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Monday, June 28, 2010

Concave Diffusers

Since the concave diffusers seem to be in the trend now, and the light from these were really well diffused with no hot spots, I had to make myself a pair of concave diffusers as well.

Prior to this, I have been using my version of "cup diffuser" for the MPE65 1X-5X macro lens / MT24EX macro twin flash combo for a couple of months now and loving the light from it. More about the cheap yet great DIY Concave Diffuser here.

About a week ago, I tested out the "concave top diffusers". It looks like this:

the opening on the one on the right hand side goes onto the MT-24EX flash head. The one on the left is upside down for comparison
DIY concave diffuer IMG_9558 copy

the same pair from a different angle
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_9559 copy

The opaque concave tops are from those toy capsules widely available from toy vending machines in most convenient stores/sundry shops in Malaysia.

DIY Concave diffuser - Where to get the concave tops:D

how it looks like when fitted onto the MT-24EX and MP-E65
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_9562 copy

front view of the setup
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_9561 copy

The housing, as you can see, are from Justea packet drink (Tetra Pak drink packaging). It was actually quite a task to make the housing fit snugly onto the MT24EX flash heads. However, you can use this moldable plastic to make housings that fit nicely onto the flash heads.
 InstaMorph - Moldable Plastic - 12 oz

lower angle
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_9560 copy

Surprisingly, additional layer of diffusion from the concave top actually almost doesn't cause any loss of light as evident in the following quick tests:

without the concave top, i.e only with tent/cup diffuser. At 1:1, ISO100, F11, 1/200, i need 1/4th flash power to light the scene.
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_1254 100crop copy

with the concave top and also the tent/cup diffuser i.e extra diffusion. At 1:1, ISO100, F11, 1/200, i need the same 1/4th flash power to light the scene.
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_1252 100crop copy

Now the 100% crop images of the above:

without the concave top diffusers:
 DIY Concave diffuser IMG_1254 100crop

with the concave top diffusers. Noticeably nicer/less harsh specular highlight there.
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_1252 100crop

However, even with the slightly better handling of highlight, my latest concave tops plus cup/tent diffuser still can't pass the ultimate test: the golden tortoise beetle! In fact, i failed miserably :D

blown highlight all over, even at -2 FEC (flash exposure compensation).
DIY Concave diffuser IMG_1317 copy

Maybe I need to look for some Vellum paper to replace the polyfoam sheet I'm using for the cup/tent? Still looking for a shop in town that sells it.

To be fair to the awesome tent/cup diffuser and concave tops, I need to point out that I had tried shooting a golden tortoise beetle with just natural light and still ended with blown highlight. But next time, I'll try to use a CPL.

Note: the concave top diffuser is the brainchild of SteB1 (Stephen). If you would like to read more about his excellent analysis of various diffusion methods, check out the following:

Some Ideas on Macro Flash Diffusion


Concave Flash Diffuser Test

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some wonderful weevils of Malaysia

A collection of some of my favorite weevil images, all shot in Malaysia. Funny how I didn't even know about these cute weevils before I took up macro photography.

Mostly taken with a Canon 40D, MPE65 1x-5x macro lens and MT24EX Twin Flash.

Episomus sp. weevilThe lesser of the two weevils......IMG_0349 copy

All full flash, normally 1/200, F11, ISO100, 40D, MPE65 and MT24EX twin flash with DIY Diffuser.

A male giraffe weevil
male Giraffe Weevil /long necked beetle (DSC_4620 )

A female giraffe weevil. Check out how she builds a nest to lay egg in here.
female giraffe weevil/long necked beetle IMG_9528v2 copy

A spiny giraffe weevil, Hoplapoderus hystrix (Fabricius, 1801). More about this here.
IMG_8642 copy

Another type of  giraffe weevil Leptapoderus (Soendapoderus) semirufus (Faust, 1883). More about this here.
IMG_1404 copy

weevil with red background IMG_7861 copy

A spiny weevil
WWW - Weird but wonderful weevil IMG_4129 copy

IMG_0548 copy

sp. - ID credit: Boris (thaptor on Flickr)
weevil IMG_7211 copy

IMG_9367 copy

weevil IMG_9608 copy

A fungus weevil
fungus weevil IMG_3744 copy

Natural light shot of a beautiful weevil. Tips on shooting with natural light here.
weevil malaysia natural light shot IMG_4691 copy

Weevil taking off. Shortlisted in Photoradar's POTY 2010 but that was as far as it went.
IMG_4672 copy copy

Mating pair of giraffe weevil/giraffe necked beetle. More about them here.
mating pair of giraffe weevils IMG_9996 copy

Weevil weevil rock you!
weevil weevil rock you, mating pair of weevils IMG_8182 copy

White fluffy weevil. The white stuff is not fungus/mold. 
white fluffy weevil IMG_7365 copy

 weevil IMG_4586 copy

Another mating pair of giraffe weevil, with an ant watching:D. No sexual dimorphism in this species. Watch how a female build a nest here.
Mating pair of giraffe weevil...IMG_6546 copy

 weevil IMG_0710 copy

reddish fungus weevil IMG_8379 copy

black weevil IMG_8518 copy

If you would like to check out some beautiful beetles of Malaysia, look here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The lesser of the two weevils :P

So i posted two images of a same weevil in a forum:

Both shot with a 40D, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 with natural light and reflector, and a plamp to hold the branch still to minimize wind movement.

IMG_0349 copy

IMG_0334 copy

Someone commented: #2 is the lesser of the two weevils. Another one laughed :D. I had no idea what was going on.

Finally someone showed us this clip:

What a pun! :P

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some awesome ant-mimic spiders of Malaysia

Spiders are really cool, especially those ant-mimic spiders. I have come across and also photographed so many ant-mimic jumping spiders and ant-mimic crab spiders in Malaysia. Here are some of my favorites. More awesome Tropical Spiders here.

All shot with 40D, Canon MPE65 1X-5X macro lens and MT24EX Twin Flash and DIY Concave Diffuser.

A male red ant-mimic jumping spider, Myrmarachne plataleoides
male red ant-mimic jumping spider IMG_0056 copy

A male Ant mimic jumping spider Myrmarachne plataleoides

Ant mimic jumping spider Myrmarachne plataleoides male IMG_8850 copy

A female red ant-mimic jumping spider, Myrmarachne plataleoides
female red ant mimic jumping spider IMG_3218 copy

A male red and black ant-mimic jumping spider
male red and black ant mimic jumping spider.......IMG_3188 copy

A female red and black ant-mimic jumping spider
female red and black ant mimic jumping spider IMG_0172 copy

A male black ant-mimic jumping spider. Don't have a female one yet.
male black ant mimic jumping spider IMG_7728 copy

A female ant mimic jumping spider with prey
female ant mimic jumping spider with prey IMG_5801 copy

A black ant mimic jumping spider with prey
black ant mimic jumping spider with prey (IMG_2394 copy)

Ant-mimic crab spider mating. Amyciaea lineatipes.
Ant-Mimic Crab spiders mating IMG_1261 copy

A male ant-mimic crab spider with prey - a weaver ant
male ant mimic crab spider with weaver ant prey IMG_9990 copy

If you would like to see more spiders, check these out:
1. Ant-mimic crab spider eating weaver ant
2. More ant-mimic spiders
3. Wonderful jumping spiders
4. Ant-mimic crab spider - mating!
5. Male red ant-mimic jumping spider
6. Tropical spiders
7. Jumping spider life cycle
8. Lichen huntsman life cycle


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