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Insect photography - making a 'studio'

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Old Tuesday 28th April 2009, 17:02   #1
birder
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Insect photography - making a 'studio'

Hi there
This is a bit different to the usual questions on this forum but I wonder if I can ask for your help. I am into insect photography and have some Canon equipment (D30, 1D Mark IIn, 105 lens and 4 flashguns) and would like to make a studio set up to get some shots of captive bred butterflies in flight. I am no good at the DIY side of things, so would value any help anyone can give me - eg materials / size of studio, ways of holding flash guns in place etc. I also have a Photo Trap as an infra red trigger device.
Thanks in advance,
Kevin
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Old Tuesday 28th April 2009, 19:29   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birder View Post
Hi there
This is a bit different to the usual questions on this forum but I wonder if I can ask for your help. I am into insect photography and have some Canon equipment (D30, 1D Mark IIn, 105 lens and 4 flashguns) and would like to make a studio set up to get some shots of captive bred butterflies in flight. I am no good at the DIY side of things, so would value any help anyone can give me - eg materials / size of studio, ways of holding flash guns in place etc. I also have a Photo Trap as an infra red trigger device.
Thanks in advance,
Kevin
http://www.wildlifeontheweb.co.uk
Kevin,
I have a book called "How to use your camera close up" by O.R Croy (1961) but full of idea's tips for setting up insect/macro shots, I got my copy on Amazon for a couple of quid and worth every penny.
Ok its not digital camera's but the techniques work on modern equipment.
Cheers
Brian
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Old Tuesday 28th April 2009, 19:36   #3
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I have toyed with doing a similar project myself when I get some space, time and resources to setup this sort of project - would be great for photo oppertunities and one could even do a stopmotion of the formation and hatching as well.

Best place for info I would think would be to contact a butterfly house and see if you can talk to one of the carers there - maybe visit - some might even be willing to sell you native species for you to start from as well. Certainly they would have the specific info and access to resourses you would need
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Old Thursday 30th April 2009, 14:10   #4
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Thanks guys, but my aim was to build my own little 'cage' say 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. Thing is - what materials to use etc? Anyone doing this already?
Kevin
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Old Thursday 30th April 2009, 15:52   #5
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You can use 5mm perspex from diy centres or even a very large plastic fish tank? and use fine mesh for lid.
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Old Thursday 30th April 2009, 19:00   #6
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I would think a fishtank would work well -but it does limit you to angles you can get in for shooting - only one entrance means you need it on its side unless you want to shoot through glass (not fun especailly if you start using flash for the shots). So something like a more custom job might be in order. Also some background material around the setup (light green paper) to give a good backdrop.
You can also remove twigs and such with insects for shots of course - though I would not advise this for when they are in the crysalis stage since you might knock them off by accident.
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Old Thursday 30th April 2009, 19:20   #7
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If you used some perspex for the tank it gives you the option to blank it out if you see fit or let in natural light. You can easily rig up some clamps to the rim of the tank to hold any slave flashes you want to use. You could put it on its side and use a cloth to close it off when it's not in use and to be underneath with your camera. Velcro tape is a good way to attach cloth to just about anything and old curtains work well.

Actually, thinking about it a cloth would need a lid inbetween it and the tank when closed as it'd possibly be difficult to detect the insects if they landed on it and lead to escapes, but it'd give a controllable access for setting up the shot without opening up the tank to the whole room. You could make it quite large.

It's also feasible to make a wooden frame with slide-in slots for different material panels so you can customise it with either hardboard or perspex. Gluing on those little plastic runners for cupboard doors works a treat. If you use dowel joints but don't glue them you can even disassemble the whole thing.
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Old Thursday 30th April 2009, 23:00   #8
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If you use Perspex you can cut holes to put lens through should get clearer shots and no reflections
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