Just a snapshot…nah, it’s a composite. This is my daughter. She sat in her garden for this. I put it into a winter landscape of our city in Germany and added the tree on the left from another shot taken out in the countryside. Was a bit of a challenge…
That’s very well done Dean.
I used to do stuff like that myself so I know what’s involved.
[Was going to send these to Doug, but left it too late… ]
Some photographs from my last trip to Spain in the spring. All taken with the EOS 50D I got last year. It may be an old model, but some the controls & viewfinder information are better than the more recent EOS models. It’s still a seriously good camera - so good that it honestly feels like cheating!!
Collared Pratincole in flight:
It was very difficult to get the AF to track these Pratincoles in flight. I used to be able to track birds in flight using my manual focus cameras, but those days are long gone. They are only active at the end of the day, very fast and had to let them get close even with a 300mm lens on a camera with a half-frame sized sensor. Old habits die hard; even without the cost of film to worry about I still prefer to keep the camera on single shot rather than continuous. Even at a nippy 6.5 fps you can easily miss the moment when using the ‘machine gun’ method.
Like the Pratincole these were taken at my favourite reserve (Punta Entinas-Sabinar) at the end of the day when the light becomes magical and you get wonderfully saturated colours. And it is the only site where I can get close enough to get some decent photos. It has changed a lot over the last 23 years, generally not for the better. (Too may humans in cars seeking a shortcut to the beach or something less savoury - whatever the outdoor equivalent of ‘cottaging’ is. You have to be very careful where you point your binoculars!) Despite this and an apparent total lack of management these days (actually that’s probably a good thing) we see greater variety and numbers of birds than ever before. But for some reason it has always been rather neglected and under birdwatched.
I think this peculiar insect is called a Bee Fly:
This was taken just outside my bedroom door using my Canon 70-300mm IS lens handheld. It is a great lens for macro work - much better than any dedicated macro lens for field work, when mobility and a good working distance are required. The image stabiliser is very effective. And it has a greater minimum focus distance than the newer L & Mk.2 70-300mm lenses, but greater magnification. At 1.5m it can manage 0.26x life size, whereas the others focus to 1.2m but with only ~0.2x magnification. Adding the twin-element 500D (or old 500T) +2 dioptre supplementary lens increases the maximum magnification to almost life size, at a huge working distance of about 35-40cm, with minimal loss of image quality. For intermediate distances it works very well with extension tubes.
Really nice shots UTR!
Banded Demoiselle damselfly (female)
Straight from the camera, no tweaking or sharpening (just a minor crop). Taken week using a Canon 50D & 100-400mm mk.2 with 1.4x teleconverter. This phenomenal lens is a fantastic macro lens for field work. Especially with the addition of a teleconverter or Canon’s 500D +2 dioptre supplementary lens, either of which has minimal affect on quality.
An extension tube is also a useful way to gain a useful amount of magnification, but not because it enables the lens to focus closer! At a fixed camera to subject distance of say 1-1.5m, adding a 25mm extension tube increases the magnification by almost as much as the 1.4x teleconverter. Why? To achieve such a short minimum focus distance, this lens has to sacrifice a vast amount of focal length. By adding an extension tube the same focal distance is achieved with the lens’ own focusing set to a further distance, and thus sacrificing less focal length. This is true for all zoom lenses and internal/rear focusing prime lenses, and internal focusing zoom lenses get a double hit. (This is why Nikon’s landmark 70-180mm macro lens was useless due to its appealing working distance.) I used to use this extension tube technique with my old manual focus 400mm lens - the gain in magnification at <5m was very useful in the days of film. But the magnification gain with the Canon 100-400mm mk.2 is enormous by comparison - much greater than any other lens I have used.
The effect of sacrificing focal length to focus closer should not be underestimated. Although the original mk.1 lens had a much longer minimum focus distance than the mk.2 (1.8m vs <1m), it achieved a noticably higher magnification with the 500D supplementary lens (almost 1:1, with a huge working distance).
Great photos guys!
More Banded Demoiselle photos, this time some males. The body is normally blue, and these individuals did look blue when viewed from above. But from this low angle they appear green like the female.
Both taken with Canon 100-400mm II lens + 1.4x teleconverter.
Common Darter dragonfly (female)
As with the damselflies, these photographs were taken in the middle of the day when the subjects were at their most active and flighty. So I needed as much working distance as possible. The first was taken with just the 100-400mm lens. For the second I added a Canon 500D +2 dioptre supplementary lens. Almost nobody uses supplementary close-up lenses any more, associating them with very soft poor quality results. And this is certainly true for the inexpensive single element lenses, which are plagued by spherical aberration. But as this shows twin element lenses, optimised for telephoto lenses, are capable of excellent results - no additional sharpening was applied. Alas they have always been scarce and the 500D is probably the last high-quality twin element lens left on the market. Even Canon themselves seem to have forgotten all about it.
Those are fantastic photos!
I don’t have the lenses to be able to do that but I have played about a bit with macro photography within the limits of my bridge camera.
Great shot Dean!