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 Post subject: Photographing flies
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:39 pm 
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What are the best settings / light conditions to photograph flies? You guys always seem to take good pictures but mine tend to look like that grainy bigfoot picture.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:06 pm 
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At the high end (from my POV) -
http://www.flyanglersonline.com/alcampbell/ac090202.html

Before you rip up your basement :D, you can try

1. Find the minimum object distance of your camera. This should be specified in the back of your manual. I think you are too close. Your camera cannot focus if you are closer than the specified distance. You can check the manual for this distance. Also, check if your camera has macro mode.

If you have a macro mode, switch to that and practice focusing using auto focus and manual focus. Give you camera autofocus to work, some cameras have to "hunt" for the focus. For e.g., my Canon A80 is a pain in macro mode because it is constantly hunting for focus, my SLR will come in spot on within a second of pushing the button.

If auto focus does not work in macro, use the manual focus to get a sharper image.

2. Looks like you are out of light too. Get closer to a window or get a better light source - a lamp or a flash. If you use a window, you can try putting white printing paper vertically on sides to kill the shadows. If using a flash, get a diffuser or create one by pasting wax sheet from kitchen on the flash.

3. Find an even background. Do NOT use white, it will throw your camera's light meter off. Use either light blue or light grey. Best is just get a grey card from a camera store and use it. It will give nice even background and the light reading will be fine too.

Hope these help. Looks like an interesting fly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:14 pm 
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What kind of photo gear are you using?

And for many flies, I'm sure you can use a flatbed scanner. Certainly the one you have pictured in this thread.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:37 pm 
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or, stop buying cheap cameras.


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 Post subject: Re: Photographing flies
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:02 pm 
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Tarpon Tamer wrote:
What are the best settings / light conditions to photograph flies? You guys always seem to take good pictures but mine tend to look like that grainy bigfoot picture.

Thanks.


or you can send me the flys and I can send you the pics in return - of both flies and the fish. :D :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:22 pm 
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Thanks for most of those responses. The camera is a Cannon A80. Takes great pictures. I'll post up some pictures with the guidelines suggested. Thanks LTF and Heath. I've been able to post some good pictures in the past but haven't been real consistent.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:54 pm 
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A80 is a great little unit. I use it with a waterproof case for all the beach and fishing pictures.

I am assuming you are learning this as I did few years ago. So I will share what I learnt.

I almost always use the P mode or Tv or Av. I never let the camera decide what is a good picture by putting it in full Auto. Yep, a control freak.

Now, you can use the Func key to set the camera to ISO400. Don't use Auto.

While setting the ISO, notice the little bulb. That is your White Balance. I see you are shooting under a lamp, so you might want to switch to Tungsten. The camera will compensate for the yellow light and show true colors as much as it can within its limits, of course.

You might also want to check out the metering function. It is the box with dot in the middle. Go to the last selection on right. It is spot metering and gets the light reading off the area where the little green square is on the viewfinder.

Now is the time to look at the little flower under your thumb. It is a very interesting little key. That is the macro function. It beats the Object Distance limit somehow with Canon's magic and will allow you to get almost within 3-6" of the object. You definitely want to switch to spot metering when doing this.

The camera needs a lot of light when working in this mode. So it might start hunting, so be patient. If you do run out of patience, press the flower again and you are in Macro Manual focus mode. Now you can play with the focus by moving closer and further.

You definitely want to tape the flash with wax paper when shooting this close. Otherwise, all you will see is a whole lot of white.

HTH


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:09 pm 
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I've always found that going macro while using flash (sans handheld lightmeter) to be problematic at best. I posted a pic of a rabbitfly that looked like a nuclear accident; it glowed.

The best, cheapest, simplest way I've found to get even light is find some outdoor shade; the shadow cast by your home at 6pm is a good example. Zoom in as much as you can, get as close as you can focus, let the camera guess the exposure and bracket the hell out of the shot. It's a digital camera, why not shoot 8 different exposures and keep the best? Like firing a shotgun, one of the pellets is going to bullseye your target.

Bracketing your exposures (intentionally under and overexposing what the camera insists is a good reading) is as fundamental to photography as..ahem...the roll cast is to flyfishing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:35 am 
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This was posted here before, but I still have not built a simple fly studio like Paul Dieter's: http://homepage.mac.com/riverwader/tying/Menu23.html

Here's an example of his photography with the simple setup:

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:32 pm 
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TT
I built a studio similar to the one that Paul Dieter uses. However, I used one of those 16"X11"x7" Sterilite boxes (that come with a white snap-on lid) that I got at the dollar store. And I use crumpled aluminum foil for the reflective mirrors. So far it's worked out well. It was cheap, and quick to put together and it's easy to use. What's not to like?
The attachments are a few examples of the results.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:57 pm 

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I have nearly the exact set up Barry does (opaque sterlite container) but I use foil tape on bottom to reflect light, and two desktop lamps with 40 watt bulbs. I like it because I can set my whole vise in it.

Casey


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:43 pm 
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As always I'm amazed at the great responses. Thanks guys. Would either of you mind posting a picture of your setup? I think I got the idea but I want to make sure before I head to wally world...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:14 pm 
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TT
I don't have any photos of my set-up at this time. If I get a chance tomorrow I'll take a few and post them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:55 pm 
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Tarpon Tamer wrote:
As always I'm amazed at the great responses. Thanks guys. Would either of you mind posting a picture of your setup? I think I got the idea but I want to make sure before I head to wally world...

TT
Here's a couple of photos showing the light box setup that I'm using. It's pretty simple/basic/inexpensive. The box is a cheapie from the dollar store. The light is an old halogen that I had sitting around doing nothing. And the fly holder is made out of an electrical test lead end (bugger picker) sitting in a piece of scrap wood with a hole drilled in it to accept the test lead end. All together, I'd guess I have under $5.00 in the whole shebang. However, it's worked pretty well for me so far. If needed you could add another light.
I didn't show is what I'm using to reflect the light to help with the rim lighting of the fly. But it's just some crumpled up aluminum foil placed in the needed areas.
Sorry it took so long to get you the photos, but I've been pretty busy the last few days.
Enjoy!


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Light Box setup 004.jpg
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:35 pm 
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Sitin in a pc of scrap wood??? Ill have you know thats a pc of african rosewood Pop! jb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:32 pm 
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johnboy wrote:
Sitin in a pc of scrap wood??? Ill have you know thats a pc of african rosewood Pop! jb

Hey JB
Well, EXCUSE ME!
When you dropped it off at the house you said. "here's a scrap piece of wood that I drilled with a Forstner bit to fit the PVC pegs for the furling boards".


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:47 pm 
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OH ya. I firgot. sorry guys :oops:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:23 pm 
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Thanks Barry. That setup is nice and self-contained. I guess you just prop the foil reflectors against the inside walls of the box wherever they are needed?

The African rosewood is a nice touch.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:38 pm 
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You are most welcome!
Yep, one of the things I like most about this setup is almost everything (except the light) stores in the box.
I usually put a piece of the foil in the bottom of the box and prop the other pieces on the ends as needed. You kind of have to play with it till you get the effect you're looking for.
African Rosewood my a**. Don't pay any attention to JB, he has these illusions when he's been dabbling in the sauce. It's a damn piece of scrap Oak. (LOL)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:51 pm 

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Hey Barry... that African Rosewood is oldschool. Nice touch.

Here's mine. And yes, that is a real adhesive-backed foil lining on the bottom.

Casey


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:30 pm 
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Thanks again guys. Always appreciate the help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:45 am 
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Casey
It's funny how "great minds think alike". (LOL)
I can use my vise in the box as well. However, I like using the bugger picker (fly holder/electrical test lead end) as I feel it's less visible in the photograph.
But in either case, these light boxes do a good job without having to spend a lot of time and/or money to achieve good results.
I also agree with you about the African Rosewood fly holder base adding just a hint of sophistication. Which we all know is so important when photographing flies to post on these fishing forums. (ROTFLMAO)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:20 am 
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Barry don't pick on Johnboy, he comes in handy when we need stuff like furling boards and such and we all know what happens to him after 4:00 :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:06 am 
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Wow Barry when you were talking about light box I had something totally different in mind; so, what's the purpose of the box at all? Is it for diffusion?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:53 am 
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Yep, it diffuses the light and allows me more control of the way I want to light the fly to enhance its attributes.


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