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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by pharquarx
    Very interesting and hopefully continuing discussion.

    I have been very reluctant to use flash for my subjects as my limited experience, and probably simplistic approach, yielded very flat looking images, which is not bad for items such as phalaenopis, miltonias, vandas and the like. However, I like the use of the lights on stands (four total) as, when I light frontally with two and move two to the sides, the texture and three dimensional quality of the flowers is emphasized in the final photographs. One exciting aspect also is to selectively backlight some of the orchids such as cattleyas and Chinese paphiopedilums as they have wonderful veining and, with the cattleyas, the front surface under these conditions takes on an almost irredescent (sp???) glow. One of my cohorts (Greg Allikas) who does the photography down in Florida uses flash very successfully and I believe that Charles Marsden Fitch up in New York also does the same. Google their names to see some of their work as well as go to the American Orchid Society website.

    <snip>
    Hope this proves informative. Have fun.

    Charlie

    P.S. I do not use any filters, I even remove the UV protector when I photograph.
    Charlie, what can be done with hot lights can be done with flash. The most painful aspect of using flash is that when using flashes that don't have modeling lights you have to have faith that the light will do what you want. If, that is, you're using film and have to wait to see the results. My preferred films for flowers are KM with the Nikons (there's still some in the freezer) and EPN for 2x3. When the KM finally runs out I'll probably switch to E100G for both formats.

    FWIW, my flash rigs all incorporate a pair of flashes. The flashes are anywhere from one to three focal lengths from the lens' axis and are angled in at around 45 degrees. This lighting gives good relief and brings out texture well at the cost, sometimes, of the dread double shadows. I'm not using a poor man's ringlight.

    If you're happy with your current approach -- and you seem to be very -- there's not much reason to change what you're doing.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  2. #12

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    Thanks for the input, looks like it will be one of those rainy days, nothing to do, think I'll set up in the garage and piddle exercises.

    Hopefully we gave the thread starter a lot of good information for his use. I learned a few things along the way too. Glad to be a part of this group.

    Chalrie

  3. #13

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    Just one last note, another interesting technique that I have seen for photographing orchids and botanicals is to lay a cut spray out on a light box and photograph that way.

    Lots of ways to peel a banana.

    ctr

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pharquarx
    Just one last note, another interesting technique that I have seen for photographing orchids and botanicals is to lay a cut spray out on a light box and photograph that way.

    Lots of ways to peel a banana.

    ctr
    This can be a very effective way to photograph all sorts of small objects in the studio. Not very often for me, mainly because I go to the field and light boxes prefer to stay home.

    Lots of ways to peel a banana, lots of banana peels to slip on,

    Dan

  5. #15
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    I hope someone can help me out. We have every spring Orchid show in town.Three years ago I made a flash unit from one way cameras and Manfrotto #033 flash holder with good success. With low level of light they provide, you can get very close without blowing out the colors. That was with 35mm Canon equipment. I would like to use my 4X5 camera. I have Toyo45 and Graflex 4X5. Would one of this cameras be OK to use. I don't have macro lenses. I do have 90;135;150;180;210;240.250 and 270 for my 4X5's. How much bellows do I need with this kind of images?

    Thanks in advance Greg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCF0483.JPG  
    Looking is a gift, but seeing is power.

    Buster6X6

  6. #16
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    wow, didn't expect so many responses!! this cool!! what i have been playing with lately is this: focusing on or two flowers and deliberately throwing the rest out of focus. it might be just me, but i feel it adds dimension to the whole thing. kinda makes it stand out more than your average macro work. either that or i am just plain crazy don't know what the heck i talkin bout!! right now i am merely doing what i tend to call 'practice runs', playing with depth of field and settings to get different looks and then writing down some comments, based on any visuals i encounter. i am getting just the orchids in the picture, not the stalk or the leaves, just the flowers of the orchids themselves. by the way, the lens i am using is basically the only real lens i can do this with, a 135 nikkor. i have a 210 schneider, but i am getting the same replies....use a 100mm or something like that. well...don't have one, so next avail will have to do i guess. i just received my 6" extension rail today, so am currently playing with it as well, what a difference! anyway, getting late...have to go bed now...have to work tomorrow!! :-) night all! keep me coming...it really helps to read em!

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster6X6
    I hope someone can help me out. We have every spring Orchid show in town.Three years ago I made a flash unit from one way cameras and Manfrotto #033 flash holder with good success. With low level of light they provide, you can get very close without blowing out the colors. That was with 35mm Canon equipment. I would like to use my 4X5 camera. I have Toyo45 and Graflex 4X5. Would one of this cameras be OK to use. I don't have macro lenses. I do have 90;135;150;180;210;240.250 and 270 for my 4X5's. How much bellows do I need with this kind of images?

    Thanks in advance Greg
    The magic formula you need is rear node-to-film distance = f*(1 +m). f = lens' focal length, m = magnification, and for most LF lenses the rear node isn't far from the diaphragm.

    Either camera will work well if you're shooting straight ahead. The Toyo probably offers more flexibility.

    Which lens to use? Can't answer with the limited information you've provided. What have you got (make & model as well as focal length)? What magnification do you want to shoot at?

    About exposure. GN arithmetic will give you the effective aperture you want. GN/(flash-to-subject distance) is it. The GN of two identical flashes = sqrt(2)*a single flash's GN. To convert effective aperture to the aperture setting to use, aperture set = effective aperture/(1 + lens' pupillary magnification*m). For most LF lenses, pupillary magnification = 1.

  8. #18
    Buster6X6's Avatar
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    Thanks Dan
    The lenses I have are:Schneider Xenar135/4.7,Componon 135/5.6;150 Syronar-N 5.6;210 Fujinon-W5.6;Schneider Xenar 240/4.5(Linhof);Schneider tele-arton 270/5.5. I think Super-Angulon 90mm is to wide for closeups or not?I would like to fill the frame with the flower. It is hard to shoot when there is 6-7 plants sitting on the display table without having distracting background.

    Greg
    Looking is a gift, but seeing is power.

    Buster6X6

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster6X6
    Thanks Dan
    The lenses I have are:Schneider Xenar135/4.7,Componon 135/5.6;150 Syronar-N 5.6;210 Fujinon-W5.6;Schneider Xenar 240/4.5(Linhof);Schneider tele-arton 270/5.5. I think Super-Angulon 90mm is to wide for closeups or not?I would like to fill the frame with the flower. It is hard to shoot when there is 6-7 plants sitting on the display table without having distracting background.

    Greg
    Hmm. Don't take it too too personally, but you're nuts.

    Filling the frame with a single bloom will often require you to work above 1:1. This ain't easy and there's very little depth of field. To learn more about what you're up against, buy a copy of Lester Lefkowitz' book The Manual of Closeup Photography. Out of print, available used through, in alphabetical order, www.abebooks.com, www.addall.com, www.amazon.com,and occasionally on eBay.

    Not knowing more, I assume that you have 300 mm of extension +/- to play with. If that's so, your best bet is probably the Componon. I expect its in a #0, if so you can easily switch the elements around (front to back, back to front) when working above 1:1; up to 1:1 it will work better facing normally.

    The SA will get you to a little above 2:1 and, again, it should be reversed above 1:1. Might work well enough, worth trying.

    You might consider buying one of the cheap ex-MP-4 75/4.5 Tominons and an equally cheap ex-MP-4 Copal #1 Press with no diaphragm to hold it. These things turn up often on eBay, you're looking at at most a $80 expenditure. And that will take you to around 3:1. Or maybe even an ex-MP-4 50/4.5 Tominon, will get you to 5:1 but won't come close to covering 4x5 near 1:1. I've had both lenses; they're not the best, which is why mine are in the past tense, but they're also good enough.

    Don't even think of using your 150 Sironar or longer lenses, your Componon is the best tool you have for this job.

    FWIW, I went up to 2x3 because I was dissatisfied with flower pictures taken on 35 mm. On 35 mm, I could get good detail in the bloom OR a nice shot of the bloom in its setting. I can often shoot 2x3 at a magnfication no higher than I'd use for just the bloom on 35 mm and get both. In my limited experience, the benefits of shooting on a format larger than 35 mm above 1:1 are often illusory. Read Lefkowitz.

    Cheers,

    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Fromm; 01-26-2006 at 10:30 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

  10. #20

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    Couple of additional thoughts, I use my Schneider 180 mm makro for shots of orchids with 4x5.

    The dimensions that I start out with using this lens is 360mm of extension and about 180mm distance from the subject and then move from there (bellows extension and the whole tripod and camera) to get what I want. At this setting, my exposure is 1.5 to 2 stops over metered to compensate for bellows extension. If one is to err on exposure, err on the side of slight overexposure - 1/2 to 2/3 stop for some punch to the finished image.

    Longer lenses will increase the working distance from lens to subject, but, the depth of field decreases and the images tend to flatten.

    Buster 6 x 6, I have a good friend here in southern California, Paul Tuskes, who uses a setup similar to yours and does it very well. I think his photos were used recently to illustrate a book on phalaenopsis.

    The American Orchid Society has a guide book on photographing orchids, recently updated.

    Their guidelines to me for photographing awards is one flower, head on, dominating the frame. Very boring, so I tend to meet their requirements, but include additional flowers to add interest to the frame and show the habit of the inflorescense.

    Charlie

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