The Dark Underbelly of Macrophotography

agrilus cyanescens jewel beetle in profile

Agrilus cyanescens is blue all over — even underneath where it is often difficult to illuminate.

Literally! It’s hard illuminating a macro subject when light is at a premium. The typical heavy-sided illumination of many of my shots shows up here (due to the position of the flash), but you can also see how the underside of the beetle is very dark, even at the front where it is closer to the flash. This uneven lighting sometimes works to good effect, while at others it is a shortcoming. Reflectors can help brighten up a darkened underside, although that may require some crafty DIY solutions. (Which are not without peril, as I proved with the circular aluminum foil reflector and resulting cartoonish “googly-eyed” jumping spider photos that I “achieved.”) Twin flashes or multiple flashes are probably a safer bet for getting even illumination.

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2 thoughts on “The Dark Underbelly of Macrophotography

    1. Yes, that looks pretty nice. I do have a cheaper option in mind using a friction arm that theoretically will give me more flexibility. Probably should get going on that, test it out while the world is still covered in ice so I’m ready to go when things warm up…

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