Extreme Macro

Free online guide to extreme macro photography, including techniques, macro lenses, lighting, equipment, diffusers, stages, tips, macro stacking, software & more

Extreme Macro Gallery - 'Two Fly Macro' by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel

One fly is good, but two flys is sometimes better. So this is, I think, a pair of greenbottles (not bluebottles, I promise you they look green compared to the bluebottle I compared them to at the time!), they're rather mundane creatures but not without a certain aesthetic appeal when you look at them like this. A blue background slightly gradiented towards purple - I wanted some vibrancy and I think this gave it to me!

Posing this wasn't easy. I used the Watkins & Doncaster Insect Examination Stage with some cork cut out in a 2 cm by 1/2 cm by 1/2 cm strip mounted at the tip. Then I cut a groove into the cork for each mounted insect according to the angle which I needed for the shot. Each of these insects were mounted on a thick black ent pin.

I fiddled, swore and cursed for 30 mins to get them parallel and in the positions I wanted, cutting off the end of the pins that went beyond the cork so that it could all fit into the chip cone diffuser. These chip cones are handy because they're shaped so that they diverge so allow relatively big things inside the diffuser (mine just sits on the end of the lens with a custom reverse lenscap made from a black party popper) but they're also the right shape so that there's still enough omni directional light of a similar intensity (because of similar distances, not quite a perfect hemisphere but better than other things I tried). With close flashes I get away with 1/32 and 1/64.

This Image

The image above is a slight reworking of the original at Flickr, being marginally brighter and cleaner in the background, largely due to my using a new version of Topaz Detail. This image has been exceptionally good to me and, at the time of writing, has amassed a somewhat eye watering 1,107 favourites and 709 comments. It's been on the BBC, been featured by photography magazines and scored well in county-level photography competitions. Having two together is very eye-catching, and not usually done. Food for thought.

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