Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for January, 2013

My Close up rig…

Posted by Mike on January 31, 2013

Update June 2016. The is my new rig for light in 1:1 close ups. It doesn’t work for everything but it is pretty good. Go here to see some very satisfactory results:  and



It is certainly possible to go to a camera store and spend hundreds of $$ on stuff…. I made my diffuser from a $1.89 milk jug. And I put the pieces together from other stuff lying about which I use for lots of other types of photography…. The ETTL extension cord is one of the most handy accessories you can own. A bracket to hold your flash over the camera (vertical or horizontal) is deemed necessary by many photographers for candid and wedding work. (there is nothing worse looking than a vertical photo with a flash shadow beside the head on the wall behind the subject… a sure sign of poor amateur technique).

A $1.89 half gallon of milk (empty container) and a small slice of velcro and you are in business.  The photos below are from a 1Ds Mk2 with a 100mm macro lens ISO 100, ETTL Flash through the milk carton (set on minus 1/3 stop). Camera was manual f 16, 1/125th. I go back and forth on the auto focus thing….  I cannot see as well as the camera can so for still stuff one shot…. for bugs continuous servo focus…. expect a lot of failures…. There is no depth of field at 1:1 close up focus distances…  Any closer (bigger) and you will need a camera mount (stand or tripod) and a rack to move the whole camera back and forth for fine focus….

_R7F0472_R7F0450 _R7F0466 IMG_7076

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Photojournalism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

How to: Puget Sound Landscape

Posted by Mike on January 22, 2013

023Sunset 094SunsetSeveral people have written me about these photos…. asking how to:  If you have ever read the first edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook it starts by saying “…first stand in front of the stove…”. So that means you need to be in the right place at the right time.  These were made within a few minutes of each other from pretty much the same location.  Both with a Canon 1Ds Mark2. Both with a 70 to 200mm lens.  The boat was ISO 400 hand held at f9 with 1/80th of a second shutter. The Pilings were ISO 640 at f 4 at 1/50th of a second 17 minutes later, March 16, 2012.  This is an old 1997 lens with no stabilization or I might have had it on… I usually shoot 3 to 5 shots rapidly to make sure I get a sharp on in these hostile lighting situations.

Before: Here are the initial RAW files of these two  photos.


For the Boat here are the Lightroom settings:  Basic, Profile, Brush, HSL,  and graduated filters, if any:

02 boat basic 03 boat hsl 04 profile boat 05 boat brush one 06 boat brush 2 07 boat graduated filters

For the Pilings here are the same settings:

01 basic 09 pilings profile 10 pilings brush

Posted in fine art photography, Landscape Photography | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »