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And still a Flash? Macro 2:1

And still a Flash? Macro 2:1
Photo Information
Copyright: Alexei Alyokhin (Alex99) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-16
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, Konica Minolta AF 100 F2.8 Macro (D), Hoya HMC Super UV(0) 55 mm
Exposure: f/32, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Blue Things, My Purple Obsession 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-18 6:33
Viewed: 4697
Points: 112
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Flash should be so much how many it is necessary, but no more that.
This is my final conclusion.

Shot from my last post (Flash or not Flash?) was taken at almost ideal conditions. It is so rare situation. Plant was rather tall (may be 5-10 cm at whole) and BG stood out off the plant and flower perfectly. Sun was shining brightly. And it allowed me not use a flash and get clean smooth colorful enough BG.

After using various kind of flash (inbuilt, external powerful and macro (manual) ring flashes) in various conditions I suppose that a flash should not be much. That is why I have decided to make diffuser on my macro ring flash (which works on digital cameras on full capacity only) and try it in the field.

Few days ago it was shiny weather. In my countryside garden the first poor vegetation was appeared. Tiny plants made the way through old dry leaves and last year's stalks. Maximal height of the poor sparse plants was about 2 cm and they covered all ground with a yellow-green carpet. It is clear BG could not be pure.

I took few pictured without flash. BG was so dark (sunlight was not enough) on them but tiny flower (its diameter is 4-5 mm) was illuminated perfectly. Magnification ratio is about 2:1 (this is practically full frame shot with tiny cropping around). I used TC Kenko AF 2x Teleplus MC7 DG again. Then I used macro ring flash with diffuser and, of course, smaller aperture value and shorter exposure time. All scene was illuminated well enough (it is possibly if BG contains the objects, which can reflect light of flash). You can see the result at a present shot.

You can also notice that light is rather "flat". It is not effect from ring flash. It is effect form sunlight and its direct direction. The flash light illuminated both flower and BG delicately.

Some flower info:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Veronica

There are many species in Veronica genus:
Mistaken with: Veronica ....
Unfortunately I do not know exact ID of pictured species but it is not Veronica arvensis L.

I know only one thing exactly. This is a last close-up picture from my short spring macro series and I hope you will not judge me severely because of many technical details in notes.

Miss_Piggy, Argus, uleko, fartash, Art_R, ellis49, Luis52, jaycee, gerbilratz, nglen, izler, Adanac, fiyo, ramthakur, meyerd, jmp, Silvio2006, peter_stoeckl, fyapici, SelenE, Royaldevon, CeltickRanger, jusninasirun, eqshannon, saguzar, Juyona, mlines, haraprasan, marhowie, oscarromulus, goldyrs, Maite, maurydv has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Maite: Thanks a lot.Alex99 1 05-29 06:59
To eqshannon: "Blue things"Alex99 1 03-29 11:23
To lousat: Correct ID. Thanks.Alex99 1 03-20 09:36
To fyapici: Many thanks.Alex99 1 03-20 09:21
To Miss_Piggy: "Purple obsession"Alex99 1 03-20 09:18
To matatur: Sunlight and BG.Alex99 1 03-20 09:16
To uleko: Subject distance.Alex99 1 03-18 08:10
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Alexei
This one is going straight to were it belong – To my theme called "My purple obsession" This is a very nice piece of work, you have done well to accomplish this fine image with the use of the flash. A sharp image with flawless clarity and detail. The textures on the flower are amazing. It looks as though you have sprinkled stardust on it. As I said in my intro page, I do not have much knowledge of the technical aspects of photography, and find myself many times shooting without the flash, as I prefer the natural light, but I am sure all of this will come with time and I'll know off hand when is a flash light necessary. Thanks for sharing.
Enjoy your day.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-18 7:41]

Hello Alexei,
You have the gift of combining the beauty of a macro shot with the technical considerations behind it. I personally would not have guessed that you took this fine image using both flash and natural sunlight: I would have thought that this was only ambient light.
However the result is excellent and is a beautiful piece of advice that we must not forget the usefulness of flash even when the ambient light is good, especially when taking macros like this fine close-up of a Speedwell flower.
Thanks for sharing both this beauty and your expertese,
Best wishes, Ivan

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-18 7:57]
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Hello Alexei,
Lovely macro of this little Veronica with beautiful stripy petals. Great sharpness and beautiful colours. I like the little bud opening next to it as well. How close were you when you captured this? I think you've done very well using a diffuser on the flash!
TFS and kind regards, Ulla

Hello Alexei
Very intersting spices to shoot,
Perfect lighting,colors and composition,
Superb shot my friend.


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  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-03-18 8:25]

Hi Alexie , another beautiful photo , I like how the stamina of the flower almost looks like diamonds , very nice .I also like the deeper field in this photo.

the technical details in your notes are great , very helpful. but I must admit to being rather jealous that you are taking pictures of flowers in your garden , I still have some cold weather to wait out before spring flowers are smiling up at me ... :-)

Hi Alexei,
you managed well with your exposure, with your settings, F32 ad 1/200sec normally the foreground use to be hard both in light and contrast and the BG black, but here we don't see this, it looks good, it must be your ring flash with a diffuser, maybe a wee to much light but that's a minor nit.
Well done, old friend.

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  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-18 9:21]

Hola Alexei.
Please Translate.
Creo que la mejor forma de aprender en fotografia es probar la capacidad de las camaras, lentes, flash. ect. forzando estos elementos a su maxima capacidad y luego observar los resultados como Tu lo has hecho aqui. Y las conclusiones a las que se llega dejan muchas enseñanzas en este hermoso pasatiempo. El uso del flash es toda una tecnica aparte, que debemos aprender para lograr mejores resultados en nuestra fofografia.
Un saludo Mi fino amigo.

Hello Alexei,
Many thanks for the full information regarding the use of flash, gain a valueable knowdedge for a further use on the flash! thanks once again!
As for the image, the result is perfect with the natural outlook on the flower and plant!
very sharp with good colour and details
a pleasing image with thanks
best regards

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-03-18 9:44]

Hi Alexei,

Very pretty flowers with wonderful colors and textures. I think that once again you sprinkled it with stardust. I love seeing the opened flower with the still unopened one. Wonderful green leaves and a wonderful composition.


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  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-03-18 10:15]

Hi Alexei

A great shot - good composition and POV with wonderful colour and detail. Well observed and captured.


Hello alexei,
i don't use flash, i brought available light.
The veronica is good of sharpness with beautiful colors.
My flower that i posted yesterday and today has been no flash and natural light.

Regards Gert

nice close up, but the flash is too strong, TFS Ori

Excellent image, the usage of flash and daylight had brought out so much detail and clarity. I have enjoyed your technical notes and do agree with you about diffusing the light rather than a direct flash. I have experimented a few times, but your images are far superior, but I will be getting a macro ring light soon. This is the sort of standard of image I would wish to emulate.

Превосходное изображение, использование вспышки и дневной свет принесли из so much детали и ясности. Я наслаждался вашими технически примечаниями и соглашаюсь с вами о отражать свет rather than сразу вспышкой. Я экспериментировал немного времен, но ваши изображения далеко главны, но я буду получать macro свет кольца скоро. Это будет вид стандарта изображения, котор я пожелал бы подражать.

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-03-18 11:27]

Hi Alexei. This is a very good close up of this beutiful flower. First the colours are spot on and fine detail with very sharp focusing. anice POV/DOF. The lighting is spot on. so very well done TFS.

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  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-03-18 12:15]

hello my friend
here is educational and informative presentation for us
composition, POV, BG, DOF, lighting, colours, sharpness, details and note are great

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-03-18 13:00]
  • [+]

Hi Alex ,i take many many pics of the Veronica persica,i must to give you my best compliments beacuse you take the very very perfect colour of this this little flower,excellent sharpness too,have a nice day,Luciano

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  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2008-03-18 13:45]

Ola Alexei
Bonita foto com boa luz e contraste.A nitidez ficou excelente.

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-03-18 14:48]

Hello Alexei,
Exquisite image with amazing details and colors coming from your superb camera work. Thank you for your great talent Alexei.

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  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2008-03-18 15:17]

Excellent shot,Alexei!
Colors,sharpness and details are great! TFS

Again, you have achieved great results by using you flash mechanism with dexterity, Alexei.
The blue flower looks divine and beautiful in this thoughtfully composed shot.
Thanks and regards.

Hi Alexei,
it's not a "purple obsession" or an expertise on Veronica that attracts me to that picture but your comments on the technique.The result of your experiments is convincing. Thanks for all,Alexei.
Best regards

Hola Alexei, un buen trabajo con el encuadre pero no tanto con las luz y los colores. Veo que por tu fria zona ya empiza a trabajar la naturaleza.
Un abrazo: J. Ignasi

Hello Alexei,

Crisp picture of these tiny flowers. Good composition. Great colours. As far as it is possible, I prefer to use the natural light. I use flash when it is no sun light, but I use flash too when the sun is too strong to reduce the superficy of the shadow and the contrasts.


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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-19 4:34]

Hello Alexei,
very nice image of this miniscule flower!
2:1 is very close-in and there is so much detail here!
Beautiful vibrent colours and excellent lighting.
Great composition.
Brilliant DOF as well.
Well done my friend,

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  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-03-19 13:45]

Bonjour Alexei
Très belle prise macro, très beau sujet, excellente netteté et couleurs, technique exemplaire pour un rapport 2:1
Merci pour le partage de ton savoir.
Amicalement Robi

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  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2008-03-19 14:44]

Hi Alexei,
Boosted for your wonderful macros I've made in incursion into the milimetre world :-) This is another sharp, detailled, well illumited photo of a tiny and beatiful flower.
TFS and best regards mf,
José M.

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  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-03-19 16:55]

Hi Alexei
wonderfull image
very naturel color and sharp
well done.

Dear Alexei,
brilliantly lighted, well composed, extraordinarily well detailed, very clear portrait of this Veronica blossom. Just the perfect amount of flash to get perfect light for a maximum depth of field without any unnatural impression. I enjoy and admire your scientific experimental approach on the use of equipment. Thank you!
My best regards,

Hi Alexei,

Your experiments are always so interesting and useful. I never used flash until I had this flash extender at Christmas. I think that in case of bird’s pictures it works pretty well by bringing out some details in plumage and catch-light in the eye. I agree that when natural lightning is enough, it is not necessary but during this winter we have here, lighting is not good in general. Even in bright sunlight, I have seen the difference between picture when flash didn't fired and the others. I think that more the subject is far; the better the flash (extender) will work.

This is another beautiful picture of this delicate specimen with very nice composition, details, colors and DOF. I think that in this case, flash wasn't necessary indeed :) Thanks,

Privet Alexei
If I must be honest, I have to say that I don't like use fill flash. I have just discovered a method to use the light different ways. For example I choose a flower in shadow area (in a sunny day ofcourse) and I use a mirror to reflect the sunlight on the flower directly. Flash light causes many sharpen points on the object, but sunlight does never. Another way is using a portable lamp. A basic lamp but it has to be made by LEDs. LED Lamps light is like nearly sunlight. If I didn't find a shadow area I use my body or a case or a thing to make a shadow area around of the target flower.

But at the moment we have a big enemy: WIND! The wind never let us to take a sharp and best focused photos. Some times I prepare all my adjustmes and press the shutter but What I see? There is'nt any thing on the screen of my camera :) The wind has blow and took the target object away :) The while fill flash helps us very friendly. But the bright points on the flower don't appear goodish. Thus I prefer a strong portable lamp than flash.

And whatabout the photo... I see here a habitual high quality like all your others. Main object almost in best focus and the flower was very well seperated from blury background. You deserve all the best compliments. And I like your lesson-like notes.

With my best wishes.

A fine focus indeed, regarding the high reproduction ratio Alexei, and fine colors too. I wonder whether you took another macro shot under similar conditions but without a flash, maybe rendering the BG darker and more contrasty. I think there were enough natural illumination there for the flowers and their leaves...

Hi Alexei, an other great lesson from you and an other splendid flower with wonderful colors, fantastic details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

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  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-03-20 7:18]

Hi Alexei,
I like reading your detailed technical notes. Using a diffuser with the flash was a good choice here. Focus, sharpness, details and the isolation of the flowers from the background are very nice. TFS

Hello Alexei,

Wow, the details on this are very good.
I know what you mean about it looking a little flat, that's what makes the flower look more like a painting. However, the succulent leaves certainly have roundness and depth. This is a photograph of contrasts!

Very good composition!

kind regards,
Bev :-)

hello Alexei

lovely macro photo shot with a excellent focus, great luminosity,
excellent POV and DOF, lovely colours and softness of the colours,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS


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  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-20 19:08]

Very sharp shot, maybe a bit OE but very well done anyway, thanks!


Hello Alex. You are skillful with flowers. Stunning image in paper sharpness. The petals are brilliantly exposed under nice lighting. Well done and best regards. Jusni

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  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-03-20 21:11]

Hi Alexei,
Outstanding shot of these beautiful flowers with lovely colours and immaculate sharpness. Very very skilful use of flash lighting and exposure control. It really is an education and I am indebted to you for teaching me such precise technique (though I doubt I can put it to use with my limited gears and amateurish photography). Excellent top POV and very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hi Alexei,

Technically perfect shot. Excellent coloured presentation. Picture is good arrected. Well done. tfs. Stev

I like how you're looking inot the various angles of photography - studying! I can learn a lot from your work. Thanks!

Purple is actually blue:-) But then who counts...? A wonderful addition to my theme of blue things...and an extremely nice use of lighting for clarity and no supersaturation nor washed out look to it...Very professionally accomplished!

Hi Alexei,
Suuuppperbbb macro on this tiny flower, we have a species almost the same here, maybe introduced? Details are incredible, the flash light adds an effect a bit strange, different as you see with sunlight.

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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-03-22 19:07]

Hello Alexei,

Very nice colors, even with flash is stunning, very nice composition and sharpness


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  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-03-23 12:11]

Hola amigo Alexei,
bella definición y hermosos colores,
buen trabajo comn el flash...
magnífica macro y links

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  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2008-03-23 15:30]

Hi Alex, Good result and a most informative note with your valued comments on use of flash in a macro situation. The subject is clear and well iluminated. TFS. Murray.
PS You are lucky to have spring around the corner, we feel autumn now!

Hello Alexei,
Nice macro shot at this tiny flower. The flash reveals the beauty very well. Thanks for sharing this wonderful picture.

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  • sayat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 280 W: 0 N: 258] (1457)
  • [2008-03-25 7:27]

Great light management Dear Alexei. Veronica is a favorite of mine and this is one of the best veronica shots. A little bir overexposed to me, but a fantastic shot indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-25 8:38]

Hello Alexei

Wonderful macro photography.
The lighting effect is wonderful,with amazing sharp focus and details.
The colours are vibrant and well saturated.


Hi Alexei,
A nice capture of this beautiful flower. Yes the flash did worked well here. Very good details and a fine composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello Alexei,
I agree, flash should be used sparingly, or not at all for the best results. But in macro, it's most always neccessary to achieve the level of detail one desires.
Your results here are very good. Some would argue that the color or "look" is not entirely natural..It's the one single "glaring" drawback IMHO, even when flash is expertly applied.
Excellent and informative post,

Again I made a hard copy of your notes on this subject. I don't know what you are talking about.... TOO MUCH TECHNICAL stuff my understanding of photography. Tomorrow I'll have a friend explain all this to me so I can learn from you. I've told you before.... you have been my GREAT TEACHER.
Your pal from Calgary, Mario.

Hello Alexei,
Impressive details, and you reproduce the typical texture of this plant so well!
Attractive colours and a well balanced composition, and a fine 3-D feeling in the image...
Pablo -

An incredible shot, with some very fine details, Alexei!This looks so real, I feel I can touch it!

Hi alex
amazing shot great sharpness and colours and also the close view is great here
thanks a lot for your good pictures
best regards Toba

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  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2008-05-28 12:42]
  • [+]

Hello Alexei
Beautiful capture of this tiny tiny flower. As allways an excellent job full of sharp nice details. The colors are captured in all their beauty and intensity. I really love it.
Congratulations and thank you very much for sharing.
Have a great week-end dear friend.

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  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-07-10 0:58]

Hi Alexi,
Amazing colours and sharpness in this wonderful shot.

Infact i am not good at th technical side when it comes to photographing. I click what i find nice and would make a good composition.But after reading your notes, i must admit i was reminded of some of the problems that i have been having related to using flash while doing macros. I am still learning how to use other setting in my camera other than the "Auto" mode.

This composition looks excellently colourful, sharp and with great colours and contrasts.Excellent PoV and good DoF here with well saturated colours.
TFS & Cheers

Ciao Alexei,
stupenda composizione di questo piccolo fiore con la visione frontale e laterale, formidabile la definizione dei dettagli, ottimo l'utilizzo del flash per aggiungere luce e ottenere una maggiore DOF (è una tecnica che mi piace molto), la difficoltà è ottenere una resa perfetta anche dei bianchi, in questo caso un buon risultato.
TFS. Maurizio

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