Let's talk about my macro setup.
To take the flower photos I setup three lighting sources. Top and side 40 watt tungsten bulbs and a front 150w natural flood light, further away and lower.
You would think with all of this lighting the photos would come out horribly overexposed. Not a problem. The light is going through more glass, a longer lens, and a narrow aperture so we'll take all of it that we can get.
The backdrop was a black fleece jacket which I tried not to illuminate. Flowers were set away from the backdrop to avoid shadows. The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used a Nikon ML-L3, wireless remote to trigger it.
You'll notice that it's on padded carpet. I realized that this might be a problem but hoped to compensate by not touching the camera shutter or moving during shots.
Even if I'm across the room remotely triggering the camera mechanisms are still moving and believe it or not that movement vibrates through camera body and tripod, turning the photos a little blurry around the edges. I hung weights from the tripod to anchor it firmer and that seemed to fix the problem. Ideally I will photograph elsewhere in the future. You really want the camera to be rock solid.
As I mentioned earlier the 70-300mm lens and close-up attachment provides a range of focus between 16 and 28 inches. Zoomed all of the way in (300mm) you can be 28 inches from the subject and still focus. This provides more room for positioning lights and so forth. The drawback is that the depth of field is shallower and you need more light and longer exposures. In this case that is a benefit, it all depends on your goal.
For the little flower shot I choose to be further back, zoomed all the way in, with less depth of field. I wanted maximum magnification of the blossoms and no background detail. The settings were: 300mm, 800 ISO, f/20, and 0.5 seconds.
For the Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana (yellow flowers) I didn't need as much zoom but still wanted the background to be dark and featureless. So I used: 155mm, 800 ISO, f/18, and 1/15 second.
The drawback to having so little depth of field is that it doesn't take much for part of the image to be out of focus. To get both of the little blossoms in focus I turned the flower pot until each was the same distance from the lens.
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