How to take extreme close-up pictures of insects and other little bugs out in the free


My camera with reversed lens and flash mounted

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  First of all, these creatures will not pose for you, so forget the tripod. You need to use the camera hand held and you need to be very quick. A bee will not sit still for more than a second or two, that is all the time you have to focus and take the picture. If you after hours and hours of work get more than two or three pictures from one roll of film, you are lucky.

  To obtain a good image sharpness and permit good lighting in the extreme close-up range you need to use a reversal ring to mount the lens with the front lens pointing to the camera - the shorter focal length the greater magnification. A number of extension rings to be mounted between the lens and the camera are also needed for even greater close-ups.
  If you don´t have any extension rings, it is possible to use a coupling ring to mount to lenses together front to front. The lens with the longer focal length should always be at the camera end, and is also the one used to set the aperture.

  With the lens in reverse position a good lens hood is a must to eliminate ghost images, reflections and flare caused by stray light from outside the picture area. As you can see from the picture above I used a rear lens cover with a small hole drilled at the center. An other thing with the lens in reverse position at the end of a number of extension rings and the aperture down to 16 or so, it will get very dark in the viewfinder - you really need a sunny day, but of course that is also when the little bugs are the most active.

  Even if you have this sunny day it will be far from light needed for any pictures, you need an additional light source. I am talking one big flash, not two or three small ones that will cause strange little shadows and reflections pointing in different directions.

  This is howe you calculate flash to object distance:

            Guide number of film used            
f-number × (magnification factor + 1) × 2