Archive: September 2019

Macro-Photography Lens and Kit

This is going to be really fun today because I want to create a little bit of a shopping list for all of you out there as photographers and filmmakers who are trying to get better and take macro photographs. Now in the past, this 50mm lens to get photographs like this. I’ve also taken a gopro – believe it or not, undid the glue around the lens, refocused it so that you can get images like this.

And the real trick is, there are a lot of ways that you can take macro-photographs. Those techniques are fantastic. I have those in my bag of tricks. But my goal today is to both see and try-out what another filmmaker uses. So, I’m calling up my friend Phil Torres, who is amazing entomologist and also a bug photographer and filmmaker in his own right, just to see what he uses. Phil: So this is Canon’s MP-E 65mm, so I’m going to show you what it can do here. So you can shoot it this way and it’s kinda doable, but then you zoom in, and you zoom in, and you zoom in, and you zoom in…

And it gets all the way out to 5x and you’re basically – it’s like taking photos with a microscope. It is incredibly hard to use. You can see here, this isn’t a focus ring. This is entirely a zoom ring so to focus all you have to do is move back and forth to get whatever you’re shooting in focus. PHil showed me a few images taken with his lens, including this bee, this incredible shot of jumping spider eyes, the iris of a small crocodilian, and this butterfly wing.

But, what I was most interested in, was seeing his primary setup. My primary setup looks a little bit like this. So, it gets you’re hands full, which can be a little intense. This is the 100mm macro lens, This is Canon’s L. This is what I used 90-95% of the time. It is really an excellent lens. It just gets right upclose. And, for most things, that are small this will do the trick. Up here I have a transmitter, wireless transmitter, to this flash unit. This is what I use most of the time. I think it’s, it just covers your basis – anything down to the size of you know, even like a rolly polly in your backyard. You could still get a pretty good shot with the 100mm macro – especially if you crop in a little bit. Unfortunately, I’m now going to need that. We are going to get the macro lens. Here, you shoot it.

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We are on the way to get a macro lens. Walking into the camera store. Canon Lens – L series. Now we gotta head to the rainforest. Made it to Panama. I finally made it into the forest. I’ve got my setup – Macro lens, some lights, a flash, my goal is to get an awesome picture of an insect, and I have two to choose from right here. I have a whole set of army ants and then I have a leaf cutter ant line, and actually, maybe I’ll start with the leaf cutter ants, cause if you look at this, you can see the leaf cutters have been digging out a trail here. Let me grab one. There you go! That’s a leaf cutter ant. It’s making it’s way from the canopy where it’s taking the leaves to it’s nest. I’ve got the setup, we’ll see if I can do it! So off I went to photograph bugs around the forest. Now I did find the whole process is slow and time-consuming. In fact, it would take me some 30 shots before I even found one in the right focus.

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Especially with these fast moving ants! Ok, now I want to highlight my setup. I’m using a Canon 1DX Mark2 with a Canon speedlight transmitter and an external flash. Because I’m also shooting video of it all, I added two portable LED LITRATORCH cubes on the end of some flexible flash holders. I really fell in love with this option. It adds a lot of light and allows me to shoot video in the forest.

In fact, the only thing I would change about the whole setup is that I would mount the flash on a good clamp and attach it to trees so that I didn’t have to always go out with Haley. That’d just free me up a little bit. Other than that, well, I got some great images with this setup in the small time that I had to snap macro shots! I’ll post more of those next month to my Instagram account. So, be sure to check that out. A big shoutout to my camera lady, Haley. She does an amazing job. Always behind the scenes. Sometimes in front of the camera. Thank you for watching that short on macro-photography.

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I do like taking lots of pictures in the wild. It’s difficult though. A big shoutout to Phil Torres, for helping me figure out what to bring down here – and also check out what he’s doing on Instagram. He does some amazing stuff! Links down below for his things, and we’ll see you in another video..


Today, we’re talking about something that I keep in my kit no matter where I go. Traveling, photography, everyday, riding a snow- I doesn’t matter, it goes with me everywhere.

You need one of these. It’s not that expensive to put together but it could save your life, literally, figuratively, and all those good things. Today, we’re talking about my EDC pouch that lives in my camera bag. (exhales) Essentials, folks, essentials. (snaps) Mmm! Also, that intro you know, you probably thought that was editing. That was all me, it wasn’t skipping, that was all me. Intro. (rock music) Whoa, that was a big bang. Oh, I think my laptop’s in here too. Okay, this is not a what’s in my camera bag video. That video is coming in 2019, I usually do one per year, although everything has switched from the beginning of this year in February. I’m just talking about one particular thing that’s in my camera which is actually like 15 things.

What are you talking about? What are you actually talking about? I’ll show you, let’s just get to it. So, let’s go ahead and open this up, oof. Ah, this little thing right here, I can’t leave home without it. If I’m going shooting, if I’m going anywhere, if I’m going on my sled, if I’m doing anything at all, I have to have this with me.

One of the things that doesn’t actually fit in here. Ugh, deep into the depths of, exaggerating. This tiny little roll of gaff tape. I used to carry a big roll, now I carry a mini-roll just because (tape bangs). That doesn’t fit very well. This, fits perfect. Don’t need the rest of this, coming next year, early 2019. (grunts) Okay (laughs). This here folks, is my emergency EDC photographer’s pouch that will save your life. I mean, it might save your life, who knows? It’s very plausible that it could, both figuratively and literally depending on the situation that you’re in. Open the pouch, Peter. I know you’re all saying open the pouch. Firstly, I’m gonna link everything below because there’s a lot in here. This thing is stuffed, there are so many little things. This is really gonna be like, just going off on a side note here, this is gonna be a good deep dive into how meticulous and weird I am as an individual carrying these things on a daily basis.

Maybe not. So the reason I’m making this video, and the reason I carry all of this stuff I’m gonna get into in a second, is because there’s always time, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there’s always a time when you need something that you don’t have. And it’s always the stupidest thing. Do you have a set of pliers? Like yeah, let me just, here you go dude. Just give those back to me. No one’s gonna have pliers. Do you have some scissors? Do you have band-aids? Do you have aspirin? People are always asking for something.

Do you have anything I can tighten this tripod thing down with? Hey, do you have any tape that I can flag off this? Could I glue this back on? Like how, how would I? You never have what you need for the most part when you need it. You always gotta go find it, you gotta make a pit stop. Then the shoot’s on hold, or this guy might have it but he’s not there.

Just carry something like this, you have everything. You’re the person, you are the person that has everything in this pouch. Let’s get into what’s inside it. Imagine if I just ended the video right here. So, that’s it. It’s a great pouch. Hit that like button. No, we’re not gonna do that. Ahhh. Boom. Right here, that is the contents. You can see it’s pretty much like a basic little pouch with a bunch of cargo strapping sewn together to give you different compartments to slide different things into. Let’s just start knocking off the list, just small things. So number one, flashlight, I always use a flashlight. Be it that I use it for lens flares on the lens, to find things in my camera bag, use it at night, light something. This is a light with one, two, three different modes, super bright. That’s something that I’ve found useful to always keep in a camera bag. And instead of throwing all these little bits into a camera bag randomly I just throw them all in here and it just lives in my bag in a nice, clean, tidy arrangement.

Back behind in this little pocket here I keep a little baggie of extra batteries for that flashlight. That just kind of tucks into the back here. There’s some pockets behind it, which I love, you can never have enough pockets. I want us to open up this little bag here, ’cause you might be like, yo, show me what else is in that bag. Oh, I plan to. Double A, this is always like something, does anyone have a double A battery? No, no one ever does. Does anyoen have a triple A battery? No, no one ever does. Does anyone have a CR2 battery? Actually, no one ever does. The stores don’t even have these, but this is for my flashlight so smart to keep a spare battery for whatever light you’re using just in case it dies.

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And then these, you’re gonna laugh at me but these are Krazy Glue one time use little tubes. You might be thinking, you actually carry? I mean, I don’t keep this stuff in my pockets, but if I need to glue something to the camera, to anything at all, to wardrobe, anything like that. One time Krazy Glue, it’s so small, it makes no difference if it’s there or not there. So, I find that to be very handy. I’ve only used it once, it just feels good knowing that if I need to use it, it’s there. And that’s kind of what this whole pouch is. And then this tiny little thing of earplugs. Mostly for the airplane, I do a lot of air travel, and I find it easier to sleep when I have ear plugs in.

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So these are just like disposable, Happy Ears. I don’t know how many times you can use them but they’re pretty cheap. They come in this hilarious, cute little case. The smaller, the better, with this stuff. I’m not looking for it to take up a ton of room. There you go, that’s how small they are. So, very small, and all that stuff just goes in this little bag. Okay, so moving on. You’ve got a lighter. Obviously, if you need to light anything you have it. I haven’t used this yet, but like… Oh, you like that? I’m here all week. Always handy to have one of these just in case. I have a little tube of Aleve. I specifically chose Aleve because it’s good for back pain and carrying the amount of gear that I have on my back with my camera back when I’m traveling this stuff comes in handy. Don’t use it if you don’t need to. This is bad for your liver, bad for your life. But you know, sometimes it saves you in a pinch.

On top of that, speaking of being saved. In a pinch, 50 dollar bill just in here. Cash is king. You always need this, comes into parking, trying to find where to go for a shoot, you pull up. They only take twenties, whatever, you at least have enough money for parking and food and gas or whatever. So, 50 is good. I used to keep a 20 in there but I found that not to be enough in the case where I forgot my wallet entirely. 50 bucks could pretty much get me out of whatever I need to get out of. Don’t make fun of how I say that, okay? I’m Canadian, leave me alone. Sorry. ?O Canada? Behind that, so behind that pouch back in here, I actually keep zip ties.

No, not to bound anyone’s wrists with, that’s creepy. You can pretty much mount anything to anything with these. If you need to put something on a tripod, a remote to a light stand, anything to a light stand, flags, that kind of thing. Things to your camera backpack, fix a zipper if you’re somewhere where you think your backpack might get ripped off you can zip tie it to something or you can zip tie the zippers together on your bag to prevent any kind of theft if you’re super paranoid.

There’s just so many uses for zip ties all the time in life. That’s another thing like, hey man, do you happen to have any zip ties with you? No, no, it’s never gonna happen. No one has zip ties, ever. Getting to the right side of this pouch, multi-tool. Obviously, that’s like having an entire toolbox in your backpack as well without having to have an entire toolbox. Now, I’m not the biggest fan, this is a Leatherman. Just like I could never actually rock this as like an everyday carry. You guys know I carry a little pocket knife because it does what I need to do and it’s just a much smaller, much tidier package. The Leatherman, it’s good, but you know, it’s there if you need it.

It’s got a flathead, it’s got a Phillips, it’s got a bottle opener, it’s got a file, it’s got a bunch of different knives, and a saw, and all this kind of stuff. Like I would probably never actually use this knife. I’d never use it like this either, this Edward Scissorhands looking thing. I mean, having a knife is better than no knife especially with how useful they are. Just the fact that it has all of those accessories built in to itself, that’s useful.

So, having that in your camera bag has come in handy for me, many, many, many, many, many times. Also, getting a filter stuck on your lens and you just need to get it off. Hope for the best, yank it, good luck to you. Not a good idea, don’t recommend it, but if you have to do it. You have to do it.

I did once, I just smashed the glass and it was awful. I’m scarred, I still think about it. Rest in peace. Multi-tool, there’s also a ruler on here. Never used it, but there. Next up, paracord. That’s just kind of like the EDC junkie inside me, I don’t really have a use for paracord. I’m sure there is one, I did learn recently how to clutch start my snowmobile with a rope so if I ever did get stuck in the woods and I was shooting and making a vlog and my key wasn’t working and the pull start wasn’t working, I could take the side off, wrap this around my clutch, and clutch start it myself with a rope.

So, that is handy. I’m sure there’s other things you could use this for, rigging, tying knots, tying something to the back of your camera bag if it has webbing on the back. Like I said, there’s always a use for all of this stuff. Including, you got a marker right here. Always have use for a Sharpie. Literally, I have used a Sharpie, whoop, since the beginning of time. That is very handy to also have. I used to carry a notebook, it doesn’t fit in here, but sometimes if somebody does a really back parking job I like to write how bad their parking job was on that notebook and stick it in their windshield wiper there, just so they know.

Just so you know going forward, that was very bad. That was horrible. You are not good at this. Moving on to the inside of this. I live in Canada, gotta have those hand warmers. That comes in handy more than you’d expect. You got some band-aids, you got some hand sanitizers because people in places are mostly gross and yeah that’s a thing. And then I have a couple of safety pins attached to the top here. Because again, all those little things that you never have with you. I also through a little lanyard bead on the end of the zipper just to make it easier and faster to open. And then last but not least, just on the inside here, patriotism. ?O Canada? Yeah, this has no use. It’s cool that it’s black and white, just ’cause you know it’s normally red and white.

That is the contents of my photography EDC camera bag essentials pouch that I think everybody could benefit rocking in their camera bag. (chill music) Okay folks, so that is it. That is the pouch, that is all the things I recommend you keep in your kit if you are going out to shoot, explore, travel, whatever with photography. Keep in mind, if you are traveling I don’t believe you can bring a lighter on an airplane, or a knife, unless you are checking this. I still think a lighter is not allowed. Don’t take my word for that, I don’t know the actual facts.

When I do travel with this I remove the Leatherman and the lighter, I go with something more local depending on what I’m doing. Alright, so with that out of the way, that’s today’s video. Thanks so much for watching. Blew past that two minutes, it wasn’t even two minutes. Did we even put the timer on this video? We just don’t even care anymore, do we? We’ll get better, we’ll get better. Hit that like button if you like this video, smash it. If that’s something that you’re into, 2018 style. Subscribe if you aren’t already and I will see you guys next Thursday. Old school, see ya’. (chill music).