Macro Study of a Feathered Thorn Moth

I’ve owned a Canon MP-E65 1-5x Macro lens and Canon MT-24EX Flash since I got an excellent deal on both items just before I started working for Wessex Photographic in their Weymouth branch.

Unfortunately, try as I might to love this combination, I’ve found this combination to be more than a bit cumbersome and although the MT-24EX is an excellent flash, I’ve found its flexibility a bit of a hinderance and I’ve found it far too easy to set the flash heads up wrong, especially if you’re varying shooting distance/magnification.  I have to confess that this might just be due to my inexperience with this setup, and would probably not be the case if I was a bit more methodical in my approach.

Anyway, this week, I found the MP-E65 lurking in the bottom of my camera bag and thought I’d have a go at firing off a few shots of a rather obliging Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)  that I found in the house the other week.

These shots were taken using a YongNuo YN-14EX Ring Flash, which is very similar to the Canon MR-14EX and is much simpler to use than the MT-24EX, are there are no physical adjustments possible, you can only vary the A:B lighting ratio.  I find that this flash unit gives a rather flat light, so I mostly either have only one tube firing, or the ratio set to 8:1 to give a bit of depth and texture.

Here are a few shots ranging from 1:1 to 5:1 magnification.

Photo365 – 11 Mar 2011

A Few Millimetres

A Few Millimetres

Todays shot was taken in a panic when I realised that I hadn’t taken an image late in the evening.

Its a shot of the millimeter scale on a steel ruler that I have taken at about 4x magnification using my MP-E65 lens and Speedlite MT-24EX.

Each division on the right of the image measures 1mm, so the whole section of ruler in theimage measures only 7mm from corner to corner.

Photo365 – 8 Mar 2011

Ice Dendrites

Ice Dendrites

This morning we had a frost, and our windows were traced with dendritic patterns of ice crystals, so I decided to attempt to photograph these with the MP-E65mm macro lens.

This made me realise just how much work I have to put in to improving my technique with this lens.

So far, I’ve had reasonable handheld results using the MT-24EX flash, but as these crystals were on the outside of our double glazing, I didn’t think that this would be an option today.

This was shot at 3x magnification and f/11 using ambient light only. Shutter speed was 1/40 sec, and a monopod was used to aid stability.  In retrospect, I could have probably used a wider aperture and consequently a faster shutter speed, but I’ve learned from my mistake.

I took almost 100 images this morning, and only managed about 3-4 keepers!!

Much practice is needed, but I’m having so much fun with this lens that I’m determined to improve my technique and don’t need much of an excuse to attach it to the camera body and have a play.

Photo365 – 5 Mar 2011

The Queen's Nose

The Queen’s Nose

Today, whilst I was out in town, I saw a secondhand copy of the childrens book “The Queen’s Nose” by Dick King Smith, which gave me the idea for today’s image.

This was taken using my MP-E65 lens set at about 2.5x magnification, and lit by a Speedlite MT-24EX.

Photo365 – 3 Mar 2011

Just A Little Scratch

Just A Little Scratch

Todays image is a variation on one that I took yesterday.  Taken with a MP-E65 (3x mag) and Speedlite MT-24EX.  A Speedlite 550EX was used to light a white reflector behind the subject. 

Photo365 – 1 Mar 2011


Maidenhair Growth

Todays image was taken using the Canon MP-E65 macro lens set at approximately 2x magnification.  The image was lit using the Speedlite MT-24EX flash heads set to approximately 11 o’clock and 2 o’clock (approximately 90 degrees apart) as recommended by Dalantech over at NoCroppingZone.

I’m still waiting for my eBay Puffer Diffuser clones to arrive, so the light from the MT-24EX was undiffused, and a bit harsh.

Exposure details are: EOS40D, MP-E65, 1/250, f/16, ISO 400, EC -2EV, FEC 0.

Photo365 – 28 Feb 2011



Todays image is a first effort with my recent MP-E65 lens acquisition I’m afraid.  Apologies if it mages your eyes go weird or gives you a headache.

This is a 3x magnification image of my laptop screen, that has been rotated and cropped.

This clearly shows the red, green and blue (RGB) elements of each pixel, hence the title.