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..

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