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Vermis through the looking glass

Discussion in 'Through the Lens' started by Vermis, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Vermis

    Vermis Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Following my photographs of the larch ladybird - taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX80K and it's Vario 12-32mm kit lens - I figured I needed something extra for close up shots of inverts and such. A quick look at macro lenses confirmed they were outside my budget for now, so I looked at extension tubes in the meantime. I settled on Yasuhara's Nanoha micro 4/3 set of 10mm and 16mm tubes (they had a good discount on Amazon.co.uk) and when they arrived, I whacked on the 10mm tube and had myself a garden safari. No tripod or extra lighting. A little help from GIMP for these examples...

    Macrotestant.JPG Macrotestbeetle.JPG Macrotestflower1.JPG Macrotestsnail1.JPG Macrotestsnail2.JPG Macrotestspringtail.JPG Macrotestwoodlouse.JPG

    ... Mm. Yeah. The tubes might do okay.

    One thing that surprised me was the fairly narrow depth of field, that different aperture widths didn't seem to affect much - although it was early evening and narrower apertures were getting dim anyway. Noticeable in the second snail pic (focus on the body, shell goes blurry, and vice versa) though I think I could get away with the standard lens for larger subjects like that.
    The same effect threw me in at the deep end with manual focus, even with autofocus on. Some of the better results were with focus settings switched to manual, which is a reversal of the situation my competency usually allows. ;)

    Any pointers or wishlist suggestions? I've got a couple of tripods already. I'm thinking some wee LED lamp for macro subjects, to give outdoor light a boost; and macro rails look more interesting after manual focus became more important, though the kit zoom lens helps there. Further down the line I'm thinking of telephoto lenses before macro lenses, for much larger wildlife. I understand telephoto lenses can be used with extension tubes to good effect too. Has anyone experience of that?
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  2. Vermis

    Vermis Arachnoknight Old Timer

    I'm the kind of person who can only give manuals a quick skim before jumping in and finding out things by trial, error, and specific references. I won't say I'm good at it, but I'm better at it than absorbing info from dense, dry books. Especially true of my Lumix, with it's intimidating menu full of obscure settings, and the actual manual's prompting to download extra online info.

    I guess this why, after thinking about an additional light, I found the Lumy has an 'autofocus assist lamp' for dark areas. Granted, I still don't know if this'll help with macro subjects right up against the lens, or if it'll even light up the photo. Need to read up and test it...
    Even more embarrassingly, I was labouring under the misapprehension that with the camera set to manual mode, ISO was dependent on aperture and shutter speed. (the 'exposure' scale wouldn't show up in manual mode) This is despite a button with 'ISO' splashed right across it, sitting above most of the other buttons on the back of the camera. Ah well. At least I know I'll be a bit less dependent on slow shutter speeds.

    So I got to play with ISO settings a little when I helped out at a local bird-ringing session. With no telephoto lens for the immediate future, it was the best opportunity I had to try closeups of birds! Though I couldn't resist some invert shots, when one of the others pointed out a big cluster of caterpillars on a nettle.

    Standard lens at 32mm focal length (equivalent to 64mm in a 35mm camera?), about as close as I could get and still focus, photo resized but uncropped:


    32mm, 10mm extension tube attached, resized but uncropped:


    Full-sized crop of that little redhead in the middle:


    Most likely Peacock caterpillars, Nymphalis io. The all-black examples match the pocket guide, anyway. The red-headed white-spined ones threw me off.

    A couple of shots of the main reasons for being there. Should've taken more, but there was a rush on.

    Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus.


    Black Cap, Sylvia atricapilla.


    Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus.


    The last two a rare treat: first and second times I've seen then, respectively. My shot doesn't do the Long-tail's colours justice.
    More lessons learned from mistakes, too. The heads of the Blue Tit and Black Cap are slightly out of focus. I think there are a couple of reasons for that: the aperture wide open at f/5.6, and possibly the focus area set narrowly, aimed at the body. The focus on the Long-tail was a little better at f/7.1. Next time I'll try relying more on ISO, besides the other settings.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  3. Patherophis

    Patherophis Arachnobaron Active Member

    Nice photos :)
    Yes, caterpillars look like Inachis io, ones with red head are just freshly molted.
    Beautiful.birds, especially A. caudatus. I think it is the cutest bird, lovely fluffy ball of feather with that long tail. :happy: I did not have enough luck to catch any, just once flock of them flew over us.

    Btw have You thought about focus stacking ?
  4. Vermis

    Vermis Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Thanks. :) Like I say, I've only seen A. caudatus once before, a glimpse at a small group foraging through some bushes. This was a much better view.

    Shoot. Is this guide book out of date already? Looking online, I also see Aglais io. I have some reading to do.

    Thanks for the confirmation, though.

    [Quite]Btw have You thought about focus stacking ?[/QUOTE]

    I will now! Thanks for the pointer.
  5. Patherophis

    Patherophis Arachnobaron Active Member

    Sorry, I just used name I got fixed in mind. I am not much into butterflies and I do not know which name is currently considered valid.
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