Night Macro

by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Last updated August 31, 2017

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They say night time is the right time, and this applies to macro photography as much as anything else.

Great for Amateurs

Night time macro has the big benefit that if you're a working person like myself, it means you can get some macro time every day after work, especially in the autumn when dusk may fall before you manage to get home in time to do some macro.

Insects At Night

Night macro

You won't see the same variety of insects at night that you see during the day, but you will catch glimpses of others that remain hidden away during the day.

You won't see the same variety of insects at night that you see during the day, but you will catch glimpses of others that remain hidden away during the day.

The main absence seems to be everything that looks vaguely fly-like. They're sleeping, hidden away deep in the leaves and hedgerows.

But there is a lot more arthropod activity from the walking kind at night.

UV At Night

Another fun night macro thing to do is to do some UV fluorescence photography. To see fluorescence you need a suitable excitation source, and there are perfectly affordable consumer torch options available to achieve this. LED technology is advancing especially rapidly at the moment, and it won't be too long before even more and better photography UV lights become available. And the El-Nikkor 50 has excellent UV transmission characteristics.

Night Macro Technique

Night macro is usually done using flash but of course, being night time, you need something to shine a light with.

A headlamp is better than nothing but the problem is that your flash or camera will get in the way of your light when you're bent down, focusing, and need that light the most.

My nighttime rig involves a mount that I made from GoPro parts which gives me an extra helping hand on my camera onto which I mount a small torch.

Night Insects

  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Millipedes
  • Moths
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Spiders

That way the torch lights up the subject so I can focus easily for a flash shot.

My second nighttime rig is a pair of stacked Raynox diopters using the built in focusing light on a Pentax AF160FGZ ringflash.

Other Insects At Night

There are also other ways of attracting the night time insect, for example using a moth trap.

Mothtraps are very convenient albeit a bit on the pricey side.

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