Album Up Close and Personal -- Photos Focused on the Details

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Janice

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Joined
Dec 5, 2017
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176
Thanks! I have heard of Snowflake Bentley. I'm pretty amazed by what he accomplished. I've been experimenting with this for a couple years and it's taken me till now to figure out something that works. Getting decent image quality was tough. Right now I'm using a microscope lens on an adapter on a telephoto zoom lens. Depth of field is razor thin. All of these pictures are composites of 10 to 30 photos taken in order to get a photo with every part of the snowflake in focus. Wilson Bentley would not have had that luxury. All of his photos would have had to be a single shot. It's hard to figure out how he got decent image quality with the whole flake in focus with a single shot.... and that was more than 100 years ago! Even with all of the advancements in technology its really really tough to get a photo with decent image quality with the whole flake in focus in a single shot. My hat (and probably everyone else that's ever tried to do it) is off to him.
Fascinating! Thanks so much for this interesting description. Sounds like quite a complicated process!
 

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westy

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Joined
Mar 10, 2016
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111
Beautiful! Are these blooming now? Is this a good year for desert flowers?
We have had some decent rains recently, but not aware of the bloom status this year, whether or not its good, bad, or neutral. Its probably a month early, or maybe 2, for the best chance of catching blooming flowers.
 

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Curt

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Joined
Feb 1, 2014
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351
I googled around a bit about photographing snowflakes and it appears there are two approaches, either a microscope or a macro lens with extension tubes. How did you do these?
I use a microscope lens. Mine is a generic Chinese 4X infinite focus with a long working length. Ideally it wants to be coupled with a 200mm tube lens using an adapter screwed into the filter threads on the front of the lens. I'm using a 75 to 300mm zoom for that. At less than 200mm there starts to be some vignetting which gets progressively worse the shorter it is from 200mm. No problems with that going longer than 200mm. One nice thing about using the zoom is that I can vary the magnification. I think that at 200mm the magnification is 4x. The magnification is reduced when the lens is shorter than 200mm and it's increased when the lens is longer than 200mm. One really important thing on the microscope lens is to have a long working distance. The front of my microscope lens is generally about an inch or a little more from the subject. With some microscope lenses that distance can be much much less - which is fine if the subject is back lit as is usually the case with microscopes. But I have to light the snowflakes from the front and if the lens was only 5mm away from the subject, lighting would be very difficult. Even if you do backlight the snow flake by having it on glass, a long working distance isn't a detriment. A few more things to be said about using a microscope lens: I'm using a micro 4/3 system. Due to it's small sensor, a 4X lens does pretty well covering the sensor. With a full frame or APS-C camera, a microscope lens with greater magnification may be needed to get more coverage of the image over the sensor. Second, I think using an infinite focus microscope lens is an advantage. Microscope lenses with a set focal length are more difficult to use. The last comment has to do with the quality of the lens. Mine doesn't have all of the coatings and optical controls to reduce chromatic aberrations. So I get a lot of green/purple fringing. Fortunately that's pretty easy to take out in Lightroom. My microscope lens and adapter only cost $70. I didn't want to spend too much when I didn't know if this all would work. But high quality microscope lenses with a long working distance and great optics can set you back as much as $1000.

One last thing. You have to have capability to do focus stacking. I do this with my camera. It will do in-camera focus bracketing with the zoom lens. It will take a set number of pictures changing the focus. I find that snowflakes usually require somewhere between 5 and 30 photos to get enough photos to have every part of the snowflake in focus. Depth of field is razor thin. I always shoot with the lens wide open to reduce diffraction which of course makes depth of field less. If you can't do focus bracketing in camera, you have to use traditional focus rails and move the camera in tiny increments. One of the best snowflake photographers simply takes a couple hundred photos hand held moving slightly up and down. Then he goes through and chooses 30 to 40 that he thinks get the whole flake in focus. Whatever method you use to get the photos, you'll also need a program to do focus stacking. I'm using Photoshop. It gives ability to correct stacking errors. With all of the others I tried, you get what you get. Unfortunately, Photoshop is a LOT more time consuming but the results will be good.
 

tennistime99

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Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
87
A slug climbing the stem of something it was munching on. At first I thought it was a zombie slug looking for brains to eat as I couldn't see the stem supporting it. The light was much dimmer than the photo makes it appear


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