Sunday, April 29, 2007

Using Flash

Male ready to mate




Ok, I admit now that flash is useful in macro work. I had been one to poo-poo the use of flash. Perhaps this was doe to having seen too many over-lit photos. The other day out of curiousity I decided to find out what I could get out of the built-in flash for my Nikon D50. By itself, with lens extended all the way I got a shadowed section on about 20% of the photo where the flash could not reach. So, I rigged up a diffuser using a cutout from a vinegar bottle. It diffuses, of course, and also sends the light down where the onboard flash would otherwise be blocked. I've found that it works well to warm up my photos without being harsh. It also to allows me to freeze action and thus get better detail on my macro shots.

There are two funnel spiders in our basement, a male and a female. The male hangs out at the entryway to the funnel and the female hides inside. Nancy saw the male this afternoon and wanted to kill it. Janneke loved it, as did I. Without flash it would have been impossible to photograph in our basement. However, with the flash and diffuser, I took some pictures. At this point Janneke decided she wanted to feed the spider. She found a wood louse and we put it by the lair. That's when we saw the female for the first time, emerging from the funnel web. The male kept his distance and absolutely ignored the food. He obviously only wanted to mate. The female grabbed the louse and quickly retreated with it to the funnel. She also did this with some Milkweed Bugs we gave her too.