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Old 29th October 2017
RobEW RobEW is offline
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Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

There are two sorts of trade-off; the technical and the ethical.

If your subject is mobile (e.g. a fly) and you want to get a close-up then it seems you have a choice of compromises. To get depth of field you need narrow aperture - but diffraction can compromise IQ. To eliminate motion blur you need fast shutter speed. But light can be limited. If you raise ISO then you can get graininess and noise. If the creature doesn't settle for long then you have no time to set up tripod or precision lighting.

I gather some photographers eschew the autentic "wildlife" ethos and do things like luring the creature with bait, or even by removing all the flowers but one and set up the shot awaiting the insect, or even by capturing the insect and putting it in the freezer to subdue it (or even killing it) and then posing it in a studio with setup imitations of a natural environment.

I don't like disturbing creatures, though I have been known to manicure the environment around them a little.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

Trade off here is a long lens v not pin sharp shots. Personally I like the walk with camera and long lens. Generally I frighten off most birds as I approach. So presumably I only get the stupid or deaf birds

But it's still the hunt that's thrilling, and great enjoyment when I get a reasonable photo. I have been known to play bird calls from the iPhone, which sometimes produces some quite funny behaviour in the bird population.

Plants of course are so well behaved and allow me to get some reasonable shots, but then hide their identity so that Harold had to tell me what they are

All great fun.....
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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Originally Posted by Johnheatingman View Post
I suspect the practice of immobilising the subject in some way is far more widespread than most of us imagine. Millions of "dried" insect specimens are also freely available from all over the world.

John
But fairly easy to spot a lot of the time for anyone experienced at shooting natural history subjects. It's one reason l'm not popular on some of the nature photography forums.

There's another row going on at the minute prior to the northern Owls heading south. Some "photographers" have been baiting them with pet shop mice each winter for years. People are finally saying that it's not good for the birds, something I've been saying for years, so now there's a move to discourage the practice.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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I would imagine the mice are non too happy about the practice either

John
I suspect not. Being taken from a warm pet shop to be thrown out onto a snow covered area I suspect that any that escape the Owl wouldn't live long.

Still, as long as you get a shot like the 100 photographers before you what does the welfare of the bird or the bait matter.

Actually, it does explain why some birders are a little hostile to photographers these days.
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Old 29th October 2017
BTaberham BTaberham is offline
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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People are finally saying that it's not good for the birds, something I've been saying for years, so now there's a move to discourage the practice.
From what I've heard, it's being done very often and changing the hunting behaviour of the owls and I'm not surprised! If I were an owl I'd probably take the easy meal over a long hard hunt too.

One other practice I know if is catching then chilling insects before taking them to a location to shoot them - cooling them down effectively stops them moving due to them being cold-blooded. People who do it claim that it doesn't affect the insects but I can't see how not, at the very least it's moving them away from their original environment or habitat and it's not something I'd be comfortable with doing.

I do occasionally manicure vegitation when shooting and there is always a compromise between ISO, aperture and shutter speed, but a good macro flash can help hugely in this regard.

I think that occasionally people can forget about their love of the wildlife itself whilst in the pursuit of the "perfect" shot. Yes, we want to get the best shots that we can as easily as we can, but in most cases I think that the welfare of the animals should never be an area in which we compromise and that the chase and the effort that is required to locate a subject, find a composition and work around the difficulties can make it all the more satisfying when you do eventually get the shot!
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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Originally Posted by BTaberham View Post
From what I've heard, it's being done very often and changing the hunting behaviour of the owls and I'm not surprised! If I were an owl I'd probably take the easy meal over a long hard hunt too.
Not only does it make the Owls reliant on "hand outs" but some photographers will do it close to roads increasing the risk of the bird getting hit by a vehicle.

Why trek through the snow when you can jump out of your 4x4 and stand at the side of the road to get the shots. Not getting cold feet is more important than the welfare of the bird.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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I suspect not. Being taken from a warm pet shop to be thrown out onto a snow covered area I suspect that any that escape the Owl wouldn't live long.

Still, as long as you get a shot like the 100 photographers before you what does the welfare of the bird or the bait matter.

Actually, it does explain why some birders are a little hostile to photographers these days.
It's only one aspect, David. Two years ago, someone went into a hide in Norfolk with a load of gear, and proceeded to spread himself out, occupying an unreasonable amount of space. He had all the kit - 800mm lens, Wimberley gimbal, several bodies and other lenses, etc, etc. Someone else came in and asked him to move up a bit (I think it was a guide) It ended up with a punch-up. Now, if you turn up there with any decent camera kit, you have to give your name and address before you are allowed in.

The same reserve had to set up CCTV to show marsh harrier nests, because some photographers were leaving indicated paths (endangering themselves) to get close to the nests thus disturbing the chicks and their parents- which is illegal anyway.

Unfortunately, there are always those who behave irresponsibly and without respect for either wildlife or other people - photographers or not - and they just make it harder for us all.

One of the unfortunate effects of the abilities of our modern digital cameras and lenses is that almost anyone can do it, and photography has become probably too popular for its own good.
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

I don't discriminate, I make myself unpopular with photographers and birders by taking the piss out of them equally.

After a certain amount of piss taking the photo editor of one of the UK birding mags threatened to hit me on one occasion. Another time I pointed out a birders misidentification in a full hide which went down really well.
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Old 29th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

I've occasionally tinkered with the background to make a better photo, but wouldn't feel right about disturbing or endangering animals - even tiny insects - for the sake of a photo. Not sure about luring the with bait either; I think the rights and wrongs of this vary with species and context. E.g. in a municipal park with ornamental ducks when the park authorities are selling appropriate feed, I might be tempted. In zoos, the authorities feed them and create a photo opportunity. (Though they are rarely macro shots ...)

I once found a pair of ladybirds mating high up in a large stand of cow parsley, and I was at full stretch overhead to capture them. Then I realised the the wind wasn't disturbing them but was making my efforts at photographing difficult, so I held the stem with one hand and tried to photograph at full stretch with the other (using flip up rear screen & live view). Then I realised they were so engrossed that nothing would disturb then so - perhaps naughtily - I snapped off the stem and lay it on a nice sunny piece of grass, and set up an off camera flash and got the shots I wanted with much more convenience and control.
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Old 30th October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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Originally Posted by RobEW View Post
..though I have been known to manicure the environment around them a little.
Not sure I want you to go into the details here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ224 View Post
...Generally I frighten off most birds as I approach. So presumably I only get the stupid or deaf birds..
Must be the same one that I see.
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Old 31st October 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

There are always compromises required when selecting equipment and techniques for photography.

This is mine for macro I shoot handheld the tripod is to hold the kit photograph it. I suppose this is ethic and technical as it offers a technical solution to allow small apertures and prevents camera shake but there are some who suggest it is harmful to the subject. I have switched to manual flash as the pre flash for TTl was scaring some moths away before the shot was taken.

Macro-rig by Alf Branch, on Flickr

or this

Macro rigg E M5II by Alf Branch, on Flickr

I only shoot live subjects when shooting macro I think I do OK.
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Old 1st November 2017
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

Stereo, too, eh, Alf!? I don't even use flash or extension tubes for macro. Just 10x converter lens on the front of my trusty 40-150R II. And usually hand hold, steadying against anything nearby with outstretched fingers. All that matters is what works for you.
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Old 9th November 2017
Harold Gough Harold Gough is offline
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Re: Wildlife macro - the trade-offs

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Originally Posted by RobEW View Post
There are two sorts of trade-off; the technical and the ethical.
I may break off some blades of grass to get a better shot of a mushroom but they will grow back in a day or two. I may move excessive or potentially distracting (detached) leaves and/or twigs. That is about the limit of my unethical practices

Quote:
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If your subject is mobile (e.g. a fly) and you want to get a close-up then it seems you have a choice of compromises. To get depth of field you need narrow aperture - but diffraction can compromise IQ. To eliminate motion blur you need fast shutter speed. But light can be limited. If you raise ISO then you can get graininess and noise. If the creature doesn't settle for long then you have no time to set up tripod or precision lighting.
The majority of serious field macro is handheld, usually with a single flash with a huge diffuser. Personally, I use twin TTL flash, triple if working at or near ground level. Daylight exposure is not often practical, although I prefer it when it is. I mostly use ISO 400 or 800.

Any supplementary on the front of the lens will cut down your working distance.

You probably need no smaller than f13 for typical flies or bees, which does not cause diffraction.

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