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Tip of the Month

Bogen Base for Magic Arm and Plamps
for macro photography

October 2009

leaf bug

One of the biggest problems in doing macro photography is dealing with subject movement. At high magnifications even the slightest movement seems great, so focus and stopping the action can be difficult. Recently, on a walk near our home I spied a golden cluster of a bug nymph on a small shrub a few or so off the ground. it was late and I didn't have my camera with me, but I promised myself I'd return the following day.

I did, but by mid-morning a gentle breeze stirred the early September forest and the insect-covered leaf swayed discouragingly inside my viewfinder. I was using a 100mm macro lens and a twin-flash system for lighting, but in the breeze the insects kept bobbing in and out of focus. Shooting the insects was impossible.

I headed back home and gathered a couple of items -- a Bogen Base (#2939), a Bogen Articulated Arm (#2935), and two Wimberley Plamps -- to steady the plant. Placing the base with the Articulated Arm attached beneath the plant, I braced the insect's limb against this sturdy arm and most of the motion was removed. Still, the wide leaf caught the breeze and swayed slightly, so I added two Wimberley Plamps, attaching the plant-clamping end to the leaf. Doing so, I had the thin stem and broad leaf supported and braced in three different positions, and the leaf was still.

bogen basebogen base 2
The Base and Plamps attached, with the bug cluster at the tip of the
leaf, and a detail of the equipment placed on the road at the
conclusion of the shoot.

Now I was free to concentrate on photographing the insects on the motionless leaf, and I experimented with the lighting by taking the twin flashes off the lens mount and holding them at varying angles, including having one beneath the leaf to create a back-lighted effect.

Although the Bogen bases are not well known and used too often, I use my set of three quite frequently when I'm using flash, or requiring a brace, as the bases are built for attaching a Bogen Magic Arm or Articulated Arm.

Previous Tips, July 2009 onward

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Archived Tips of the Month
prior to July 2009
Most of my original Tips of the Month for the last several
years are available through this link. The 'look' is from my
original web site, although if I ever have enough time I might redo these pages to match the new web site But that's not a high priority.