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[Gareth Jones] on Capturing Images of Insects in the Wild...

Susana Weber Susana Weber 1408 posts

Susana Weber Susana Weber 1408 posts

HOW DOES HE DO THAT?!!

That’s the first thing I asked myself when I first saw the insect images of Gareth Jones in the Nikon D90 Users Group… and the second thing… and the third.

If you haven’t been to Gareth’s collection, I highly recommend it. Click on his name in the first sentence above and visit Gareth’s tiny buzzing world!!

Gareth, your insect images are fascinating and inspiring! I have two or three insects in my whole portfolio and the were by complete accident! I, for one would love to know more about how you prepare to get images like the ones I’ve posted here… and anything else you can share with your fellow D90 users that will help us reach he next level of proficiency in this genre of the art.

Please start off this Tutorial Forum with what ever you’d like to share with us. We will probably have a question or two… and hopefully have a dialog that will inform and entertain… and inspire some of us to give it a go.

Thank you for your willingness to share your knowledge with the D90 Group.

Gareth Jones Gareth Jones 35 posts

Hi,

Well firstly I’d like to say I’m flattered and would like to give a very big thank you to Susana for this opportunity to give some insight into my photography life.

I’ve been hooked on photography for about two years now. I originally borrowed a Nikon DSLR from a colleague at work after seeing some of his snaps. Having used the borrowed camera for a few weekends I decided to take the plunge and buy myself my own DSLR. I purchased a Nikon D90 with an 18-105 mm vr kit lens.

I am very fortunate to live on the border of the Peak District and spend many an hour wandering through it with my camera.


Peak District in winter – a fave spot

Although initially I was just taking landscape pictures I soon became very interested in macro photography and realized I’d need a decent macro lens. I bought the fantastic Sigma 105 mm Ex Dg lens and use this for all my macro work.


First attempt at macro with standard lens

I really enjoy taking macro shots as it opens up a whole new world that the human eye rarely sees in real life. For me a good insect macro shot brings out some personality in the subject i.e. a smiling dragonfly


Try to get a bit of personality

All my macro shots are taken in the real world in the subject’s natural environment however I do visit some of the large National Trust sites on occasion as there are more interesting and exotic flowers to be found.


Trust gardens offer more variety of flora

The kit I use for insect macro work is my D90, Sigma 105 mm, cheap ring flash (hopefully have the Sigma ring flash one day), a solid Manfrotto tripod & Nikon wireless remote


Sigma’s superb 105 mm Ex Dg Macro

I will usually find a spot where insects are active i.e. near a pond and just sit and wait for them to settle. I find I get a lot more decent shots this way than chasing them around with the camera. For example sit still by the edge of a pond where dragonflies are active for long enough and they will eventually become inquisitive enough to land on you.


Patience is a virtue

If I can I prefer to use the tripod and remote for my macro’s as the lack of vibration reduction on the Sigma means you have very little room for error when taking a 1:1 handheld as the slightest hand movement ruins the shot.


Handheld with no V.R. can be tricky


Just keep persevering

A perfect situation for me is being able to have the camera tripod mounted, one hand holding the remote above the camera and the other hand rocking the camera back and forward as I use the viewfinder to get my focus point.


And remember – no sneezing :-)

Hope this little bit of info helps anyone interested in insect macro photography

Rgds
Gareth

Thomas Eggert Thomas Eggert 339 posts

Thank you for sharing…T :)

Carl Olsen Carl Olsen 173 posts

Wonderful, Gareth. Very informative and your photos are magnificent. My daughter wants to start taking macros – I’ll definitely send her a link.
~ Carl

Susana Weber Susana Weber 1408 posts

Gareth, Thank you so much for participating in this forum and sharing your techniques!

Questions… What kind of program do you use for post-processing your images and what sort of editing do you usually do? Sharpen? Contrast?

Susana

Carl Olsen Carl Olsen 173 posts

Hi Gareth. Rocking the tripod to find the perfect focus point is something I wouldn’t have thought of, but it makes perfect sense. Do you retract the “back” leg of the tripod to do this? I’m thinking this would give you greater range of motion than working with it extended to the same length as the other two legs. Also, were any of the displayed works photographed using this technique? They’re all amazingly sharp except for the obviously blurred one. Thanks.
~ Carl

Gareth Jones Gareth Jones 35 posts

Questions… What kind of program do you use for post-processing your images and what sort of editing do you usually do? Sharpen? Contrast?

Hi Susana,

I use Photoshop Elements for any post-processing . I used to crop all my shots but now I try to take them so I don’t need to crop . I sometimes sharpen and add a little vibrancy but I usually find with the Sigma at f22 that there is enough detail already

Rgds

Gareth

Gareth Jones Gareth Jones 35 posts

Rocking the tripod to find the perfect focus point is something I wouldn’t have thought of, but it makes perfect sense. Do you retract the “back” leg of the tripod to do this? I’m thinking this would give you greater range of motion than working with it extended to the same length as the other two legs. Also, were any of the displayed works photographed using this technique? They’re all amazingly sharp except for the obviously blurred one. Thanks.
~ Carl

Hi Carl,

Yes I retract one leg all together and have the lens at 90 degrees to the other two so it’s stable . With the Sigma you only need to move a very small amount but I find this method a lot easier.If I remember correctly the purple & orange flower hoverfly pics at the top and the worker bee in my write up were taken using this method

Rgds

Gareth

Carl Olsen Carl Olsen 173 posts

Thanks Gareth. My daughter will be most appreciative!

Regards, Carl