Floral Friday 11.30.12

Stretch beyond your comfort, for the focal point of the horizon is at infinity.                        -V. A.Gonce

Today my Floral Friday is a bit different.  I’ve been studying macro and ultra macro photography for a few months now, and reading up on the MP-E 65MM from Canon.  As a result, I have developed a healthy fear of the darn thing.  It is designed for extreme macro shots that are greater than the standard 1:1 magnification.  This lens’ capacity for magnification is 1:1-5:1.

With this particular lens, there is no focusing ring and no autofocus.  Focus is achieved by moving the camera or the tripod into position, or by changing the magnification ring.  Because it is really impossible to move a camera on a tripod the tiny increments required to achieve focus, macro focusing rails are necessary.  These rails sit between the camera and the tripod, and act much like the stage of a microscope in that you move the platforms by turning knobs.  Some focusing rails only move along the Y axis, while others move along an X and Y axis.

I decided that the only way to know if I’d really like the lens was to rent it and the rails, and they arrived this morning.  In the last couple of hours, I’ve learned that the learning curve for this lens is indeed quite steep.  I’ve also learned that quality in your equipment is very important.  Even the slightest shakes and shimmies will blur the photo.  Think of powerful binoculars, and trying to stay targeted on one subject.  If you move even in the slightest, the subject moves greatly.  The same is true for this lens.

I think, however, that the lens is capable of fantastic images, if given the dedication to stretch beyond my comfort zone.  I have it for the weekend, and hope it will end in a love for this lens, rather than despising it.  In the meantime, below are the first photo experiments with this lens.  Please let me know what you think.

1/2 inch curled leaf

1/2 inch curled leaf

1/2" of a Mum

1/2″ of a Mum

1/2" center of mum

1/2″ center of mum

*As an interesting side note, none of the photos above were cropped.  The third image is a focus stacked image.  I also did very little tweaking in post processing.

This entry was posted in Canon MP-E65 MM, Floral Fridays, focusing rails, macro photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Floral Friday 11.30.12

  1. That curled leaf is exceptional!!!!! [...and the mums of course!] :-)

  2. Kathleen says:

    WOW! I think your skill and this lens might be a match made in heaven!

  3. adinparadise says:

    You certainly got great results with it, Arnel. :)

    • Thanks! For a first time go. Hubs thought it was a ridiculous lens when he found out there was no focus ring. Hehe. My background however is genetics in which you use microscopes for everything, so the focusing rails didn’t seem too weird to me. It is a challenge though. Can’t wait to try it out more this weekend.

  4. terry1954 says:

    awesome photos, so clear and sharp!

    • Terry, thanks! If you google result with this lens though, you’ll see they aren’t that great. This is the go to for people who do bug photography and some of those shots are absolutely amazing. Looking forward to playing with it.

  5. Nice shots and sounds like fun! I love macro photography 😃.

  6. I really like the curled leaf. I look forward to more pictures.

  7. The shots are beautiful…but then your photos have always to me have been so perhaps I don’t have a trained enough eye to give an opinion on your new equipment…Diane

    • Thank you! Well, you know the saying, we are our worst critics! I think it’s more a matter of what I have in my head that I’m looking for and whether or not the photo comes out that way or not.

  8. journeyman1977 says:

    nice pics Arnel…agree with Kathleen’s comment :) read up the info on the lens on wikipedia and it is indeed a bug lover’s dream :) That said I just thought of the amazing detail you’re achieving with other subjects like the awesome pics posted here. The detail of the texture on the mum can’t be beat. So yeah, like Kathleen said…just may indeed be a match made in heaven :)

    • Thanks! I used it today, both inside and out. It would definitely take some hours of shooting, studying pics and shooting to get the hang of it. Right now I’ve learned that the head to my tripod isn’t hefty enough for it. The camera, lens and rail is so heavy it tips everything forward. Also, the rails I rented aren’t smooth enough, and there is some wobble in them. Don’t know if that’s because they are rented, or that is the nature of them. More research is definitely indicated though.

      • journeyman1977 says:

        too bad about that rail :( Hopefully you could come up with a solution. Amazing what that particular lens enables you to do. And maybe as you experiment, would be awesome to see the pics too!!! :)

      • I’ll probably post some of the better ones next Floral Friday. You can also put a 1.4X teleconverter with an extension tube on a 100mm macro, which is my next trial. I don’t know what that magnification will do, and the setup is a little cheaper. Just thought I’d try both before deciding. But the other issues would be the same, as it’s still a heavy setup.

      • journeyman1977 says:

        maybe you can have a custom rig designed to deal with the balancing? just thinking out loud, Arnel. Can’t wait to see the pics :)

      • I actually saw someone online that did that, but it was permanently mounted, and he used it in a studio so he didn’t have to move it. The little bit of reading I did this afternoon was encouraging in that it said the tripod problem is easily solved with a different type of head, and that it doesn’t have to be expensive, and the rails I still haven’t figured out yet. But I will…

      • journeyman1977 says:

        you will :)

  9. Lynne Ayers says:

    Looks like you could get some interesting effects. I quite like that first shot … and I want to know … where are these flowers coming from at this time of year?!

    • The two mums came from my deck. The last of the blooms. We’ve had a warm fall, so they haven’t completely died off, though they are close. The first is a leaf’s edge. I don’t know why this particular lens owns a sort of white smokey background, but I’ve seen it in other people’s photos with this lens as well. I kinda like it. I’m not a fan of abstract art per se, but I do like this effect.

  10. elisaruland says:

    You are a brilliant photographer, and I am so impressed with how you immerse yourself in the learning process. I’m not a serious photographer, but I of what I know, macro is my favorite. :)

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