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edrobson June 25, 2016

Are you ready?

This tiny guy was less than 20mm in length, his head is less than 2mm between the eyes. I used the bathroom basin as great light reflector/diffuser.

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This tiny guy was less than 20mm in length, his head is less than 2mm between the eyes. I used the bathroom basin as great light reflector/diffuser.

Magnification is about 2.5x life size, possibly more.
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Behind The Lens

The bathroom sink! The little guy (just 20mm long) was curious and crawled onto my arm while I was taking photos of him outside. I promptly brought him inside. And returned him safely to the garden 15 minutes later.
The time is irrelevant as the scene is entirely artificially lit by flash and diffused by the sink.
Yes, absolutely. The bathroom sink provided a light 'studio'. It provides the white background but, more importantly, reflects and diffuses the light. I used flash to freeze the motion. This is required since very little light enters the camera at 2.5x life size zoom levels and shutter speeds would be too slow (causing both motion blur and shake). I used an on-camera flash angled away and set very low simply to trigger the off-camera flash. With the bathroom sink, the flash provided enough light at a very high speed, at least 1/1000, and avoided camera shake as well. The off-camera flash had a home made diffuser from a coke can and tissue paper. Search 'Brian's coke-can diffuser' and you will understand! Credit and many thanks to Brian.
Canon 40D, Vivitar 90mm f/2.5, Vivitar 1:1 macro adapter, 68mm extension tubes, DCR150 Raynox close-up lens. It was a handful! A bit of background: I have experimented much for budget macro photography. I acquired old used manual film lenses for between $10-100 via ebay, second-hand shops, swap meets, etc, and mounted them via cheap manual-only adapters. Most mounts work with the EOS such as Pentax, Olympic. I have also used extension tubes and even some old bellows! The flash was mounted using a standard L-shaped bracket from the local hardware store. Using combinations of the above allows me to achieve varying zoom levels (and varying comfort levels!).
What the naked eye cannot see! This is my inspiration for macro photography, and nature has so much to see that we usually cannot.
I sharpened and adjusted the contrast. The blurring *not* post-processed, it is an artifact of the zoom level, the focus plane is extremely thin.
In my camera bag
When I'm out macro shooting, I lug around the Canon 40D, Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 + 3 extension tubes (68mm worth), and sometimes an old Pentax prime 135mm Super Takumer - the additional mm gives a greater distance between myself and the subject. When traveling, I simply take the Canon 40D 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6. This gives a decent range for a variety of scenes from inside temples, wide landscapes, portraits. If anything it's zoom is a little shorter than I like.
You don't need heaps of money for macro. Read up online. Experiment with different second-hand/used equipment. Automatic focus is generally not fine-grained enough so I fix the aperture and moving my body/the camera in and out to adjust the focus plane. Lighting is incredibly important. Play with different materials as diffusers, tissue paper, tin foil, plastic disposable bowls, anything! The first light bulb moment was realising I could use old film lenses and the second freezing motion with flash. This allowed me to capture bees, insects, spiders and, of course, lizards and skinks. And most of all, enjoy. Macro photography was a good reason to get out and observe nature.

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