Archive for the ‘Godox TT685F’ Category

MYN – Hagenius brevistylus exuvia (dorsal)

January 3, 2020

An odonate exuvia was photographed against a pure white background using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

This specimen is a Dragonhunter dragonfly (Hagenius brevistylus) exuvia. Dragonhunter is a member of Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Dragonhunter is the largest of North American clubtails; accordingly the large size and shape of a Dragonhunter exuvia is so distinctive that it’s relatively easy to identify to the species level.

Notice the large, paddle-like antennae. They remind me of ping pong paddles.

Related Resources

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the macro photographs featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens minus the lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode.

  1. Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash,” was used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background; the top of the flash unit was ~30 cm from the bottom of the white plastic.
  2. Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, was used to light the subject from above.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot heal and sharpen the image.

Practical Tips for the MYN Technique

A piece of opaque white plastic that is 12″ square is used for the background/”stage.” Actually, the white plastic background appears to be translucent when back-lighted by a flash unit at a relatively close distance.

The flash unit used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background (Group A) was set for 1/2 +0.3 power; the zoom was set for 50mm in order to spread the beam of light sufficiently to avoid a hotspot on the white plastic background. The top of the flash head was ~10 inches from the bottom of the white plastic “stage.”

Next, take a test shot using only one flash — the flash that’s used to light the underside of the white background. Look at the histogram to check for correct exposure. You should see a spike on the far right side of the histogram that indicates the background is exposed properly (255, 255, 255).

Apple Aperture | Adjustments | Histogram

One or more flash units can be used to add “fill flash” from above the background/stage, as necessary. In this case, I used one flash (Group B) set for 1/64 power.

Use the 1:1 rule-of-thumb to determine how close/far to position the flash unit from the subject. The diagonal distance across the face of a softbox should be the distance to the subject [or less] for soft wrap-around light. Actually, the distance should be as close as possible without the softbox showing in the photo frame. Greater distances will result in a contrasty look.

For example, my Lastolite softboxes are 8.5” x 8.5” square (12” diagonally) so they should be one foot (1’) or less from the subject. In this case the front diffuser panel of a single softbox was placed ~6-8″ from the face of the specimen, off-set slightly to the left of the subject (facing forward).

MYN Field Studio setup

The following photo shows a behind-the-scenes look at one configuration of my Meet Your Neighbours Field Studio setup.

Meet Your Neighbours Field Studio setup, staged at BoG Photo Studio.

The exuvia is staged on the top from a clear plastic delicatessen container. This helps to reduce/eliminate the MYN “halo effect” by raising the subject a few millimeters above the white background.

There’s a flash that’s placed on a black plastic shelf below the white background/stage. It’s an old “bed shelf” from Bed Bath & Beyond that I repurposed for the MYN Field Studio.

Everything is mounted on a Promaster Deluxe Light Stand LS-2n using the following Manfrotto articulating arms and clamps.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Flip-it Friday

December 27, 2019

An odonate exuvia was collected by Andy Davidson near Richmond, Virginia USA. Andy is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) working on a research project entitled “Predator-Prey Interactions in a Changing World.”

This individual is a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), possibly a species from the genus Celithemis (Pennants). Source Credit: Steve Krotzer, Haysop Hill Photography; and Andy Davidson, VCU.

Dorsal view update

The first photograph is the same photo featured in a recent blog post, with one big difference. I flipped the image digitally so that the exuvia looks more like it’s in its natural resting position on the background. The more I looked at the original image, the more I felt somewhat disoriented. Ah, much better!

Ventral view

Next I flipped the specimen physically to show a ventral view of the exuvia. Look closely at the full-size version of the photo. This individual is probably a male, as indicated by what appear to be vestigial hamules located along the boundary between abdominal segments two and three (S2-3). Remember, all odonates have 10 abdominal segments, numbered from front-to-back. In my opinion, it’s easier to count segments from the posterior- to the anterior end of the body.

The following annotated images of other dragonfly exuviae might help you to recognize the vestigial hamuli on this specimen.

Related Resources

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the macro photographs featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens minus the lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode.

  1. Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash,” was used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background; the top of the flash unit was ~30 cm from the bottom of the white plastic.
  2. Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, was used to light the subject from above.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot heal and sharpen both images.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Genus Celithemis exuvia (dorsal)

December 23, 2019

An odonate exuvia was photographed against a pure white background using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

The following photo shows a dorsal view of an exuvia from the Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), possibly a species in the Genus Celithemis (Pennants).

80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 200 | f/16 | 1/180 s | 0 ev

The Backstory

This specimen was collected (near Richmond, Virginia USA) by Andy Davidson. Andy is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University working on a research project entitled “Predator-Prey Interactions in a Changing World.”

Tech Tips

I’m beginning to feel more comfortable with the MYN technique, including equipment set-up for best results, camera settings, and post-processing. When I feel like my work flow is fairly firm, I will post step-by-step directions and a few behind-the-scenes photos.

The following equipment was used to shoot the macro photographs featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens minus the lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode.

  1. Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash,” was used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background; the top of the flash unit was ~30 cm from the bottom of the white plastic.
  2. Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, was used to light the subject from above.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot heal and sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

MYN – Genus Celithemis exuvia (face)

December 20, 2019

An odonate exuvia was photographed against a pure white background using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

This specimen is a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers), possibly a species in the Genus Celithemis (Pennants).

80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 200 | f/16 | 1/180 s | 0 ev

A much closer crop of the preceding photo reveals some of the personality of this species. The aspect ratio was changed from 3:2 to 4:3 for better composition.

80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 200 | f/16 | 1/180 s | 0 ev

The Backstory

This specimen was collected by Andy Davidson near Richmond, Virginia USA.  Andy is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University working on a research project entitled “Predator-Prey Interactions in a Changing World.”

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the macro photographs featured in this post: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube; and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens minus the lens hood. The camera was set for both manual exposure and manual focus. That’s right, a switch on the camera body is used to set the type of focus. It’s a Fujifilm thing.

Godox X2TF radio flash trigger, mounted on the hotshoe of my X-T1, was used to control two off-camera external flash units set for radio slave mode.

  1. Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash,” was used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background; the top of the flash unit was ~30 cm from the bottom of the white plastic.
  2. Godox TT685F Thinklite Flash for Fujifilm Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, was used to light the subject from above.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to sharpen the image.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Puzzle solved: Anax junius exuvia (female)

December 11, 2019

Identifying odonate exuviae is a lot like solving a jigsaw puzzle — eventually all of the puzzle pieces fit together to reveal a clear picture. As it turns out, while I’ve been experimenting with the “Meet Your Neighbours” technique for photographing natural subjects against a pure white background, I was also collecting puzzle pieces that would enable me to identify the dragonfly exuvia.

A two-step process was used to identify the genus and species of the specimen featured in my last two blog posts.

  1. Determine the family.
  2. Determine the genus and species.

Step 1. Family

First, determine the family of the specimen. For reference, watch the excellent Vimeo video, Identifying dragonfly larva to family (8:06). Here’s the decision tree I used to identify the exuvia as a member of the Family Aeshnidae (Darners).

  • The specimen has a flat labium that doesn’t cover the face (not mask-like), as shown in Photo No. 1.
  • Antennae are thin and thread-like (not club-like, as in Gomphidae larvae), as shown in Photo No. 1.
  • Eyes are large relative to the size of the head, as shown in Photo No. 1 and 4.

No. 1 | Common Green Darner (Anax junius) | exuvia (face-head)

Step 2. Genus and species

As shown in Photo No. 2 and 4, lateral spines along abdominal segments seven, eight, and nine (S7-9) indicate the genus is Anax.

No. 2 | Common Green Darner (Anax junius) | exuvia (ventral view)

At this point, you know the species could be either junius (Common Green Darner dragonfly) or longipes (Comet Darner dragonfly). The species is determined by the shape of the palpal lobes (part of the prementum) and the length of the specimen.

No. 3 | Common Green Darner (Anax junius) | exuvia (ventral view)

Notice the palpal lobes are rounded, as shown in Photo No. 3. The specimen is ~4.7 cm (~1.9 in) in length, not counting a slight bend in the body.

No. 4 | Common Green Darner (Anax junius) | exuvia (dorsal view)

The rounded shape of the palpal lobes (see Photo No. 3) plus the length of the specimen (see Photo No. 4) indicate the species is juniusAnax junius is one of the more common species of Aeshnidae found in Northern Virginia.

Finally, the rudimentary ovipositor shown in Photo No. 2 indicates this individual is a female.

Related Resource: Anax junius exuvia, another photo-illustrated identification guide by Walter Sanford.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Meet Your Neighbours – Aeshnidae exuvia

December 4, 2019

An odonate exuvia was photographed against a pure white background using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. Well, almost pure white. More about that later.

9.9mm (55mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/7.1 | 1/60 s | 0 ev

This specimen is an unknown species from the Family Aeshnidae (Darners), probably Common Green Darner (Anax junius). Compare/contrast the “MYN look” with a more traditional photo set of another A. junius exuvia.

Take-aways

The MYN technique seems to be simple and straightforward. It isn’t. The challenge is to get the translucent effect without blowing out the thinner parts of the specimen like eyes, legs, etc. In this case, I needed a little separation between the pure white background and the exuvia in order to reduce blow-out. I repurposed the top of a small plastic container from the local delicatessen as the separator. I placed the plastic top on the white background, and the exuvia on the top. The plastic top isn’t perfectly clear, resulting in an off-white background color.

I need to experiment further to refine the technique. A clear glass- or plastic plate should solve the problem with the less than pure white background, and I think more separation between the white plastic background plate and the clear glass/plastic “stage” should help to further reduce blow-out. Trial and error — that’s the way we learn!

Related Resources

Tech Tips

The test photo featured in this post was taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and PanasonicGodox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode) fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, and a Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode) fitted with a Vello plastic bounce dome diffuser.

The Godox TT685-series flash head is the same size as a Canon 580EX II Speedlite so slide-on plastic light modifiers that work with a 580EX II will work with TT685s. That said, some work better than others. The “Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce OM-EY” is a tight fit — too tight in my opinion. The “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash” is a perfect fit.

The camera lens was set close to “Wide Macro.” 1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering was used for the photo.

Three external flash units were used to light the scene. The flash power ratio for each flash is critical for proper exposure. Begin by setting the backlight, then add the key light(s) on the subject.

The flash unit used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background (Group A) was set for 1/8 power; the zoom was set for 50mm in order to spread the beam of light sufficiently to avoid a hotspot on the white plastic background. The top of the flash unit was ~20 cm from the bottom of the white plastic.

Two key lights (Group B and C) — that is, the flash units used to light the top of the subject — were set for 1/16 power and 1/128, respectively. In order to reduce blow-out (see Take-aways, below), I turned off the flash in Group C.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to sharpen the final output.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Testing off-camera lighting configurations

November 27, 2019

I spent some time in the BoG Photo Studio experimenting with off-camera lighting configurations for macro photography using the pass-through hot shoe camera rig described in a recent blog post.

Both photos feature “Lizzie,” my toy dinosaur-lizard. Lizzie is one of my favorite models.

The soft, diffused lighting in the first photo is mostly even, with relatively little contrast between light and shadow. As a result, the photo looks a little flat.

The soft, diffused lighting in the last photo shows more contrast, achieved by repositioning one of the two small flash units on my Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite. The juxtaposition of light and shadow seems to convey a greater sense of depth than the flat lighting in the first photo.

Now that I have figured out a lighting configuration that works, I will substitute a different “model” for Lizzie. I have learned from experience that it’s better to use a rugged toy like Lizzie for testing purposes, rather than one of the fragile scientific specimens that I like to photograph. Choose a test subject that is about the same size as your intended subject.

Tech Tips

The equipment used to shoot the macro photographs (shown above) is described in a recent blog post entitled Pass-through hot shoe. Two off-camera external flash units were added to the rig: a Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras; and a Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash. Both Godox flash units were fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

All of the external flash units were set for manual mode, including the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite. The Godox off-camera flashes were fired by a Godox X2To/p radio flash trigger mounted on top of my camera; the Canon flash was triggered synchronously by the pass-through hot shoe on the X2To/p.

I shot JPG plus RW2 (Panasonic’s proprietary raw format). Both photos in this post are unedited JPGs straight from the camera.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Cross-compatibility of Godox TT685-series flashes

November 20, 2019

The following quick-and-dirty video is a demonstration of the cross-compatibily among Godox TT685-series external flash units, including a Godox TT685F, TT685o/p, and TT685C (shown from left-to-right). All three flash units were test-fired using Godox X2TF and X2To/p radio flash triggers.

Notice the brand of flash trigger used to fire the flashes appears in the lower-left corner of the LCD on each flash. The beginning of the video shows all three flash units had been fired by a Godox X2TF (for Fujifilm) set for TTL mode. Think about that — now the TT685o/p (center) and TT685C (right) “think” and operate like the Fujifilm-compatible flash (left). Incredible!

Next I switched to a Godox X2To/p (for Olympus and Panasonic), changed the mode to Manual (M), and test-fired the flashes.

Take-aways

The cross-compability of Godox TT685-series flashes makes these relatively inexpensive, well-made flashes an even better value. By buying wisely it’s possible to assemble an array of flashes that provides maximum flexibility. Bravo, Godox!

Editor’s Commentary

You know, I actually had a vision of how I wanted this video to turn out before I started shooting. Let’s just say my vision wasn’t realized. I like to think I’m a fairly good photographer; videographer, not so much. Perhaps I’ll re-do the video when I’m not as pressed for time as I was for this iteration.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Pass-through hot shoe

November 15, 2019

The Godox X2To/p radio flash trigger has a slightly lower price point than the Godox XProO/P, smaller footprint, and a pass-through hot-shoe. Perhaps you’re wondering, “Who needs a pass-through hot shoe?” You do. Well, you might, for some applications.

The following photos show a Godox X2To/p mounted on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera; the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite is mounted on the pass-through hot shoe on top of the X2To/p. The same set-up works with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 24x superzoom bridge camera.

Macro flash kit for Panasonic Lumix 24x superzoom digital cameras.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the Canon macro flash is compatible with Panasonic bridge cameras with one caveat: TTL is incompatible, so it’s manual mode flash only.

Macro flash kit for Panasonic Lumix 24x superzoom digital cameras.

The beauty of adding the Godox X2To/p to the rig is it can wirelessly trigger multiple off-camera flash units via a radio signal. During limited testing, I discovered the X2To/p can be set for either TTL- or Manual modes; for consistency, I use Manual mode for all the flashes including the Canon macro flash.

Take-aways

Although this rig is well-suited for studio applications, I’m guessing it isn’t as good for field work. That being said, I have never used a multi-flash setup in the field.

Full disclosure

The radio flash trigger shown in the preceding photos is actually a Godox X2TF for Fujifilm cameras. The two brands of Godox radio flash triggers are virtually identical except for the label on top of each unit.

I needed the Godox X2To/p for use with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 24x superzoom bridge camera in order to control two off-camera Godox flashes that were used to light the scene in both photos shown above. Both external flash units were set for Radio Slave mode.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Macro flash for Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150/300

November 13, 2019

You might be familiar with the old proverb that begins “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.” Updating the poem, I might say “For want of a step-up ring, the macro flash was lost.” Until recently, that is, when a $7 part solved a long-standing problem.

Both of my “go-to” cameras for photowalking — including the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 24x superzoom bridge camera, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera — feature excellent capability for macro photography. Set for “Wide Macro,” both cameras have a focus range from 1 cm (0.39 in) to infinity.

Problem is, at a working distance of 1 cm from the subject, “lens shadow” is a problem using the built-in pop-up flash. What’s the solution? Add an external macro flash unit such as the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite.

Front of macro flash rig

The lens on the DMC-FZ150 and DMC-FZ300 has the same size filter thread (52mm), so both cameras can use many of the same accessories. I used a new Sensei PRO 52-58mm Aluminum Step-Up Ring to adapt an old Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C (58mm) to the camera lens.

The Flash Unit Mount Ring (round holder for the twin flashes) clips onto a flange around the Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C; the Contol Unit is mounted on the camera hot shoe.

It’s worth noting there is a Canon Macrolite Adapter 52C (52mm) available for ~$14 MSRP. Since I already had a 58C for one of my Fujinon lenses, I decided to buy a step-up ring and save $7.

Macro flash kit for Panasonic Lumix 24x superzoom digital cameras.

For more magnification, a Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter can be mounted to the 58mm filter thread on the front of the Canon MT-26EX-RT Flash Unit Mount Ring using two adapter rings: a Sensei 58-52mm step-down ring; and a Sensei 52-43mm step-down ring.

The same combination of adapter rings can be used to mount the Raynox close-up filter on any lens to which the MT-26EX-RT Flash Unit Mount Ring is attached.

Back of macro flash rig

Macro flash kit for Panasonic Lumix 24x superzoom digital cameras.

Demystifying step-up and step-down rings

Here’s how to decode the numbers that appear around the rim of either a step-down or step-up ring. Let’s say we’d like to connect a Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C to the lens of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300.

The Macrolite Adapter has a filter thread diameter of 58mm; the DMC-FZ300 lens has a filter thread diameter of 52mm. We need a 52-58mm step-up ring, because we’re going to step up from a smaller- to a larger filter thread diameter. Make sense? Hope so!

How/why a Canon flash works with a Panasonic camera

The following annotated image shows the pin configuration on the hot shoe for the Fujifilm EF-X500 external flash unit. Notice that the hot shoe has four-pins: the “center pin” is used for power; the other three pins are used for proprietary communication between the camera and flash unit, such as TTL.

Copyright © 2019 ReviewThree.com and B&H Photo. All rights reserved.

The pin configuration for other brands of external flash units varies by manufacturer, but most flashes use the center pin for power.

For example, all Canon external flash units (including the MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite) have a five-pin hot shoe; the center pin is used for power and it’s aligned perfectly with the power pin on Panasonic bridge cameras. Therefore any current model of Canon flash is compatible with Panasonic bridge cameras with one caveat: TTL is incompatible, so it’s manual mode flash only. That’s not a problem since I prefer manual exposure for macro photography.

High-speed sync is also incompatible, but that’s a non-issue since Panasonic superzoom bridge cameras feature a leaf shutter in the lens rather than a focal plane shutter in the camera body. As a result, there is no camera “sync speed” so the flash will work properly using any shutter speed supported by the camera.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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