Friday, June 13, 2008

DIY Creepy Crawly Set Up

Todays Blog will be nothing special for some viewers for they already have created things like these for themselves. Photographing bugs and other crawling things can be addictive. Don't get me started on Hummingbird photography as I'm even more addicted to that. But there are already plenty of tutorials out there on that. What we're talkin' bout today is bugs. Yes bugs and other small creepy crawly things.

Bugs are fun to photograph in their natural environment stalked like a big game hunter. There are times however when taking them into the studio (my house) can produce some images that are superb with little effort. Care should be taken to not injure or stress the little buggers. Keep your shoot short and don't expose your captives to extreme heat or cold.

My basic set up consists of a large, flat plastic container placed on top of a TV tray. I place this into indirect lighting near a window. I almost always use a small gold reflector to bounce light in to fill the shadows. You can make one really easily by covering a piece of cardboard with gold mylar gift wrapping paper. I place a rock or piece of wood and some leaves into a container. I then place the insect onto that and shoot away. It helps here to have an insect/critter wrangler. In my case this usually happens to be whomever in my family I can wrangle into doing the job. Usually that's my daughter because she likes to move critters around. I use a plastic container because 'er well it contains them. The sides are slippery enough that most critters can't climb it.

I generally like to take two kinds of shots. I shoot one overhead view (SetUp #1) and one side view (Set Up #2), The side view shots are the most challenging to take due to depth of field issues. But they are usually the most interesting as they get down to the insect/critters level. They seem more intimate than our usual human perspective of looking downward.

When shooting a side view I place a back drop (a piece of colored cloth) on a convenient chair about three feet behind the set up. I block or flag off the back drop with a piece of cardboard if I am using a black backdrop. In looking back on todays "Great Potato Bug Shoot" I can see that i probably should have used a dark green or even a burnt orange color. I think that would have complimented "Spud" a bit better.

So go out there into the garden or backyard and find some critters to shoot.

Gear used today
Canon 10D
Phoenix 100 mm Macro Flat Field lens
Tokina Extension tube
Old beat up Bogen 3021 Tripod
Bogen 3055 Ballhead
Remote Switch Canon RS 80 N3

God's blessings to all,


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