the tiny spider on this snowdrop has its translucency emphasised by a flash gun placed behind the flower to add to the frontal illumination (also flash)

the tiny spider on this snowdrop has its translucency emphasised by a flash gun placed behind the flower to add to the frontal illumination (also flash)

By  Paul Harcourt Davies 

Backlighting: – Adding a Bit of Magic:

A single gun behind and to the side of a subject creates a rim light that accentuates hairs on flower stems or on insects – it is a little bit of magic that raises the game and your pictures go to a different level. 

With radio controlled systems it is easy – a manual gun with a photoelectric trigger works, too, since the lighting is not critical but avoid placing it too close to the subject if it does not have a power-ratio control that lets you control its output. A flash gun used behind a subject (and just out of view) can enhance the translucency of the subject.

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Apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo) a mix of flash (an SB900 fitted with a diffuser) and ambient light.

By  Paul Harcourt Davies

Over the decades that I have used and built flash systems for close-up work, my goal has not changed – namely, to create a set-up that is portable, reliable, consistent, robust and works on as near a ‘point-and-shoot’ basis as possible.

I want to concentrate on the subject not the gear: my prime interest is in the natural world and its inhabitants. What follows, is the first of a series of posts dedicated to that approach,  looking at various practical options and overcoming potential problems with lighting close-ups in the field. So, do we really need flash sources for close up?   Read More

cbolt_silverargiope_DSC1922

I had a great time in Miami last week filming lessons for my upcoming on-line series on photographing insects and other invertebrates for Craftsy. However, our excellent cinematographer Marshall Rosales had mixed feelings about this Silver Argiope (Argiope argentata)! I photographed this spider and its prey using the Sigma 15mm 2.8 diagonal fisheye lens and two off-camera flashes. The class will be available in a few weeks!