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It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.
After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.
The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.
If you watched the last movie, you saw me solve this particular exposure problem we're having right now. It's a big light. The problem I'm having is, zoomed out all the way to 5X on the 65 mm macro, I am just cutting out all the light in my scene. I'm at f16 and, on this lens, 5X zoom at f/16 is the equivalent to f/95 on a normal lens. There is a whole chart about f-stop equivalency in the 65 mm manual. So, I've just got a very, very dark image. Let me give you a shot of what I've got here.
Again, I'm at f/16, and I have got a different composition than what I had before. But you can see that I have still got the same problem. And, there's just no light way down in there. So, if you already own an external strobe, and you're not interested in buying more gear, there's no reason you can't just flood your scene with this thing, and not have to buy a bunch of big external lighting. However, if you're thinking that you're just going to put your flash on your camera's hot shoe, that's really not going to do any good. We need light way down here. This thing's pointed that way. You're going to cast a shadow into your scene. It's just not going to work.
You've got to get your flash off the camera. And, actually, you almost always want your flash off the camera, anyway. So, hopefully you already have an off- camera flash cord. I happen to have mine right here. So, I'm going to hook all this up, with the idea that I can get the flash off the camera. Now, whether you already have a flash or not, it might be worth knowing about this thing. This is a brand you may never have heard of, A Young new external flash. It's a very sturdily built, well-made flash with almost the same guide number as the Canon 580EX.
The differenc is they only cost 75 bucks. The other difference is it has no through-the- lens metering. It's an all-manual flash. Thing is, for most macro work, you need to be in all-manual mode anyway, because the TTL metering's are very often screwed up by the weird situations we are in here now. And, in fact, the manual has some caveats about using external flash with the MP 65 here. Even if you're just using a normal macro lens with extension tubes -- however it is you're getting the massive magnification here -- you're probably going to want to work in manual mode with your flash.
I also have here a softbox for this flash. This is a Fotodiox softbox. There are a lot of softbox and diffusion options for your flash. This thing was only 15 or 20 bucks, so it's an inexpensive way to get into some softer light. I'm not going to put it on yet. I want to see what happens if I just go ahead and hit my scene here with the light that I want. All flashes have a sync speed and maximum shutter speed that they can work at. I'm going to put this at 160. I think it will probably go as fast as 200. I just haven't checked the manual for this flash in a while.
And, I know I want my depth of field to be as deep as possible, so I'm going to leave my aperture at f/16. So, what I do now is just start experimenting. Manual flashes, or your automatic flash in manual mode, allow you to change the flash power by fractional amount. So, for example, I can go from full power to half power to a quarter power, eight, and so on. I am going to just go ahead and start here at about 1/16th, because I know that I don't want a tremendous amount of flash. I can control the intensity of the flash by dialing in a fractional power value, or by moving the flash forward and backward. Just going to set it right about here, and take a shot, and look at my results.
So, right away, that's brighter. It's not quite bright enough. The flash isn't getting all the way there into the back of the flower. And, part of that is probably the lens getting in the way. I'm going to try more over here. See what that does. Yeah, that is still not quite working. I'm going to turn up the flash power. So, I'm going to go from a 16th to an 8th. And, that will double the power. I'm going to try and hold the flash in the same spot, and I'm getting this. This is starting to look better, but I'm worried now about overexposure there on the front. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your camera's histogram while you're working. I have not actually over-exposed anything yet.
So, maybe I'll just try dialing up to a quarter power. And that gets me . . . that gets me this, which is looking pretty good, and still doesn't have any overexposure. I really like the way those little tubey things are lighting up. So, I've managed to again flood this scene with just my flash, without having to use big, external, continuous lighting. If I was finding that I needed to get in closer, and I was over-driving things, that's when I would bring in the softbox. This is going to diffuse the light, cut it down, and allow me to get more power into more of the scene.
Something else I could try is putting a reflector over here, bouncing some flash back into the other side. This is very often how, when you working in the studio, you're going to use your flash. There are more complex multi-strobe flash setups that you're going to work with. We're not going get into those in this course, but if you do have a flash and an off-camera cord, this is as an easy way to get more light into your scene. There are other uses for your external Flash. Now, we're going to look at those when we get into the field.
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