Today I got a new package with something in it that I wanted since I started taking pictures in the 80s, a bellow used for macro photography. It’s something about the mechanical nature of it, the wheels that move the lens and the idea that you can get really close. So as every child does I ripped it out of the package, mounted my new Industar 50mm lens on it and went outside to try it out. But I first had to slow myself down and find a solution to get enough light so far from the flash mount on the camera and close to the front of the lens. I choose to use the little flash (EF-X8) that came with the X-T1 and use it as a commander together with the Yongnuo flash in slave mode. For now I have nothing to mount it so I used it handheld and pointed the flash in the right direction when needed. There was almost no wind so I decided to use my tripod, I wanted to take pictures of little bugs and plans and not from some fixed objects. But as most of the time when hunting for little bugs the tripod is a nuisance and there was almost no wind but there was still some movement and when you get so close the bugs move from one side of the viewfinder to the other, a tripod is useless in these circumstances. So I shot handheld and with my left hand I also held the flash in such a way that it illuminated the subject. It is not an ideal situation but parts of the pictures are sharp so it’s more a matter of finding the right angels so that the (really shallow) depth of field is used as best as possible. I had the aperture set at f5.6 with the shutter at the flash sync speed of 180/s, the ISO was set at 400 and the flash strength between 1/4 and 1/16 but holding the flash at the right distance was more important than the flash strength.
When I looked at the photos later at the computer I saw a lot of dust. First I thought that it might have something to do with the lens, bellow and aperture settings but than I thought about what happens when I move the bellow forwards and backwards, maybe all the dust in the old bellow is blown against the sensor, where else can it go.
The pictures I shot today are not bad for a fist time shooting with a magnification of over 2.5 it’s nice to get really close. Bugs and flowers that normally filled a corner of the sensor now suddenly fill the whole sensor. The depth of field will be a challenge and the framing to but the picture where you look over the shoulder of the ant is nice, as if you walk behind him, and the pictures with the three eggs is not bad ether and I didn’t even see the eggs when I shot the picture what reminds me to look even closer.