Archive for the ‘Raynox DCR-250’ Category

MYN – Pantala hymenaea exuvia

December 16, 2019

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

This specimen is a Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) exuvia. Spot-winged Glider is a member of Family Libellulidae (Skimmers).

Genus Pantala

The genus Pantala includes two species in North America: Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea); and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens).

Spot-winged Glider and Wandering Glider larvae/exuviae look similar. The lateral spines on abdominal segment nine (S9) are noticeably shorter for P. hymenaea (shown left) than P. flavescens (shown right) — a key field mark that can be used to differentiate the two species.

The Backstory

Both specimens featured in this blog post were collected (near Richmond, Virginia USA) and identified 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.”

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Luminous beings are we…

December 13, 2019

Master Yoda’s explanation of the Force to Luke Skywalker (see Related Resources, below) features the following memorable quote.

Luminous beings are we,
not this crude matter.

One of many reasons I like the “Meet Your Neighbours” technique for photographing natural subjects against a pure white background is that it seems to reveal the luminous beings that odonate exuviae are. Feel the force by looking at the full-size version of the following image.

Related Resources

Tech Tips

I added a Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter to my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera for a closer view of the anterior of the odonate exuvia.

The camera was set for 1-Area Focusing. The focus-and-recompose technique was used to focus on the eye of the subject.

Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic was used to fire two off-camera flash units.

  1. A 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 TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode), fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier, was used to light the subject from above.

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 (face)

December 9, 2019

An odonate exuvia was photographed against a pure white background using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. Yep, this time the background is actually pure white (255, 255, 255). Now that’s the look for which I was striving!

36.1mm (200mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/7.1 | 1/800 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.

Related Resources

Tech Tips

I added a Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter to my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera for a closer view of the face/head of the odonate exuvia.

A Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic was used to fire an off-camera Godox TT685C Thinklite Flash for Canon Cameras (manual mode) fitted with a Vello plastic bounce dome diffuser. This flash unit was used to light the underside of the translucent white plastic background; the top of the flash unit was ~20 cm from the bottom of the white plastic. No other flash units were used to shoot the photo.

Although I own better camera gear for shooting macro photos, I like to use my smaller, lighter DMC-FZ300 for proof-of-concept experimentation with new techniques. Look for a transition to one of my Fujifilm- or Canon macro rigs in the near future.

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.

With- and without Raynox DCR-250

November 25, 2019

This blog post is a simple demonstration of the effect of adding a Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter to my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera. Both photos are full-frame, that is, uncropped.

Without Raynox

A set of keys for my apartment at The Beacon of Groveton (BoG) is shown in the first photo. I chose keys for the subject since most people are familiar with the typical size of door keys; the slightly smaller key (far right) is a mailbox key.

The camera lens was set for “Wide Macro,” with a focus range from 1 cm (0.39 in) to infinity. A Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite was attached to the front of the camera lens using a new Sensei PRO 52-58mm Aluminum Step-Up Ring to adapt an old Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C (58mm) to the lens. My Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter wasn’t mounted on the front of the MT-26EX-RT.

A set of keys for my apartment at The BoG.

With Raynox

Part of a single key from the set of keys is shown in the last photo. The same key is shown on the far left side of the first photo.

For this photo, my Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter was mounted on the front of the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite attached to the camera lens.

According the B&H Photo Specs page for the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, its magification is 2.5x. The actual magnification might or might not be 2.5x, given the fact that the camera lens was adjusted for slight telephoto zoom in order to eliminate the vignetting caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens. All of that being said, the last photo clearly shows the magnification is increased dramatically in contrast with the first photo!

A single key for the utility closet in my apartment at The BoG.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What is it?

November 22, 2019

It’s time for another exciting edition of “What is it?” Well, what is shown in the following photograph? If you think you know what it is, then please leave a comment. The answer will be provided in a follow-up comment.

~40mm (217mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/6.3 | 1/2500 s | 0 ev

The flash power ratio was 1/256.

Tech Tips

The equipment used to shoot the quick-and-dirty macro photograph (shown above) is described in a recent blog post entitled Macro flash for Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150/300. In this case, I used my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom bridge camera.

Post Update: What it is.

The preceding photo shows a close-up view of a tube of Crest toothpaste — the actual metal tube, rather than the cardboard box (as Michael Powell commented).

I’m impressed by the level of detail printed on the toothpaste tube that is almost invisible to the unaided eye. The black dots on the red background remind me of the way images are/were printed in newspapers and comic books using the Ben Day process.

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.

Panasonic DMC-FZ300 macro kit

October 14, 2019

The last two posts in my photoblog feature sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits.

The macro rig features the following gear: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera; Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter; and Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

Raynox DCR-250 not mounted on the camera lens.

The Godox flash trigger is optional. The Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter comes with its own lens cap. The lens hood can be mounted on the lens barrel when the close-up filter is mounted on the camera lens.

Raynox DCR-250 shown mounted on the camera lens.

It’s amazing how adding a relatively inexpensive close-up filter to the camera makes such a big difference in its capability.

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Nickel (coin)

October 11, 2019

A nickel — an American five-cent coin — was photographed at BoG Photo Studio. The subject was chosen for scale, since most people are familiar with the size of a nickel (~0.84 in, or 2.12 cm in diameter).

The purpose of this blog post is simply to show sample photos taken using a small, lightweight camera kit for macro photography that I’m more likely to carry in the field than any of my larger, heavier “studio” macro camera kits. As you can see, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300/Raynox DCR-250 rig is capable of taking fairly high-quality macro photos.

Tech Tips

The macro photographs in this post were taken using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 24x superzoom digital camera, Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, Godox X2To/p wireless flash trigger for Olympus and Panasonic (New!), and Godox TT685o/p Thinklite Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (manual mode). The external flash unit was fitted with Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier. The Raynox close-up filter screws onto the front of the camera lens using a 52-43mm step-down ring.

1-Area Focusing and Spot Metering were used for all photos. f/4.0 to f/4.5 is the sweet spot for this zoom lens.

I like to carry a few nickels in my photo backpack since they are about the right thickness for tightening/loosening tripod plate screws. Also since the coin has a smooth edge it is less likely to make scratches than a coin with a grooved edge, such as a quarter (an American 25-cent coin that is 1/4 dollar).

300mm

300mm is 12x zoom. Some zoom is necessary when the Raynox close-up filter is attached to the camera lens since some vignetting is caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a 52mm lens.

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

~54mm (300mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/80 s | 0.33 ev

600mm

600mm is 24x zoom. That’s a lot of magnification!

108mm (600mm, 35mm equivalent) | ISO 100 | f/4.5 | 1/100 s | 0.33 ev

Related Resource: Panasonic Bridge Cameras – Basic Photography Part 4, Close Up & Macro, by Graham Houghton (23:35).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


%d bloggers like this: