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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:35 pm
Posts: 1983
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Hi,

as you may know, I have a penchant for macro photography. I thought I'd share a few cheap tricks that I use. It's a great deal of fun and I feel like I'm 12 y/o again, gluing together those small models of warplanes and destroyers :-)

I have a glass desk in my office. Draped across the windows are three curtains and the one that covers my end of the window, it's a dark rich blue velvet.
My "lab" is about a square foot, my camera a Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm kit-lens and a Velbon CX400 tripod. Nothing expensive or fancy.

I like to do macro shots like these:

Image

Image

Image

Image

I'd use real people if I had the space, money and room to set up a studio - but alas, I do not. On the up-side, models like these are easy to work with - no screams for coffee or make-up :-)

Let me share with you the "studio-lighting" I use:
1) Three LED key-rings from Stanley at around 7-8$ a piece
2) A "MaxLife 369 Tripod" at 30$
3) A 12-LED 3$ mini flashlight
You can find LEDs such as these at most home hardware stores.

Here is the "Big Brother" surrounded by it's smaller siblings.
Image
The "MaxLife 369 Tripod" has two levels of intensity and a step-less "zoom" to cast wide light and a narrow focused beam. The head can be angled from horizontal and all the way to vertical. It holds up to 9 AA cells and can supposedly go for 200 hours on that - it's a work light, but I hope that they forgive me for using it in my hobby...

Even when doing macro photography you can practice your portrait techniques as much of the same lighting principles apply.

Here's a few examples of how my "lab" looks when it's all set up.

Image

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The shadows cast on the curtain is from the "MaxLife 369 Tripod" standing on the floor below.

With a little creativity it can seem very "designed" all of a sudden.
Image

Give it a try! It's cheap, fun and something to do when it rains - which it does all the time here in Vancouver.

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:14 am
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Location: Netherlands
Nice!

I'll be in the stores in no time getting a couple of those lights! :)
I really like the dramatic look your pictures got, even better that you managed to get them this way with such simple tools. Way to go!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:35 pm
Posts: 232
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Lah

What lens are you using on these shots?
The stone man and glass marbles are so cool.

Nice lights you have there... Maybe Stanley could kick Elinchron out of the business :twisted: just joking...

Cheers

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:24 pm
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Cool,
Will check this out. Think IKEA has some pretty cheap LED's.

What whitebalance-setting would you recommend with this type of light?

/K

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:30 am
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Location: Malmö, Sweden
Really nice shots man!

very creative indeed, coming up witha cheap setup thats always a good pointer in my book, who said that everything good has to be expensive

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:43 am 
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
Hey and thanks for the encouraging words :-)

Camut: the lens is the 18-55mm kit. I've been very interested in LEDs as a light source - such as these http://litepanels.com/ but too expensive for me at this stage. However, cheap commonplace LEDs are also viable for an amateur like me. Good white 5200-5800 Kelvin range LEDs are fine.

That stone sculpture is an Inuit shape and for the 2010 Winter Olympics here in Vancouver, it's going ot be used quite a bit as a symbol.

Khol: The Auto WB setting seems to work just fine for me, however for a more controlled approach I use either "cloudy weather" or "shade".

Image

If you use "Tungsten" you can get those rich blue hues on your light

But if you prefer something more regular - cloudy or shade keeps the white reasonably white with LEDs:
Image

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:52 am 
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Location: Southern California
Lah....I love the last one...so vibrant...

good good!


patti

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:14 pm 
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Absolutely fantastic, that last shot is straight our of a horror movie

Cheers Ormina

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:14 am
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Location: Netherlands
Meh.

I've been looking for these lamps in my home town and i can only get the big one. Any US-based store won't ship to the Netherlands... Any ideas on where to get these or similar products?

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