How to Create a Refracted Macro Image
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop on Macro photography, specifically water drops with refracted images.
You can see those posts here and here. I’m by no means an expert (or even close) as I’m still practising and learning but I wanted to share with you the process and equipment you’ll need to create these images.
- Canon 7D
- Tamron 90mm Macros lens
- Vello Extension Tubes
- Canon Speedlight 580EX II
- Bower E-TTL Flash Extension Cord
- Third Hand Tools (to hold your flower, map, etc. You can find this at a hobby store).
- spray bottle with a mist spray
- a petal or stem that will hold the water droplets
- what you want refracted such as a flower or item
The set-up for this type of photography is quite simple and can be done just about anywhere. I set myself up on my kitchen table. For the photograph above I didn’t have any fresh flowers at home but I did have a fake one so I used that. It had a long stem which I twisted to create a stable base in order for the flower to sit on the table on its own.
I used a Third Hand tool to hold a Eucalyptus stem in place, directly in front of the flower. I then sprayed the stem with water. Now be careful on the type of spray bottle you use. The only one I had in the house only sprayed a stream of water not a mist spray. The stream is to strong to use on something more delicate such as milkweed. The Eucalyptus stem was strong enough to withhold the stream but I was only able to get a few drops on the leaves as opposed to a multitude of water droplets that a mist would create. The water drops act like a lens and anything that’s behind it gets refracted in the water drop.
As you’ll note in the equipment list above, I use my 90mm Macro lens with 3 extension tubes attached so that I can get as close as possible. The extension tubes will extend the reach of my lens so that I can get even closer to the object and be able to focus. I tried using my flash mounted onto my camera but I found I couldn’t direct the light the way I wanted. By using an off-camera flash cord it allowed me to hold my flash and direct it exactly where I wanted it. This does make it a bit tricky but I was able to balance my lens on my forearm to stabilize the camera. Getting a small table top tripod to mount the flash on is probably a good solution but until I get one this method will have to do.
You can click on the image to enlarge it. Oh and the Starbucks coffee is optional. Have fun.