Monday, September 20, 2010

White moth

White moth
Originally uploaded by Gustavo Mazzarollo
The entire image of the shoot at f/16, with Canon MP-E 65mm lens at 4x, wich result in a effective aperture of f/80, the diffraction vanish all the fine detail but the DOF cover almost the entire subject.

Without the worry about preserve fine detail was possible to expose to avoid losses to highlights and strong sharpening and strong noise reduction, but the compound eyes, the most important in this photo have sufered in detail and exposure adjusts.

White moth, long DOF

Crop of the above shoot, available in large size:


The entire image of the shoot at f/5, with Canon MP-E 65mm lens at 4x, wich result in a effective aperture of f/25, still into diffraction arena but much less than the usual compromisses of the apertures used at this magnification. The depth of field cover only the eyes and was possible to overexpose them for noiseless results in post processing. In post processing used very little sharpening and slight underxposed to be compatible with the image at f/16

The body of the insect lost most of the info in highlights and out of DOF parts, but will not be used for the final result.

I always aimed in the insect photos at detail in the compound eyes of the subjects, but considering they are only a small part of the subject most of the times to keep them in focus and the rest of the insect there is a need to high apertures, wich end in diffraction and motion blur and damage all the details at eyes. One viable solution if the subject is steady enough is to make two photos, one aimed at the eyes and other with longer DOF to cover all the insect, and make a "DOF stack" by layer work in post processing. The software I used was GIMP software. One third image, not present here, was used to address some highlight issues.

White moth, short DOF, compound eye preserve

Crop of the above shoot, available in large size:


Friday, June 11, 2010

Things could be considered important when shooting insects

White crab spider eating solitary bee
Originally uploaded by Gustavo Mazzarollo
One of the pictures selected by Getty Images

About two weeks ago received on Flickr the invitation of a Getty Images a provider of digital media who license images for use in projects, very interesting to observe the images selected by their professionals, 25 of a 375 images gallery at this time, most of selected images were the ones which shows nature in activity. the few ones selected with not activity moments were the ones with best composition.

Bubbling wasp
Originally uploaded by Gustavo Mazzarollo

This week received the e-mail from National Geographic Brazil that one of my pictures was selected winner of the monthly selection of best pictures send by readers, of all pictures they select two a month for a prize and be featured in printed version of the magazine, it's very cool and reinforce the idea of looking for subjects in activity to capture. this wasp nest is near my home and I visited it every day, already saw the wasps bubbling but in a timid way, this one not, it was bubbling and body elevated, two chances to capture which ended in one successful shoot.

All things hapened in a short period of time and is part of a smooth transition between uncompromised nature close ups to the need to look for nature action/moments and register them with eyes on composition. I am happy and sad at the same time, happy because the images were considered good by part of media, gaining more exposure to broader audience, and sad as some of the pictures that I would consider "good" some time ago could no more be considered keepers. Is a challenge to work in a method to be in the place of action in a time were it probably will happen, but it's content for a entire topic...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Black wasp I

Black wasp I
Upload feito originalmente por Gustavo Mazzarollo

The black ones are the hardest to be near (more ferocious and willing to stick), but yesterday found this one recovering from cold and jumped in my finger, the reddish background is the reflection of flash after my finger, very friendly one.

@ exposure, this is a big overexposed image, in post processing (Canon DPP) was set at -1,17 brightness, which resulted in correct exposure to the face

f/10 | 1/125s | iso200 | FEC +2/3

Canon T1i with Canon MP-E 65mm @ 4x . 580 EX II flash bracket mounted with a LumiQuest Mini SoftBox diffuser near the lens and silver bounce at right.

I tried "expose to the right" of the histogram in order to retain more color information, I know there are compromises doing this, as the longer flash time result in more motion blur, present in the image, there are bonuses also, as the right biased histogram retain more color info for latter work, for example the reddish shadow in the eye is noiseless as no shadows adjustments were necessary. I underexposed the image in Canon DPP (as the human eye finds the best color image at slight underexposed side, something much used by slide photographers) and reduced the color temperature in the white balance setting (to 5800K) is possible to reduce more and get a more "correct" image at about 5200K but the "correct" one does not have the warm that represents the moment of photo (the wasp in my finger) the finger in this case worked as a colored card below the image.

Bottom line: lots of information is lost in post processing, by Linear Gamma concept overexposed images have more information (in term of bytes), is better to work when you have lots to discard than when you have little, in this one after the brightness adjustment there is still info enough to choose of two different "climates" for the face exposure.

Black wasp II
Upload feito originalmente por Gustavo Mazzarollo

The start of the session that ended in the previous photo. The wasp was motionless in a branch, as I secured the branch it jumped to my finger. This picture have different lighting aproach, the same tech specs of above minus the flash that was set at +1/3 wich resulted in a slight underxposed image, in canon DPP was neede to increase brightness in 0,17, subject more steady, smaller flash times resulted in a more sharp image but not so many color choices for post processing. It's worth note that actual RAW conversion software is able to recover some color info by recovering a underxposed image so the second one do not suffer this much in color and still have some benefits.

Noone of the two aproaches is right or wrong, is too much subject dependent, and, if working with moving subjects is moment dependent too.