Extreme Macro Photography

Blue Milkweed bloom measuring an inch across with thrips inside.

The image above was captured with a MOVO EXT-C5 Reverse Auto-focus macro lens adapter. The adapter lets you attach your lens to your camera backwards. This turns any lens into a super heavy-duty macro lens.

Here’s the MOVO EXT-C5 with a Canon 24mm lens in the middle. Notice that the part of the 24mm lens that usually connects with the camera is now facing away from the camera.

While the MOVO EXT was fun to play with there are drawbacks. Depth-of-field is extremely narrow even at f/22. Camera shake ruins most images even when the camera is mounted on a sturdy tripod.

An alternative is adding an extension tube and/or close-up filter to your existing lens.

Canon 500D Close-up lens is no longer available unless you buy them used. I’m currently using the Marumi DHG Achromat Macro +3 that gives the same quality. Then add a 24mm Extension Tube or a 12mm Extension Tube for added magnification.

I’ve used the items above for years when I wanted to photograph something up-close. I find the extension tubes, close-up lens, or combination a lot easier to use than the MOVO EXT.

Chrysanthemum reflecting in a small glass bead. Extension tube and close-up lens.
Same set-up with the MOVO EXT. Despite a lot of effort I could not get the main glass bead in focus.

Here’s a link to my old blog with a better explanation about a close-up lens.

Texture Slider in Adobe

In May of this year, Adobe gave us the Texture slider. You can find this in Adobe’s Lightroom Classic or Adobe Camera Raw.

The Texture slider enhances or reduces texture in a photo. Texture would be bird feathers, animal fur, tree bark, alligator skin, stucco, etc. The Texture slider does not enhance details in our nice blurry backgrounds. The Texture slider is a game changer on certain photos.

I’ve been a real champion of the Clarity slider since that tool was introduced by Adobe. Almost all my processing began with Clarity slider to 20, Vibrance to 20, and Saturation to 20. “Go to CVS first” was the line we used in class.

The Clarity slider, though, worked on details and textures throughout the image. Minor details in the blurry background were often enhanced.

Texture slider only works on textures. It’s a pretty smart tool that can really bring out key details in our photos.

The Texture slider is also available under the Adjustment Brush tool. This allows us to enhance or reduce the texture in one area of a photo.

Pretty neat tool. Give it a try. I’m sure you will like it and find many uses for the Texture slider.

Green violetear or Lesser violetear with the Texture slider blown up to 100%
Same photo as above with the Clarity slider blown up to 100%. Notice how the
background at top right has more detail. Not as soft as the image processed with
the Texture slider.
Same as above with no Clarify or Texture slider. Nice soft background thanks to
a shallow f/stop. We don’t want to mess with that background during processing.

Texture on the left image. Clarity on the right image.

SD or CF Cards

Wayne sent me an email asking if his next card should be a SD or a CF. Good question!

Here’s my reply:

I visited the Sandisk site to see what they are currently offering.

–CF Cards by Sandisk: 256 GB with 160 MB/s. 128 GB with 120 MB/s

–SD cards by Sandisk: 256 GB with 150 MB/s. 128 GB with 300 MB/s (That’s fast!!)

— CFast 2.0 by Sandisk: 512 BG with 450 MB/s (Wow doggie!!)

Background Information — In the beginning of the digital photography age we had Compact Flash cards, Standard Definition cards, and some other cards that have fallen by the wayside.

Compact Flash cards, or CF cards, were for the big, new digital cameras, like the 10D and D100 made by Canon and Nikon. Standard Definition cards, or SD cards, were for the tiny point-and-shoot cameras. Tiny cameras needed tiny cards.

Then camera like the Canon Rebel came out with SD slots. Eventually, the larger digital SLR cameras came out with SD slot and a CF slot. The Canon 6D is a larger digital SLR and it only takes the smaller SD cards.

What we have today is a choice. SD cards are just as fast as CF cards. Then CFast 2.0 are on the market with reasonable prices.

Canon wrote on their site that they are not abandoning the CF cards because so many pros use them.  Good to know.

How fast of a card do you need? Do the math. Photo size x burst rate is the basic formula. 24MB raw file x 7 frames per second = 168 MB per second. That’s your starting point.

Ask also “how often do you hold the button down for 7 fps?” If the answer is often, then get a fast card. If the answer is never, then speed is not an issue when buying cards.

Sequence of an aplomado falcon in flight. We need fast card and fast “frames per second” to capture the action.

One last thing if you’re still with me. Buffer is also an issue. Look through your viewfinder on your camera. Push the shutter button half-way down. Look at the number is the bottom right corner or along the right side. The number might be 3 or 6 or 19 or 56. That number is how many photos the camera’s buffer (internal memory) can hold before the dreaded BUSY signal pops up and the camera stops firing. The buffer is based on the size of the photos you’re taking such as RAW or fine JPG. Bigger the photos the less photos that will fit in the buffer.

The buffer will hold 3 photos on this camera.

Equipment Specials from Hunt’s Photo and Video

My friends at Hunt’s Photo & Video are offering these equipment specials:

Dear Photo Friends,
Ah, Spring is in the air. Time to get out and start shooting! Following are our specials for April 2019:

We received a limited quantity of Nikon Refurbished bodies and lenses. They carry a 90 Day Nikon Warranty, but I have longer warranties and Damage Protection available. Call me now at 781-462-2383:
D7500 Body $799.99D850 Body $2,599AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR $1,899
D750 Body $1,149
AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED $1,399AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR $1,149Coolpix P900 $499.99Coolpix P1000 $849.99AF-S 85mm f/1.4G $1,449.99AF-S 24-120mm f/4 ED VR $599.99

If you’ve thought about getting into mirrorless here’s a great opportunity:Olympus E-M1 II with 12-40mm f/2 PRO lens $1,998.98 (reg. $2,699.98)
Lens Specials. Call me for pricing, 781-462-2383:Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO (MFT)
Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO (MFT)Panasonic Leica 100-400mm f/4-6.3 (MFT)Sigma Contemporary 150-600mm f/5-6.3 (Canon or Nikon)
Sigma Contemporary 100-400mm f/5-6.3 (Canon or Nikon) $669 with FREE UV filter
Preorder now, due in April:Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S $1,299.95Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S $2,299.96 (about 1/3 lighter then current DSLR model!)
The following are rumors, not official announcements. Send me your phone number if you want to be notified if and when any are announced:Olympus 150-400mm f/4.5Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L ISCanon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L ISNikon Z 50mm f/1.2 SNikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 SNikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S

Used Lenses (subject to prior sale)Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR II $3,299Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED $1,499Nikon 300mm f/4D $749Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art (for Nikon) $669Canon 500mm f/4L IS $3,399Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L (non IS) $849Canon 70-200mm f/4L (non IS) $499Canon 90mm f/2.8 TS-E $779Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E $999Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 (for Canon) $1,299Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art (for Canon) $649

...and something else you may want to know about:
Canon has continued their printer rebate program. Now through April 30, 2019 or until supplies run out, we are offering the 
Canon Pixma PRO 10 printer at $379.99 before rebate (Canon sells it on their website for $699.99). If you purchase the printer plus a package of 13x19x50 sheets of Canon Semi-Gloss or Luster paper, $50, Canon will send you a $250 mail in rebate! This is a pigment based printer and is always reviewed very well. Your final cost is $129.99 plus the $50 paper package after mail in rebate! And don’t forget to ask me about special pricing on Monitor Calibration from Data Color and Xrite, a crucial part of the printing process!
Hunt’s is also offering an incredible special on the 
Canon Image PROGRAF Pro-1000 17″ Printer. Purchase the printer for $1,299.99, and receive an assortment worth $499.96 of 17×22″ and 13×19″ Canon paper! You then mail in for your $300 rebate. Your final cost is $999.99 for the printer with $499.96 worth of FREE paper. Supplies definitely limited on this one. Call me now to reserve yours. Rebate runs through April 30, 2019!

In order to take advantage of these specials please call, Alan Samiljan, at 781-462-2383 to place your order and reference this email. As always, UPS Ground shipping is FREE in the Lower 48. My regular hours are 8:30-5:00pm eastern, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.

Hunt’s Photo & Video

100 Main St.

Melrose, MA 02176

(781) 462-2383 

asamiljan@huntsphoto.com

My hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, 8:30-5:00pm eastern

Long-term Storage Solutions

A friend wrote:  My “new” 1 Tb laptop I bought for doing PS Raw is almost out of memory. I realize the new full crop files are much larger than the crop frame 70D images but I think the real problem is redundant storage of images. Windows 10 automatically dumps them into their “My Pictures” & I’ve been saving the jpg’s in another pictures file. Should I buy a storage so I can free up some memory by moving my PS Raw &/or jpg files out of the C drive on my laptop?

My Answer:  I’m only using an external hard drive for my photos and processing.  I have a Western Digital My Passport with 2 or 3TB of storage.  I put all my photos on that drive.  That way the computer never sees them and puts them somewhere.

I have another external hard drive that I use for back-ups when in the field.  That gets a back-up and then might go in my suitcase versus my computer bag on the way home.

(When I bought my latest Mac, the sales person asked me what I was going to use it for.  I said photos but I was going to only put them on the external hard drive.  He said that was the way most people were moving.)

That external hard drive can then be plugged into my big computer at home for more processing.

When I’m totally finished processing a trip, I copy all those files (RAW, jpg, and xmp) to the Drobo on my desk that I can grab in the event of a hurricane.    All photos are stored in the cloud via Backblaze.

That means I have the photos on the hard drive while I’m processing.  There’s a temporary backup on another hard drive but it’s just a temp backup.  Once I’m finished with the processing, the files get moved to the Drobo for permanent storage and  then the cloud.  Just in case, I also copy them to another external hard drive that is a duplicate copy of the files on the Drobo.

Once the photos on the working hard drive have been copied, then I delete them.  I also delete them from the temporary backup.  I always do this with the help of another person to cross-check and verify that the photos are really copied to both the Drobo and the copy hard drives.

That’s four hard drives:

  • Hard Drive #1:  For working on photos in the field on my laptop. Pictures are in folders labeled “Ireland 2018 day 1”, “Ireland 2018 day 2”, etc.
  • Hard Drive #2:  A back-up of the above. Folders called the same as above.
  • Hard Drive #3:  Working files and photos on my big desktop in the office.
  • Master storage of all processed and finished photos in individual folders on the Drobo. Folders have the same names as above.
  • Drobo is copied to external hard drives (#4) as master storage that can be stored off-site. Folders exactly the same as on the Drobo.

I would recommend you copy all your photos to a working hard drive.  That would be #1.  Copy them again to #2 hard drive.   Then create a Master Storage unit with lots of space for #3.  That’s duplicated on #4.

Redundant files?!?!?!?!  Welcome to the world of photography.  This is an ongoing issue.  Concentrate on getting it clean as you can.  Then get the back-ups.  Then try to stay on top of it.  I swear these files multiply at night.