Monday, October 6, 2008

The Minneapolis Bee's

A couple weeks ago I had the good fortune to be able to conduct a Tamron Photo Weekend at the Arboretum, right out of Minneapolis. This is the 4th time we've done this event with National Camera, and it's amazing how much fun it still is to repeat the basic same agenda.

This is a real high end chain of camera stores with employees who are shooters, printers, along with a handful of geeks, just to keep the mix alive. More impressive is the fact that most of the staff has been there for all 4 years....which is like a lifetime in retail camera sales. This sure says a lot for the owner.

For being so late in the season, it seemed like summer on the day of the field session. Tons of great flowers, and insects everywhere. Perfect macro conditions. So, out came the tripod, and my favorite close-up lens....the 180mm by Tamron....even though the event was sponsored by them, this is still my lens of choice....even when no one's looking. To get a feel for the resolution of this baby...double click on the image, and you'll get a closer look.

The ambient light was decent, but with the bee's cooperating so well, it made for a very slow pace of shooting. We were all able to frame up a perfect specimen of the flowers....and just wait for the inevitable insect to land. When these guys get focused on pollen, there's no distracting them.

Since there was no sense of urgency in the capturing of images, I decided to kick it up a notch and add some off-camera flash to make the lighting perfect. A big soft box in REAL tight would be just what it needed, and the Elinchrom EZ Box fit the bill. I had one of these set-up with my Metz 58 flash unit, and triggered by the Skyport transcievers.

With the camera mounted on a tripod, I was easily able to manually hold the box just above and right on the verge of being "in-frame". With the light source in this close, we got some really great highlights on the bee's and the flowers. And, using an off camera flash from a point-blank distance, it enabled me to be able to overpower the sunlight, darken the background, and best of all, decide which direction I wanted the light to be coming from. Pretty cool stuff.
Most all of these shots were taken at ISO 100 with the white balance set for Daylight.
Shutter speed was typically at 1/200th and the aperture was around the f/16 area.

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