With the insects coming out in spring the temptation to shoot bugs of all sorts is high. Especially ladybugs are crawling around a lot these days as you might have realized from my previous post.
Today I got the opportunity to shoot another ladybug. Both images were taken with the Nikon D300s and the Nikkor 105 mm f2.8 VR macro lens.
I decided to do a colorkey on the images since the table the bug was shot on has a very pale brown color – that looks better in grayscale’s. The complete workflow as been done in Lightroom. I enhanced the saturation a little to bring out the red of the ladybug’s carapace. Then I used the brush tool with saturation set to -100 and painted everything but the ladybug to get rid of the colors. I used a large brush mainly and switched to a smaller one only for the space between the bug’s legs. As a final touchup I brought down the lights on the bug’s carapace with the brush tool and also removed a blue shimmer (the sky reflecting in the carapace). The latter I did with by again using the brush tool and setting the color temperature a tad to the yellow side (for those of you who don’t use Lightroom: There is a slider in allowing you to influence the color balance. Left – blue; Right – yellow. The blue could be removed by moving the slider to the right). Each image took around 5 minutes of post processing in Lightroom. Again I am astonished by the efficiency of the Lightroom workflow.
Enough for today – enjoy the images and make the best use of the summer ! Grab your camera and go out !
Spring has finally reached us and last Sunday I could spend the first afternoon on the terrace. While my daughter was playing with her Duplo bricks a ladybug crawled around. I grabbed my D300s with the 105 mm macro lens and was able to take some shots of this insect. Ladybugs can fly, but they are not very jumpy, meaning you can poke them gently and “guide” them to go this or that way without flying away.
So I grabbed a yellow Duplo brick and “offered” it to the ladybug to crawl onto. After several attempts the insect did what I intended it to do and started wandering around on the yellow brick. I placed the brick in front of another large Lego piece (the blue…ish background). From there one has to work quick, since even though the ladybug is not jumpy, it is in constant motion. I had to turn and reposition the brick several times because the insect crawld over the edge. I took about 6-7 shots and this one was the best.
Nearly no fixes in post, just a tad of raising the dark parts to bring out the details on the ladybug a little more.
***UPDATE – 15 May 2013***
Problem still persists, disregard everything I wrote down there. Still the same problem. When triggering slave flashes with the popup flash and using M mode on the master to control the flash output the slaves are not triggered reliably. I am very angry at the moment and will file another support issue immediately. When will this story end ???
***UPDATE – 07 May 2013***
I keep getting emails and comments, that the problem still persists with some D800s (‘s’ being the plural and not some mysterious new model… just being cautious). So far I have not had problems with the CLS system, but some other folks have. At this point I can not say more than we have to be patient and see if Nikon addresses the problem directly. Which they will do if enough people file support cases, so do that if you are affected !
Recently Nikon released a new firmware update for the D800 and the D800E (A: 1.01 / B:1.02). Officially the CLS issue has not been addressed but some other things (support for the new 800 mm f5.6E lens, subject tracking performance in AF-C etc., read the release notes here).
Today I tested the flashes. I made two setups and took 50 images each. The D800′s internal flash acted as the master (Manual mode, 1/128), my SB-600, SB-700 and SB-800 as slaves. In the first series I pointed the camera towards the flashes with the flash sensors on the flashes facing the camera. The D800 fired directly into the light sensors of the flash units. 51 images – the flashes fired every time. Actually I had to wait for the master flash to cool down since repeated shooting in a short timespan builds up a lot of heat.
The next set of images was taken with the camera facing away from the flashes and the flashes also faced away from the camera. The setting was still manual mode and 1/128 flash power. Also this time the flashes fired in every of the 50 images. It looks a little dark on the images, this is due to the low flash power I chose and the lack of ambient light (I conducted the test in the evening). If you look closely at the second set – there is a dark outline of the room in every picture, they are not black.
Bottom line – It _seems_ as if the CLS issue has been resolved with this firmware update. After the first firmware update about half a year ago the problem got better, but still some images were black. I am not sure why Nikon did not mention the fix in the release notes of the new firmware but in the end the results are what counts.
If the CLS issue still occurs at your D800 even after the firmware update, leave a comment or drop me a line !
You wonder why I make that terrified face ? Go ahead, read….
This picture is from the beginning of my DSLR days back in 2007. I visited a friend who studied in Edinburgh, Scotland. One day he had to work on a project to meet the deadline so I was on my own. I went into the city and climbed monument hill, from where you have an excellent view over the city. I had my D70s and a rather cheap tripod. It was very windy that day and to stabilize the tripod against the wind I suspended my camera bag from the tripod’s venter column. I though it was a clever idea. I will give you the next ten seconds from that day in keywords.
Self-timer set to ten seconds – I pose before the camera, giving my best smile – a gust of wind comes up – wind sets camera bag in motion – bag swings wilder with every gust of wind – the camera bag motion forces the tripod to lean over to one side – tripod starts to lean over, standing only on two legs – my brain realized what happens – With terror on my face I spring into action – the very same moment the tripod comes back to its feet – camera makes click.
The image is far from perfect with my legs cut off and the horizon leaning to the left, but I like that image anyhow, since it brings back a story every time I watch it.
If you want one can extract two things out of it:
1.) Images can tell a story, be it that you associate something with it or that it is connected to an actual story
2.) Using the camera bag to stabilize your tripod can be a bad idea.
To eliminate the daylight I chose a very short shutter speed. The normal flash sync speed of your camera is 1/250s. This shutter speed might still give you some daylight in the image. Nikon and Canon cameras offer a special flash mode which allows one to shoot any shutter speed with flash, even 1/8000s. This mode is called “Auto FP” (Auto Focal Plane) mode. What is does is basically create a burst of flashes which serve as a quasi-continuous light. Canon calls it HSS (High Speed Sync, which is a more fitting name in my opinion than “Auto Focal Plane”). The SB-700 was triggered with the internal camera flash.
Note that cheap wireless flash triggers don’t support Auto FP/HSS or TTL. The low-cost Yongnuo flash triggers I use in the studio are such models (see this post). Usually more expensice flash triggers are capable of doing TTL or Auto FP, such as PocketWizard Remotes. But there is also a model from Yongnuo which supports these modes. Currently it is only available for Canon cameras, it is the Yongnuo YN-622C. A version for Nikon cameras is announced (the model name will be YN-622N, see here).
Bottom line of this post – to make appealing product photos one does not need a huge and complex studio setup necessarily.
Nothing techy today, just a snowman candle burning down. Shot with the D800 timelapse function.
During the photo shoot with my daughter in the studio I realized something odd. The D800 is supposed to have a minimum flash synchronization time of 1/250s. This is the fastest shutter speed at which the camera can still communicate in time, so that the flashes triggers when the sensor is fully exposed and not partially covered by one of the shutter blades (fast shutter speeds mean, that the second shutter blade is closing while the first shutter blade is still in motion, so that the sensor is never fully exposed. See this highspeed-video from 0 min 36 sec).
With the flash sync time of 1/250 I set my camera to 1/250s and started shooting. And bummer, the bottom part of the image was black. Long story short – I investigated this issue a little further and made test shots, triggering the flashes both with the Yongnuo wireless units and the sync cable which came with my studio flashes. I have used different channels on the RF603 units to rule out interferences with other equipment and also used them on my Nikon Speedlights.
Results see below. Sorry for the tasteless composition, I took what I could find in five seconds
In this image the flash was triggered using the wireless units. As you can see, the bottom part of the image is black. This means, as described above, that the flashes got the signal to fire too late, the second shutter blade was already closing before the sensor. The Yongnuo RF603 needs the fraction of a second to process and relay the signal, inducing a delayed flash trigger. The result is this black strip.
Cross-check: same camera settings, same setup, flash triggered with a sync cable. Result:
No black strip. The image is a little darker in the lower half, but that is due to the alignment of the softbox and has nothing to do with the timing of the flash.
Conclusion: I guess this is the price for a low price – I got the four Yongnuo units for around 55 Euros, which is an excellent deal. The units have a very good build quality, They do not feel “plasticky cheap”, they sit firmly on the hotshoe and the connectors make a solid impression. In the battery compartment are four DIP-switches to select channels – meaning they have 16 different channels on which they can send so that your units won’t interfere with Yongnuo units of other photographers which happen to be nearby.
Anyhow, due to the delayed trigger signal you lose the option to shoot at 1/250 sec when using the RF603. 1/200 sec is the fastest shutter speed you will be able to use. If you can live with that, it’s fine. I suppose that high-end radio triggers like the PocketWizward do not have such a delay, but a PocketWizard also comes with a hefty price tag.