Since December 26th, I have been feeling a bit trapped in the house. I have cleared the drive way a number of times only to have more snow dump on it. The upside is that I have been able to work on a number of projects from the home studio. Primarily, I have been working on the Hidden Worlds Project. This is an exploration in extreme Macro Photography. One of the rules I have set up for this project is that I am not aloud to photograph Bugs or flowers.
So far, I have not had too much of a difficult time finding subject matter to photograph, the hard part is focusing and lighting.
Focus: This is extremely difficult with the Canon MP-E 65 mm macro lens. Why? Well there is no focus ring on this lens; you are focusing entirely by changing the distance from the lens to the subject. This does not seem so difficult until you realize that a single milometer can throw you out of focus; Slight body movements can destroy the shot (as well as any floor shake when using a tripod).
Lighting: I am currently using LED lighting for my set-ups; This has proven to be problematic. The current lights do not have enough output for me to shoot at ISO 200, F16, 1/60th of a second. The settings that I am having to settle for at the moment are ISO 5000 (Yes, Five Thousand), f/16, 1/30th a second. Have tried LED Work Lights as well as two Fotodiox PRO 312AS LED lights.
At 5000 ISO, I am working with a fair deal of grain/noise in the image. The current options are to fight the grain or to work with it. In the posted examples I have chosen to work with the grain, and in some cases I have actually amplified the grain in post production.
I hope that everyone had a good holiday season and that your new year is starting off great! Take care everyone.