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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎05-23-2017

photographing bees and other fast flying things?

[ Edited ]

hi,  i'm having some difficulties capturing things in flight... mainly insects like bees.  i've got a Canon Rebel T-6.

 

the first picture would have been a great picture except the wasp that flew by unexpectedly turned out blurry.  any tips on photographing bees or wasps in flight?

 

the second picture would have been a great picture except when i used my flash to capture the hovering hoverfly, the flowers become washed out.

 

010v2.jpg

Canon EOS Rebel T6, f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO-100, focal length 55mm, no flash

 

 

037v2.JPG

Canon EOS Rebel T6, f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO-320, focal length 55mm, with flash

 

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

As for the washout I'd shoot in raw instead of jpg so you can maybe recover from blown highlights or under exposures better. As for the flash I would probably use a -1 stop of flash exposure compensation if shooting up close like that. 

 

When i shoot bugs or bees on flowers or other macro shots I usually use manual focus. Then I don't really twist the ring to fine tune focus, I just lean forward and back to focus. The depth of field is so shallow when you are that slide that AF is not reliable, at least not on a camera with a simpler AF than a 1dx or something. 

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,388
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

You freeze action or movement with much higher shutter speeds than what you used. Takes a bit of trial & error to find the right range for specific things.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,424
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

[ Edited ]

"... i'm having some difficulties capturing things in flight."

 

First, all cameras, no matter how much they cost, have their limits.  A static flower and a fast moving bee are on opposite ends as you have noticed.  Some creative techniques need to be employed.

 

The bee just sitting on a flower doing its thing should not be any problem.  Pretty normal exposure.  A bee in flight over a static flower will be more difficult.  I have used flash to stop hummingbirds in flight but I am not concerned with the BG.

 

If I wanted the bottom shot you used for an example, I would shoot it twice and stack it in PS.  Do one shot for the bee and a second for the flower.  I would also try to do it with out flash.  Adding the flash just adds more issues to overcome if it really isn't required.  Kicking the SS up to 1/2000+ and ISO to 8000 may eliminate the need for two stacked shots.  However, I use PS all the time so the post editing needed is no problem. I find it easier to get two very different subjects together in one photo a snap with PS.

 

For that bottom shot try this first;

Canon EOS Rebel T6, f/9 f8, 1/160 1/2500 sec, ISO-320 8000, focal length 55mm, with flash no flash  Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,558
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

Anyone asking the OP's questions is too inexperienced to be fooling around with stacking.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,424
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

Robert,

Everyone starts from the begining.  Even thou ! Smiley Wink

 

_52D6131-Edit-Edit.jpg

Not exactly a bee on a flower but two vastly different exposures required.  Unless you stack.  It's not that hard to do. Smiley Happy

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,987
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

[ Edited ]

@ebiggs1 wrote:

Robert,

Everyone starts from the begining.  Even thou ! Smiley Wink

 

_52D6131-Edit-Edit.jpg

Not exactly a bee on a flower but two vastly different exposures required.  Unless you stack.  It's not that hard to do. Smiley Happy


Looks more like layer masks than image stacking to me.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,424
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: photographing bees and other fast flying things?

The technique used is a layer mask.  But it is two photos 'stacked' on top of each other.  Each one with its very different exposure settings and editing.  A layer mask can be used for many different things, stacking is just one of them.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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