Re-exploring macro photography (II)

I had some time to kill this week, so I tried a sheet of tracing paper as a diffuser.  As you can see on the pictures below, my setup is a very temporary one and not really usable in the field.  I can't use my LED of the KX-800 to light the subject and if there's a bit of wind, the sheet doesn't stay in place.  

But I'm very pleased with the lighting of my test shots.  Especially on the crane-fly.  I see a bit of reflection on the Garden Spider, but to be honest my flash was set to strong.  For a final solution, I will be trying to use a diffuser made of tracing paper in combination with the soft boxes which I have used before.

Keep in mind these pictures are just quick snapshots to test my lighting.  Next step is to build a stable diffuser.  Not sure at this moment how I will achieve this ...

Re-exploring macro photography

Macro photography was, or is, my first love.  Although it's been a while since I went on a bug hunt, I'm still very fascinated by it.  Online I tend to follow people like Nicky Bay and Thomas Shahan.  Their specialty is a more extreme type of macro photography.  While typical macro lenses achieve a 1:1 magnification, they go beyond that so that they can photograph the really small insects. 

After seeing hundreds of pictures of jumping spiders, I decided to try this type of photography myself.  Why?  I'm one of the few people who love spiders.  I like exposing details which you can't see with the naked eye.  You can find small critters close to home, even in your own garden, which is very nice if you don't have a lot of time. 

My setup at this moment.  My trusted Nikon D800, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro F017, Raynox DCR-250, Kenko 36mm extension tube and LAOWA Macro Twin Flash KX-800 with the optional LAOWA softboxes.  I need to say at first it was a bit awkward to take pictures without my tripod and to use a flash instead.  The LAOWA doesn't support TTL or any other aids, everything needs to happen manual which means there's a learning curve.

Last weekend I had my first go at a small spider with the size of approximately 5mm.  I'm quite happy with the results for a first try, but the lighting needs to be much better.  All pictures showed quite a lot of highlights and hot spots in the "face" of the spider.  I think my flashes were to close to the spider.  Also to diffuse the light more, I have bought myself some sheets of tracing paper.  I'm going to try to make an extra diffuser to put between the object and my soft boxes.  To be continued!

New gallery addition: Anaïs

The family wanted some good pictures of our daughter Anaïs, so we booked the photo studio which I have used before and we prepared Anaïs for her first shoot.  I need to admit, this was much harder than I thought it would be.  At the age of 3, my daughter couldn't stand still for a couple of seconds and, together with my wife, we have spent more time chasing after our girl instead of photographing her.  Although I'm very happy with the shots I did manage, I really have a great respect for photographers who do this day in, day out for a living.

So my iMac decided to die on me (II)

A quick follow up on my problems with my iMac.  I have the feeling the random shutdowns are gone, since I haven't experienced any dropouts so far (knock on wood).  My computer has been taken to two repair centers.  Problem was, neither of them could reproduce the problem.   They ran several stress tests and not a single time the iMac crashed.  

The last repair center, ARC in Dilbeek nearby Brussels, decided to replace the logic board.  Most of the time, random shutdowns are caused by a faulty component on the logic board.  Something to do with the SMC chip.  Unfortunately, after 30 minutes of working in Lightroom and Photoshop, the iMac decided to shut itself down.  If that would happen they told me to replace my after-market 32GB of RAM with the original 8Gb of RAM.  Didn't help.  Last resort was to replace the power supply.  After a brief visit to ARC they replaced it, and it seems all my troubles are gone.

Happy to be working on my iMac again and a big thumbs up for ARC! 

So my iMac decided to die on me

Last Sunday I had some time to process my latest (very special and fun) shoots, but my iMac decided not to.  It's my second one.  In 2015 I have traded my 5 year old iMac 27 for a new one with a retina display.  I never had any problems nor crashes with the old one.  Can't say that's the same with the newer version.  I can handle a software crash, but the problems I had were random shutdowns.  Quite frustrating!  Last weekend, I couldn't use my iMac for more then 10 minutes before it went to black.  Booting the computer again was not possible without physically disconnecting the power cord.  Fortunate we have a 2 year warranty here in Europe, I was good for a couple of months.  Handed my mac to the Apple store last Tuesday.  If I may take a wild guess; it's probably the logic board or a power supply problem.  I hope the same won't happen again when it's out of warranty ...