Extreme Macro Gallery - 'Macro Robberfly' by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Extreme Macro Gallery - 'Macro Robberfly' by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel

This extreme macro Robberfly, a subject much beloved of extreme macro photographers, shows what you can do with a bit of postprocessing application to make an image better. The original of this image is over at my Flickr account and had a very bright green background, which in retrospect was far too distracting. I used some handy tools to deal with this, in particular Alien Skin Bokeh 2, which despite being a bit tricky to use, did the background change for me admirably.

This is an adult robber fly with a beautiful pair of green eyes. They're not the cuddliest of creatures of the insect world as they typically sit around on leaves waiting for other insects to fly by, then pounce on them and literally suck the life out of them. But, what's of interest in this photo, is that it doesn't use your normal type of lens at all, nor does it use anything fancy and known, but instead uses a cheap 20mm microfilm reader lens obtained from ebay, suggested as an alternative to the most excellent JML 21mm lens. So I thought I'd try it out and give it a whirl as nobody else had.

Microfilm lenses are interesting for extreme macro because they have a quite amazing resolution, literally 100s of lpm. Compare this to your average consumer zoom or prime which might have 50-100, and it becomes immediately obvious why they're a good thing to use in extreme macro. Do beware though, not all microfilm lenses are the same - I wouldn't personally want to go much below 20mm nor would I want an f stop much above 2 or 3 (because of diffraction).

Further notes - the original was a bit of experiment, as I have an awful tendency to underexpose the background which makes it noisy and icky. So I thought I'd try use the histogram and make it a bit lighter. Not sure if green was the best choice but there you go, worked ok at the time, although afterwards I'm not so convinced. It was also an experiment insofar that I wanted to achieve a clear distinction between foreground and background, and simplicity. I think I got that ok although I was sooooo tempted to cheat and fix the background asymmetry in post!

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