's an excellent way to document flies. For these images he's trying to capture the texture and tones against a white background to make the flies as legible as possible. Part of a process for publishing fly patterns. These high res images printed on a white page in context with their description eliminates the hard edges of an image. Graphically much easier on the reader. He's taken the literal documentation of the flies to a new level.

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And this from Lance was just remarkable. The materials and the quality of the spun body do a lot to describe the nature of these flies.
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These are just amazing. Well done Mr. Hidy.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Wed May 27, 2015 3:26 pm

I found this from Normand Frechette, some of you may know him, he was familiar to me, but I just found his blog. He does a great job of explaining the basics, primarily for a compact digital camera. It's a base introduction, but he did a nice presentation and I thought it would good to include it here. I'll also add this to the list of links on page 1.

http://flytyingnewandold.blogspot.com/s ... hotography

This YouTube vid by Henning Seabo is excellent, although very specific to the DSLR cameras. He takes the time to show all his settings. Very simple.
http://hatchesmagazine.com/blogs/Hatche ... ing-saebo/
"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Wed May 27, 2015 4:51 pm

So I want to share a few more pics of examples demonstrating a variety of techniques other tiers have used to present their flies and hopefully spark some conversation on the balance between documentation and art. Some have found the balance and it might be helpful as I continue testing different compositions.

Prime Examples

Two from David Stenstrom. The group of caddis borders on that point where some sacrifice of clarity is made for the sake of a more artful presentation. At times it does make for a more powerful showing of a fly when you see them en mass.

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Another of Stenstrom's strengths is finding the balance between the stage and the background, allowing the contrast to work for the entire fly. There are times when the contrast can be too much with this technique, but he always seems to find the best composition. His pics are very often leaning toward art. I'd be curious to hear about his set up. Two extremes and nothing of the fly is lost.

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Two from Hans Weilenmann. The reason I started photographing and sharing flies to begin with was seeing Hans' exceptional images. For one, the flies are so clear and readable it leaves the impression that you understand enough to reproduce the fly. The high art of clarity. Hans shot a couple of my flies very early on and it changed my tying by leaps. His photographs have probably done more for tying than anyone else and I wanted to achieve something similar to share as he has done.

The high clarity achieved by the lighting and correct depth of field is careful to allow every material be accurately read.
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The quality of the materials down to the amount and tone of the wax used on the silk is crystal clear.
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This from Charlie Craven Like Hans, Charlie has been shooting most of his flies for documentation purposes and often reaches the level of art in doing so. Shooting against a black background can often result in blowing out much of the detail or rendering an inaccurate representation of the materials, but often Charlie has dialed in the balance and offers an beautiful documentation.

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This from Ariko Miettinen. Ariko ties and shoots lots of fly styles but excels at tying and photographing wet flies. Something that proves very difficult to achieve an artistic effect without adding context. More a challenge than most styles. I can imagine many would see a shot like this as it represents much more than the fly. It compromises the accurate colors in the materials but makes up for this by creating a visual experience that lands squarely in the art camp.

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"A man should not try to eliminate his complexes, but rather come into accord with them. They are ultimately what directs his conduct in the world." Sigmund Freud.
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by William Anderson » Thu May 28, 2015 4:56 pm

So here's where I am. Without the extension tubes I'm shooting the 40mm macro lens, finding an F13 best for #14 spiders, etc. I'm focusing two ways, always in manual on a tripod. One way is by adjusting the lens focus ring to get close and then carefully adjusting a macro sliding rail fixed to the tripod. The other way is the have the fly posing atop a small, elevated object, usually a stone, moving the fly into focus and spinning it slightly to get the best position. This under an Ott light above the fly and another to the right and a reflector to the left.


Backgrounds

Last night I was able to fool with some backgrounds and I found this old tin can. At this angle it requires some thought to the background that is showing. The darkest contrast, black, is kind of harsh, especially with a medium toned fly. A pile of beetle patterns might balance out a black background, but the extremes, white and black do little to compliment the fly. The midtoned backgrounds risk washing with the tin and losing a point of interest in the composition. The wool background defines itself against the tin and doesn't distract keeping the focus on the fly.

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The wood and the cork would seem a natural compliment even catching some of the tones within the fly, but in these colors the background portion seems to be too prominent, competing for attention.

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More backgrounds explored soon. :D
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Re: Macro Fly Photography - A Process

Post by letumgo » Thu May 28, 2015 8:55 pm

Fantastic! :o
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