Babies are so cute.

Babies are so cute.
Babies are so cute.,
originally uploaded by Paul D’Andrea.

Spring is by far my favorite season.  As the garden and trees wake up after winter I wake up with them.  I love time spent outside looking close at the world popping to life.

Real close.  I don’t want to miss any of it, and the macro world is so fascinating.  You don’t have to look hard to find incredible subjects.

I don’t own a real macro lens, I get by though with an old manual Hanimar 55mm 1.7 handed down from my dad.  I mount this lens reversed to my camera in two ways, one, mounted to the body with a knock-off BR-2A that I got off eBay.

The second is to use two Cokin P adapters (one 67mm and one 52mm) face-to-face, so that the end of my 70-300VR attaches to the end of the 55mm 1.7.  Like this.

For lighting I’ve done all sorts of things.  One is to use the cut out side of a milk jug rubber-banded to the lens to diffuse the popup flash (and to make it relatively large).  Another it to use a flash bracket flipped over and crooked, so the flash is upside down and firing from the side.

For the photo on this post I first set up a shoot through umbrella to provide shade from the harsh sun.  This wasn’t giving me enough light to get any depth of field at all so I set up two flashes on a bracket, shooting through the umbrella, set at 1/2 power each.

Because I stopped down to get a better depth of field I shot at ISO800.  For stability I held the hours-old mantis on my hand, rested the lens on my arm and rocked it back and forth (ever so slightly) for focus.