Side Note: All photographs were processed on my friend’s computer, thus there may be a little inconsistencies in regards of colour balance and exposure. Nonetheless, there was not much editing done, and just minor corrections were applied.
It was on one uneventful Friday that I suddenly made a really unexpected decision to take a super brief trip down to a place I no longer feel alien to, and must have visited more than half a dozen times since my working life started in KL. The place is none other than the historical town of Malacca. I must say my visit was not entirely aimless, I needed to sort out a few important errands: to retrieve official work related documentations, and also to hand deliver essential goods which I have helped a friend to purchase from KL.
FIRED WITH SINGLE WIRELESS FLASH (Off camera)
I arrived at Malacca on Friday night, and there and then I met up with dear friend Frederick. We both had really itchy hands and were eager to had our hands for full on shutter therapy for the weekend. I am really looking forward for this particular weekend because for the past few weeks I have been swamped with work and even had to stay back on weekends, thus having this much treasured free time I must fully utilize it. Frederick has just got himself a set of extension tubes, and he has not tried them on yet. That can only mean one thing in the end, the shutter therapy is full-on macro photography. Since I have taken just a few shots of macro photos in the riverfall outing last week, I am dying for more, and now, with a friend, I quenched my thirst for macro.
FIRED WITH TWIN WIRELESS FLASH (Off camera)
My macro shots have been getting very mundane and repetitive lately, thus I have formed a few new tricks in mind, with Frederick to try out during this particular macro outing. For those of you who have not been following my macro progress, my current style of shooting macro can be summarized in the list as below:
1) Full manual focus on the lens, and moving closer in and further away from the subject to fine tune the focus accuracy.
2) Engage wireless TTL-flash, supported by the in-flash trigger, being fired off camera
3) Holding the camera on one hand, and the external flash on another hand angled at various direction depending on situations
As much improvements as I have made for my macro attempts over the time, I still feel that my macro outputs are lacking in quite a few terms. One of them is being the wireless flash off camera, fired at one direction, casting strong illumination from one single side to the subject, and leaving the opposite side completely dark, and this creates unwanted shadow clippings and undesirably uneven exposures to the entire frame. For avid macro shooters, there are a couple of ways to overcome this issue. One would be using the famous ring flash attached in front of the lens to cast a superbly even lighting all around the subject eliminating any shadows and providing an almost studio like appearance, which is ideal for most cases. Alternatively, there is the use of twin flash, fired at two separate sides to light up the subject more evenly, and this method works relatively well to minimize shadows. In this particular session, I was privillaged to try out the later alternative.
NON MACRO STUFF
Twin flash method is usually performed by mounting two external flash units supported on a specially designed bracket connected to the tripod mount on the camera. Unfortunately the mentioned bracket itself costs as much as my macro lens, and is not feasible since I am just shooting macro for leisure and mostly, personal fun. Nonetheless, fully utilizing Olympus’s strength and their technologies, Fred and I have used the wireless TTL-Flash by controlling his external flash unit, and mine, two in total, by firing off my camera, one placed at the left and one supporting flash at the right (or opposite directions, depending on where the subject is facing) to improve the exposure output. It only took us a few rounds of trials to get the settings right, and the results were fantastic !! Great thanks to Fred for holding the flash for me, and with that I can almost eliminate unwanted one sided darkness on my subject. This is truly something new for me, and I was really glad it worked out especially for those tiny little creatures.
Our choice of macro hunt was none other than the Butterfy Park, and boy, it was surely the wrong timing to go now because there were half a dozen of school buses lined up outside the park as we arrived !!! I have to tell you, kids are EVIL. They destroy every single photo opportunity you have, by bumping into you while you were intensely into getting the right focus, or abruptly chasing your tinu creatures away as they merrily flew pass you in such sadistic motions. They blardy grab the butterflies by their hands and CRUSHED it OMGGGGGG. Or step the butterflies on the floor… No wonder the population of butterflies in the butterfly park is getting lesser and lesser. Kids should be prohibited to enter such a place I tell you. Or they should have their brains being shot out of their head. I am serious.
Alright, minus a few mishaps due to the devilish children from hell, I still managed to salvaged some good shots. Too bad we were not exactly interested in butterflies, but more towards the insects inhabiting the whole park. We thought, if the whole area was sustainable for butterflies to grow, it should be suitable for other tiny bug’s survivability. We did find some interesting stuff, but not as many as what I would have originally intended. KL butterfly park has waaaay more varieties of creepy crawlies to hunt for. We did what we could, Fred had great fun trying out his extension tubes on his 50mm lens, and I of course, for the first time, used the twin flash technique via wireless TTL method. All win-win situations.
simplyROBIN in ACTION
Notes: Here are some rare photographs of yours truly in shutter therapy mode.
There was an entirely separate session, adjoining to the butterfly farm that houses a huge range of reptile collection, especially snakes. In addition to that, there were also birds of many sorts, some pretty colourful ones. From macro we moved on to some animal shooting, and boy was I happy to be able to use my most favourite lens, the Zuiko 40-150mm F3.5-4.5 tele-zoom lens.
I do feel entirely refreshed coming back to my favorite shooting of macro. There are still tones to improve on my shots, especially in terms of composition and more importantly, the lighting, but hey, step by step, and one day, I will be there. I am loving what I am doing now, and you just have no idea the joy of seeing those tiny little bugs being displayed on my monitor, and being zoomed in to see the finest details that our normal naked human eyes cannot see. The feeling is just something magnificent, and somehow, it does help me to realize, and appreciate the smaller things in life.
There it was, after months of macro photography draught, and weeks of shutter therapy deprivation, finally, I had one full on day out for just photo-shooting. So what cool things have you done this weekend?