I’ve owned this lens for a little while and not truly recognised its capabilities, sharing here after 9 months some examples, mostly bare some with the 1.4 2X extenders . Its quite an extraordinary lens, well done Olympus!
This photograph of a squirrel was shot a few days ago and is the equivalent of 1200mm (35mm style) using the 2x extender and stopped down to f10 and shot at 1/400 hand held with just a bean bag for support. I’m more than impressed it can deliver images like this. For context the shot below this one is from the same vantage point using a 35mm equivalent, with a keen eye you can just make out the squirrel half way up the tree trunk.
Further explorations as ‘lockdown’ is still with us. Still in the garden I’ve gone ‘macro’ This is my first venture and an interesting learning curve which after some spectacular failures a few to share on this blog. A few technical notes at the foot of this blog in case anyone else is starting a similar venture.
For macro all my work is with my Olympus micro four thirds kit. The reason I opted for this was weight, Olympus’s marvellous image stabilisation, and a very slightly increased available depth of field.
For those interested in kit, I use;Olympus EM1 mkll (pretty much my go to everyday camera)
Zuiko 60mm f2.8 macro – a new purchase and so worthwhile with such quality from so small a lens
Nissin i40 flash with home made light modifier (see below) A lighting solution is absolutely essential to place the right amount of light over the subject when you need to use flash
Extension tubes (for when the action gets very small) I chose simple Meike tubes from ebay (c.£20) which seem to work absolutely fine
A simple monopod – this helps nail the focus, and especially useful with focus stacking. (see below)
A few tips on approach check out the tutorials and advice on you tube and other social media, if new to the subject like me it will save so much time ( a few links that have helped me below)
Take time to look and keep on looking, insects and bugs are typically shy or just don’t want to be seen (which often means eaten) they are everywhere you just need to find them, don’t forget the underside of leaves
Early mornings are good, insects often warm themselves in the sun and at that time are less mobile. Remember not to get between the sun and your subject or they will be disturbed and you may lose your shot
The money shot pretty much always involves the eyes, work stealthily to get the angle
A low shooting angle not only helps to develops a ‘face to face’ composition but also helps to illustrate the world from their perspective
The background is often what makes a shot (as other genres) ideally uncluttered and with a good colour. The depth of field will help though can’t be relied on especially with strong contrasts
My go to camera set-up with flash is a shutter speed of 1/250th and aperture of f8. Without the flash the same aperture though as fast a shutter speed as I can without forcing the ISO. I shoot in manual so i can fix both these parameters though don’t believe this is essential
When you get frustrated that you just can’t get enough of the subject in focus – look up focus-stacking, most modern cameras have it (often ‘bracketing’ in the menu)
Finally and most importantly it’s their world and you are a visitor, no shot is so important to disturb them in their day to day life. There are 2 million insects for every human on the planet, that makes for a lot of opportunities.
Considerable thanks to online learning especially Andrew Lanxon for some valuable tips, https://bit.ly/2KXr4Oe