Cross Polarized Caterpillars - Macro Photography

August 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Last year I presented you pesto, my test model for cross polarization. I used my little feathered friend to adequately test and fine tune my flash setup. This year I did a bit of tinkering and added a few extra parts to enhance the functionality of the Nikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System. 

Pesto Barred Parrot Cross Polarized PortraitPesto Barred Parrot Cross Polarized PortraitPesto Barred Parrot Cross Polarized Portrait

I decided to replace the Nikon factory filter holder and diffuser for the SB-R200 with the Vello diffusers. Basically one easy to manage part replaces Nikon's awkward two-piece design and the overall light and polarization effect are significantly improved. 

Vello Bounce Dome Diffusers for Nikon SB-R200 (R1 & R1C1)Vello Bounce Dome Diffusers for Nikon SB-R200 (R1 & R1C1)

Macro photography is already challenging as it is. Shallow depth of field and if you're ethical, little creatures that are on the move because they're alive. Lighting is also difficult since they are usually out and about outdoors in a natural setting. Some are in dark hard to find places while others are out and about in direct sunlight. Using Flash photography with the appropriate reflectors and diffusers will significantly improve your macro photography. When you add Cross Polarized lighting to the mix, you open up a whole new world, eliminating the nasty reflections produced by standard flash illumination.

Polarized Gels mounted to Vello diffusersPolarized Gels mounted to Vello diffusers

Four little velcro dots and the Polarized gels are held solidly in place onto the Vello diffusers. The Vello diffusers do a great job at diffusing the light and compared to Nikon's filter holder, they have ZERO impact on the polarized light. The setup is simple. A Nikon D810, TX-1.4 Teleconverter attached to Nikon's Micro 105mm VR. A 77mm hoya Pro circular polarized filter is attached to the lens and the Nikon R1 fitted to the filter. The entire setup is held in place solidly with Manfrotto's telephoto support bracket. For additional flexibility a macro rail is used to move the setup closer or further from the subject without having to move the tripod. Once well calibrated you effectively get ZERO reflection off of your subject. 

Black Swallowtail Butterfly CaterpillarBlack Swallowtail Butterfly CaterpillarBlack Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar

Chenille Papillon du céleri

( Papilio polyxenes )

Cross polarized lighting outdoors Eastern Canada, Quebec
Illuminé à la polarisation croisée à l'extérieur - Québec, Canada

Cross Polarized Caterpillars - Macro Photography
http://www.trolettiphoto.com/blog/2015/8/cross-polarized-caterpillar-macro-photography

Les Chenilles à la polarisation croisée - macrophotographie
http://www.trolettiphoto.com/blog/2015/8/les-chenilles-a-la-polarisation-croisee-macrophotographie

As you can see with the above image of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar, there are no undesired reflections and plenty of detail.  The flash setup produces enough light that I was able to photograph this subject at f/32 and get plenty of depth of field on my full frame camera. The flash setup also bursts at around 1/1000th of a second at high output. This allows me to adequately freeze the motion of my subject. A standard 10 inch reflector was used to block out the sunlight and reflect back some of my polarized light onto the subject.

Sawfly Larvae - Not IdentifiedSawfly Larvae - Not IdentifiedSawfly Larvae - Not Identified
Larve de Symphyta - non identifier

Cross polarized lighting outdoors Eastern Canada, Quebec
Illuminé à la polarisation croisée à l'extérieur - Québec, Canada

Cross Polarized Caterpillars - Macro Photography
http://www.trolettiphoto.com/blog/2015/8/cross-polarized-caterpillar-macro-photography

Les Chenilles à la polarisation croisée - macrophotographie
http://www.trolettiphoto.com/blog/2015/8/les-chenilles-a-la-polarisation-croisee-macrophotographie

Not all caterpillars turn out to be caterpillars!? In this case this tiny caterpillar looking creature turns out to be a Sawfly Larvae. One I actually had never seen this far north into Canada. More common in the Eastern Continental States, like Pennsylvania, I figured climate changes may have something to do with it's northern presence. This Sawfly Larvae is not fully identified as of yet so any input is greatly appreciated.

I'll keep on adding Cross Polarized Macro images to the Macro Gallery as the summer progresses : http://www.trolettiphoto.com/macrophotography-macrophotographie

 








Licensing and print sales

 

Most of the photographs in the galleries are available as prints or for licensing. For printing options, or if you'd like to purchase a license to use any of my photographs for non-exclusive editorial, non-commercial or commercial use, please contact me.

 

 


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