My apprenticeship continues with the Canon MP-E65 manual focus macro lens, forcing me down the path of focus stacking to inject some depth of focus into the scene. I use a tripod mounted focusing rail for this technique, although even all this additional stability is often thwarted by breeze induced leaf tremors.
For the focus stacking, I mostly use the Auto Align and Auto Blend functions in CS5 then sometimes I duck out of CS5 to use Helicon Focus. Some of the backgrounds can be a bit of a struggle when focus stacking, as the insect rarely stays motionless between frames.
So, without further ado, here is the latest collection of critters captured in our back garden.
Thanks Deeno, Rick, Humayun, Mike, Rob, Marc, Ken, Bob & Adam for your nice words of appreciation and encouragement.
Who would have thought that the skills I acquired from astrophotography vis-à-vis complicated set ups, lots of fiddling, auto guiding, stacking and hours of post processing are just as applicable to macro photography with the Canon MP-E65 lens!
Fantastic shots Dennis , sounds like the MP-65 is a harsh mistress .
The Canon MP-E65 really is a nice lens and can produce some wonderful results, although from personal experience it can be a challenging lens to master in terms of technique and how you apply it.
I have the Canon 100mm F2.8 macro and for all my standard macro shots, I use it in AutoFocus (AF) mode using the centre AF point on my 7D - it is a wonderfully sharp and accurate lens. Using AF usually gives me almost 100% of my hand held frames in focus. Of those that are in focus, maybe 10 out of say 100 shots are keepers and of those 10, maybe 3 or 4 might get posted here.
With the MP-E65, it is a manual focus lens and in my early hand held days, maybe only 10% were in focus, so I now use a tripod and focusing rail. Generally, each MP-E65 photo I post here is the result of maybe 1 or 2 hours stalking and set up, followed by 1 or 2 hours of processing if the final image requires focus stacking.