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Blue Snowball Flowers (and Purple!)
I slightly modified my macro setup; this photo is the beneficiary of the changes.
This was a large subject, at least for macro, so I shortened the tubes for my macro lens to get more of the subject in view. One of my favorite macro photos ever!
I made some minor but useful changes after running some tests.
Problem: the images had a ‘hot center’ - the central portion of the images was brighter than the edges. But this wasn’t a case of vignetting (dark edges); the ring light was causing the problem. I had the camera away from the center of the ring light, and this allowed light to take some funny paths and create that center hot spot.
Solution: I had wanted to add a side-to-side stage to the setup, mostly so I could easily center objects in the frame. I had a manual high-quality industrial stage that I intended to use on my drill press; I added that below the camera and presto, no more hot spot.
I also added some black tape to the silver clip that holds my subjects. Even though it was black, it was not as black and the special optical black cloth in the background, so that still needs some work. But it is better with just the tape for now.
I was surprised to find so much debris on the flowers; if you look closely you can can see bright and dark bits. I could, I suppose, use some area to dislodge those next time.
Because the lens was closer to the camera, the ratio of the object to the image on the sensor is about 1:1.7. (Image area on the flower is about 60mm wide; the sensor is 35mm wide.) So slightly larger than half of life size, which would be 1:2.
Photographed with the f/4 80mm machine vision lens (Schneider M-Componon). Exposures were 1/5th second at f/6.7, ISO 100.
This is definitely my favorite macro shot ever. The color and sharpness are thrilling.
This is the current state of my macro setup: