Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Baubles

So I got my old Pentax-M macro sold on ebay, and made a profit on it. I took that money and a little bit more and bought the Samsung Schneider-Kreuznach D-Xenon 100mm Macro for Samsung and Pentax DSLRs - which is a re-badged Pentax D-FA lens. I couldn't wait to try it out.

What I discovered right away is that 1:1 isn't for wimps. If
you're going to work with magnifications that high, you just about have to have a tripod or a flash. So I continued my search for a
ringlight that 1) didn't suck, and 2) didn't cost $450. I got lucky at
one of the few good photography stores in the area - Overland Photo in Overland Park, KS - and picked up an old Lester Dine
ringlight for $40. It's got the Minolta TTL module, but works f
ine in "manual" mode, which gives about f16 @100 ISO. Add a 49-52 step up ring and I was in business.

So I strapped the 100mm Macro onto my K20D, screwed on Lester's ringlight (Wikipedia tells me he invented the ringlight... learn something new every day) and went in search of interesting bugs and other small things.

The most interesting thing I found, I flubbed the exposure on. I'm going to post it here anyway - I'm hoping someone knows what the heck it is. It's so counter to expectations that I'm left baffled and fairly speechless. It flew up and landed on the leaf I was looking at, and at first I thought it was a bit of fluff, but it turned out to be a bug. With fur or something:
What IS it?
What in the world IS that thing? I've seen a lot of funny lookin' critters, but this takes the cake. It's so bizarre that I'm inclined to think it's sick, perhaps a lacewing with a fungal infection or something - which gives me the shudders.

A little more wandering turned up this gorgeous little beetle - he's all metallic and shiny gold, like he was a clockwork insect of some sort. A Steampunk Beetle, maybe. My daughter said it lookes like you can see gears and stuff through his shell:
Twenty-Four Karat

I love shooting macro images. The ringlight works, and makes it possible for me to get handheld images of these guys rather than lugging a tripod everywhere, but I am afraid that I'm going to have to figure out a way to adjust the power of the flash (so I can balance it with daylight) or just use a tripod. I like my hands-free and crazy technique that allows me to chase bugs with abandon, and I hate the idea of giving it up to be tied down to a huge hunk of metal that holds up the camera, but the image is king. If I have to, I will.

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