I created this page to try and help me remember the past,
somewhere to store some memories
that were fading from existence.

Macro photography the journey so far.

Bugs Insects Spiders
Macro is my latest addiction; I saw a shot of a bee in flight a few months back and set myself a challenge to capture a bee in flight, what a trip, totally enjoyable (most of the time).
Having no real macro equipment I started gathering information from books websites and of course my friends in the Limerick Camera Club, who are always very helpful.
Oh boy, was I on a steep learning curve.

Mounting lenses back to back
I tried mounting lenses back to back using old filter rings stuck together and I must admit I had great fun and frustration mastering my focusing which is achieved by moving backward and forward, and the then the bomb dropped the depth of field dof is just so small,
You end up using apertures of f16 or f22 which darkens your viewfinder making it impossible to focus except under brightly lit conditions,
the results were extremely good but the images suffer from Vignetting at the edges.

Reversing lenses
Then I tried reversing lenses but you need to be able to adjust the aperture manually so you need old lenses luckily I still had my old film SLRs. I ordered a canon fit reversing ring from eBay and started to do some tests with 50mm, 28mm 70mm, lenses and extension tubes, took some shots of dead flies, then hit the swamp near my house for a field test,

In the field
Wow was it difficult at first everything constantly moving flower buds, grasses, leaves and of course me swaying all of the time never mind insects hiding every time I tried to get close.

Macro photography’s success ratio
I didn’t know at the time but macro photography’s success ratio is about 20 to 1, out of every 20 shots you take, you will be lucky to have one in focus, five or six nearly in focus and the rest as we used to say back in the days of slide you should put your finger through them, totally useless.
But my success was a lot lower probably 40 to 1.

The big problem was light
Because of the small aperture needed to get an insects eyes in focus it didn’t let in much light reach the sensor I had to use a slow shutter speed and a high ISO speed,
leading to camera shake and film grain.
I had to use flash to try and freeze the image this led me on another journey of exploration,
If you try and use a flash on the hot shoe, it won’t reach your subject it’s too high it is designed to illuminate subjects that are 1m to 15m in front of the lens not 5mm from your lens.
DIY Diffusers
I tried building diffusers, first with cardboard to bend the light from the flash down toward my subject, the results were O.K. but too fragile.
Next was an orange juice carton because it had silver inside and tissue as the diffuser on the front all held together with elastic bands, better results than the first one, but I still wasn’t happy.
I needed to move the flash around, so back to eBay and I ordered off the camera ttl flash cable,
This enabled me to move the flash to different positions at the front of the lens.
A new diffuser this time out of a hatbox held together with a hot glue gun, tested at different sizes.
If it is too big it won’t let you get close enough to your subject, so back to the shed cut it down.
An old flowed hanging basket wall bracket was modified bent and drilled to hold the flash onto the camera, and back into the field,
Eureka eureka, what a difference my success ratio was now down to about 20 to 1, and after a few weeks I got it down to around 10 to 1.
This was partly down to me getting a better understanding of spiders and insects and improving my focusing technique,