© Geraint Radford and Rob Cottle - Copying, displaying or redistribution of these images without written permission is prohibited
Macro Photography Using The Olympus OM-D EM1 MKii
Macro photography for me is a way of celebrating and showcasing the wonderful, tiny beings that quite often go overlooked.
After a few years of using a full frame DLSR and all sorts
of gadgets, I wanted something new that would make
my life easier so I can concentrate on the photography,
whilst trying to do my beautiful subjects justice.
Having read that a micro four thirds sensor has a crop
factor of x2 I was intrigued. This means that for macro
photography we can focus on much smaller subjects
owing to a magnification ratio of 2:1 vs full frame.
This was music to my ears! Gaining magnification
without losing light by adding extension tubes sounded
rather interesting to this hairy faced hippy so when I was
offered the opportunity to try a camera via the Olympus
Pro Loan scheme I jumped at it like a spring loaded
Small Hoverfly using in-camera focus stacking
Focus Stacking plays a big part in my photographic approach. When you are working at high magnifications the camera is often quite
close to the subject which results in a very shallow depth of field. Stopping the lens down a smidge can help here, but we end up
losing vital light and the backgrounds begin to sharpen up which draws attention away from the subject.
The image of a small Hoverfly is made up of 8 raw files that are automatically shot in camera. I then processed the files in Adobe
Lightroom and Photoshop. The camera gives a Jpeg output of the final image so if this all sounds a bit too much, you can use that!
Meadow Grasshopper - Lit with the Olympus STF-8 Flash
but the results are usually better because of the extra diffusion.
single frame image.
Focus stacking hand held
Mushrooms sure do make awesome subjects!. Not only are they
beautiful, they also stay still!
The camera is set up on a tripod with a flash unit illuminating the
gills. The Em1 MKii was set up to shoot a focus stack of 8 frames
with a 1 second delay between each frame to give the flash time
to recharge. A cool tip here is to expose for the background and
let the flash lift the shadows a little (this is much easier with a live
EVF or live view).
On this day I had planned on being out most of the day so the
tripod was left at home (as usual, I don't like carting around lots
of kit). Thankfully the 5 axis stabilizer in camera works! This 8
frame focus stack is photographed at...wait for it. Wait a bit
longer.....ready? Ok! 1/3 of a second for each frame which was
then aligned in camera. Nice.
Now back to Bugs ……
How cool are those eyes! Whilst on a day out at Llanelli
Wetland Centre I found this Giant Dark Horsefly relaxing
on a fence post. This two frame, manual focus stack was
achieved by using the focus peaking function that highlights
the "in focus" elements in the frame at peak focus. It really
helps with aligning the images of a stack so there's no tears
before bedtime for Geraint.*Cool Fact Alert* You can tell this
is a male because the eyes meet, the ladies have a space
between the eyes.
Male Hoverfly with Awesome Compound Eyes
Damselflies are one of my favourite insects
(I say that about all of the bugs)
With so much expression and what I think are some pretty cute
faces, Damselflies are wonderful beings to photograph. The
Olympus 60mm lens and a set of extension tubes get you very
close up for a portrait. A big advantage of a micro four thirds set
up is the crop factor. Effectively, the focal length of my 60mm
lens is 120mm, giving me a bit more working distance and extra
depth of field without stopping down and losing light.
Remember if you are focus stacking to give a little room to crop
the edges later.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, I've enjoyed sharing my thoughts of this equipment with you!
DON'T SWAT! Take a Shot.
I never have or never would trap or refrigerate an insect. There's no need. My recommendation would be to head out early or late in
the day when they are naturally colder and will stay still for longer. The risk of damaging a living being, simply to get a picture,
just isn't worth it.