An Artists Communion Through A Lens

Mea Culpa, Soggy Bee and Circular Polarizer

In my last post, I innocently but wrongly identified a Carpenter Bee as a Bumble Bee.  Seeing him today, after a soaking rain, raised a doubt. A Google search confirmed it.  And I found it was a male.  They can’t sting.

1. Dry Carpenter Bee: Side lit with flash, hard light, high contrast 002 28-75 + TC + flash 4638

2. Wet Carpenter Bee: Ambient, reflector fill camera left, soft light,medium contrast002 28-75 + TC + cpl 4654

Outside today was damp and overcast.  I used the same camera setup as last time except instead of flash, I took a small collapsible reflector. I’d never tried to light Butterflies et al with a reflector. Also, I added a Circular Polarizer Filter to my lens to cut down glare.  I rarely use one but it’s a great help with glare from wet vegetation.

Exposure was a little tricky.  The heavy overcast was 3 stops from a Sunny 16 Day or EV 12.  I was also losing two more stops from the teleconverter and the Circular Polarizer.  Usually not a problem with an f2.8 lens but I also needed a small aperture, like f16, for a usable Depth of Field.  If I set my lens for f16, I was effectively getting f32. My ISO would be too high and shutter speed too slow for a good image.

The practical solution was an exposure triangle compromise, taking a little from each variable to get a workable exposure.  I set aperture for f5.6 (f11 with TC & filter), pushed ISO to 1600 and set shutter to 1/180.  To get more DoF, I stood farther away. That trade off was getting less of the subject to fill the frame. It’s a balancing act.  ISO 1600 is okay for a good print, I can generally get a sharp image at shutter 1/180.

The Bee was where I left him the day before.  Which surprised me. He was barely moving so I could use the reflector to add some fill, a little sparkle.  I was careful not to blow out the white part between the eyes.  That’s how you know its a male.

Photo gear used in this post: Pentax K5IIs camera, Tamron 28-75/2.8 lens,  Kenko 1.5x TC, 67mm Circular Polarizer Filter, small Impact Collapsible Reflector

Editing Tools used in this post: Adobe CC2015, Nik Collection, Pixel Genius Photokit, Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet, Pantone Huey Pro

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