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dalantech's avatar

Field Studio

On cold mornings when the critters are too lethargic or too wet to move I like to use this simple wood clamp to hold the perch they are on. Instead of shooting them in place and having to deal with poor angles and distracting backgrounds I can create a field studio just by cutting the perch, moving the critter to a comfortable location (like the park bench in the photo), and secure the perch with the wood clamp.

I modified the clamp by cutting the retaining rod since I don't need to hold large objects. Also this clamp has two triggers, one to control opening and the other to close it and it's easy to operate one handed.

I've used this simple "trick" to take a lot of solitary bee, and now dragonfly, images by shooting them early in the day before they've had a chance to dry out and warm off. Here are two sample photos using the field studio:


Image details
Image size
3888x2592px 3.13 MB
Canon EOS 40D
Shutter Speed
1/200 second
Focal Length
47 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
May 8, 2009, 5:33:00 AM
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deedee20382's avatar
That's a smart solution!
PhotuBug's avatar
All your photos are absolutely stunning. I hope to get a camera and lens like yours so I can even attempt something like that =D. One question though. You said that you cut their perch and clamp it. Whereabouts do you usually found these critters perching, and what on? You said that you use this trick for dragonflies and bees. If it's in the morning, shouldn't the bees be in their hive?

Anyway, thanks for the tutorial and great photos!

I hope one day I can go from my Macro filter photos to something like yours =P
dalantech's avatar
Thanks :)

There are a lot of bees (called solitary bees) that don't make hives or nests and sleep above ground by clamping onto plant stems (usually close to where they eat or mate).
PhotuBug's avatar
Thanks, I think I'll go bee hunting tomorrow morning =D
dalantech's avatar
Kjherstin's avatar
The problem is to get them to perch there. However do you do it?
dalantech's avatar
I find them perching on something and I cut the perch so I can put it in the clamp ;)
Kjherstin's avatar
aah amazing how they don't fly away afterwards. Damn you're good!
dalantech's avatar
Well they eventually do dry out, warm up, and take off. But I shoot them in the heat of the day all the way up to 7x life size. I've just been shooting them long enough to pick up on their habits so I know when, and how, to get close. Practice ;)
Kjherstin's avatar
:nod: Oh I see now. Thank you for your help
MaxiiLS's avatar
Simple and really effective.

AJGlass's avatar
Interesting. :)

You should contact Wolfcraft and let them know about your unique use of their tool. No doubt they never imagined it would be used for this purpose and would be interested to see how much it's aided you with your photography.

dalantech's avatar
Done -thanks! :)
artico's avatar
ooo, that's neat! even drowsy I'm amazed that they don't try to get away... On average, how often do you have your subjects fly away before you can get the pic?
dalantech's avatar
Happens a lot more often that getting the photo ;)
Sandy33311's avatar
And this was at 5:33 a.m.???? Haha.
dalantech's avatar
Sandy33311's avatar
Very dedicated is what it is!
dalantech's avatar
...fine line between dedicated and stupid... :D
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