As summer approached and the bird activity slows, I wanted to go out and see what insects were about so where better than my local stretch of the Staffs and Worcester canal, a short walk from my house. I went early on a Sunday morning to try and avoid people and also to try and catch the insects before they became too active.
I was using my Canon 100mm 2.8L macro lens which is ideal for this type of photography and coupled with the 5DMk 4 is a great combo. I was trying out different methods of focussing on this trip, something that is very critical in Macro photography as the depth of field is very narrow.
There are several ways of focussing, using the auto focus, manual focus and focus stacking, a technique that can work very well. A tripod is also a valuable piece if kit but you can get excellent results hand held. However as I get older I find it is not son easy to hold the camera as steady so a high shutter speed is required.
While there was not a huge amount of insects about I did get some decent images of a ladybird, Damselfly and a stunning bright green bug. Click here to view the video
A week later I returned to the canal where my first encounter was with a green Orb spider which sat quietly while I got a couple of images. I was then lucky to find some Blue Tailed Damselfly’s so I decided to try focus stacking. This is a technique where several images are taken, focussing on different parts of the subject so every part is sharp. The images are then blended together with software, I use Photoshop, and the resulting image should be sharp from front to back.
I use a technique where I take a number of images in quick succession while turning the focus ring on the lens. The other method is to fix the focus on the lens then move slowly forward while taking the images. Both methods work well but need some practice.
On my way home I noticed that a Swallow was flying up and down the canal feeding on insects. This gave me an ideal chance to get a photo of one of these fast birds in flight, not easy but I did manage one that I was happy with.
Here is a link to the video