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Old 28-10-2011, 11:40 AM
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naskies (Dave)
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 1,865
Originally Posted by PCH View Post
Hi Guys,
woohoo - the new Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM lens turned up, and boy did it seem heavy when I first put it on.
I thought the same when I first received that same model lens, but it quickly becomes a plus for stability

But Troy, H, Dave, Andy, Chris and you other guys with expertise - I was wondering if you might care to suggest what settings you would choose for a macro shot like Troys first example under here - the fly on the cabbage leaf. You've all produced similar shots in style I'd imagine.
I agree with the very good advice given by the others. Be prepared to accept the fact that your initial shots will really suck... unlike other types of photography, such as moderately wide angle sunsets, when a macro shot "fails" it can fail quite spectacularly. Just stick with it for a few months and keep shooting, and then it should improve dramatically!

My tip would be to learn the technical aspects first (so you can worry about subject and composition later): as previously suggested, keep it simple with just the camera, lens and tripod to begin with.

Pretend that you're learning photography all over again - do test shots from f/2.8 to f/32 and see the trade off between fast shutter speeds at f/2.8, peak sharpness at f/5.6 - f/8 on crop cameras before diffraction sets in, and increased depth of field at f/16 and smaller. With the tiny DoF, the direction that you face the subject is extremely important - from the side, you might be able to get the whole bug in focus, whereas head-on you may only have eyes in focus.

Similarly, try various shutter speeds to see what's needed to avoid blur from your motion (e.g. handholding) and subject movement (wind blowing on the plant, ant running around like crazy).

Move on to changing the background by varying the scene and the subject-background distance. Then fiddle around with the lighting - take shots under direct sunlight, completely in the shade, next to/near a reflective surface opposite to the main source of light, etc.

Once you get the technical aspects sorted, you'll find that you can fluke a lot of fantastic shots and then start worrying about the creative challenges

If anyone wants to mention any 'must have' accessories, - that would be good too. All I have is the 400D camera body, the two stock lenses that came with it, and now this new lens. I don't have any other odds and sods, but I've noticed the list of accessories goes on and on.... tripod adaptors/rings, extention tubes, lens hood, filters, close-up lenses and macro flash, just for starters.
Macro accessories are a bit like astro - heaps of very useful (and expensive) toys that you can buy, but you probably don't need them to begin with.

Your 400D's built in flash will be more than enough to begin with - all you need is to use a bit of aluminium foil, paper, and sticky tape to "shape" the light. Check out this thread (lots of other examples online - just Google words like "diy macro flash diffuser"):

Anyhow, my three personal must-haves are:

* External (not pop-up) hotshoe flash with an off-camera cable so you can move the light source.

* Tripod mount ring and macro focusing rail - much easier to tweak composition when your field of view is a few centimetres wide.

As always, your time and thoughts are much appreciated guys
Good luck and have fun!
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