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Three ways of shooting a stick insect

The mediterranean stick insect (Bacillus rossius) is one of the longest insect in Europe, with a length up to 10 cm. Therefore, it happens to be a good subject for even a wide angle macro shot. I have found an adult female in Dalmatia, on our family holiday so immediately ran back to the apartment to bring my gear. Luckily, it was still hanging on the plant where I spot it. First I took the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens and installed the twin flash including the softboxes. The wide angle presents the closer and the farer environment too:

Hand-held exposure at 1/100 sec. ƒ/22 ISO 400, the subject was illuminated with diffused flashlight.

The next style is completely different: focal length is 100 mm, aperture wide open, making the background blurred, separating the insect from its ambience:

I took this photo with the Canon EF100/2.8 USM macro lens hand-held at 1/400 sec. ƒ/4.5 ISO 100, direct sunlight was reflected from the right.

At last, I got closer with the MP-E65 lens and took a 2:1 mixed light exposure, focusing on the unusual head. Here I used a single flash diffused with white plastic foam board, the background was lit by the sun.

Hand-held exposure at 1/80 sec. ƒ/10 ISO 400, field of view = 18×12 mm, uncropped.

Playing with Squills

The beginning of spring brings new opportunities for the macro photographers. In Europe, Squills (Scilla spp.) start flowering by the end of February. There’s a growing population of it close to my home in the city park of Budapest, each year I find more and more plants. Now I visited the site with a camera and used a newly discovered vintage lens of my father’s ancient Praktica. This is the Meyer Optik Primoplan 58/1.9 which is famous of its unique bokeh.

I had to attach a short extension tube and a 1.5x teleconverter from Vivitar, to achieve the required magnification.

Each shot taken handheld on a low angle, illuminated by the natural light.

Later I decided to take some wide angle shots with an Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-W 24/2.8 objective. This lens is a superb piece of glass with a very short (34mm) and small diameter body. It has an excellent, 25cm closest focus giving the ability of macro shots. This will show you the surrounding area with big trees and buildings in the background:

Since I am very close to the plants here, illuminating the foreground is necessary. The best way to avoid unnatural impression is to use a diffused twin flash with reduced power. Mine is a DIY-ed Canon-Minolta blending and it doesn’t let me adjust anything so must play with the sensitivity and the distance of the flashes.

At last here are some older macros starring ants (Prenolepis nitens) on the flowers, taken with Canon’s MP-E65 macro lens:


Welcome to Nikola Rahmé’s *Macro adventures* blog dedicated to macro-photography, arthropods, amphibians, reptiles and many more creatures in the nature living in the wild. In the following pages I try to share my experiences in photographing bugs and plants and sometimes techniques I use in the field or in the studio. The posts are based mostly on photos, some of them report photo sessions, excursions or entomological trips. Hopefully, you will find many curiosities. Should you need any more information please do not hesitate to ask me, I’m happy to help in any way I can.