On my night walk yesterday evening I came across some rather handsome done beetles, known as かなぶん in Japan. I decided to go back tonight armed with my tripod, macro lens and flash to see if I couldn’t grab some shots of my shiny, metallic beetle friends.
Using the Panasonic 45mm f2.8 macro lens stopped down to f10 and the FL-36R flash, I positioned myself around a bush illuminated by a streetlamp. I knew from the previous evening that it would turn itself off around 9.30pm, so I didn’t have long.
Fortunately, the beetles were slow and many of them not moving at all. There were a number of them active though, flying around clumsily and bashing into the light with their distinctive droning sound. Also present was my arch foe, the mosquito. I’m like honey on a stick to these things and I suffered no fewer than a dozen bites on my walks yesterday and today. I bloody hate the things >.<.
As I was positioning my specimen to photograph, another kanabun beetle decided to bombard me from above, leaking an ink-black gooey substance all over my white shirt. Beetle blood? Or perhaps beetle crap? Either way, it stunk! Thanks, kanabun.
Although hot, itchy from bites and frustrated, I kept on shooting until the lamp went out and my camera couldn’t focus anymore. I had stupidly forgot to bring a light to aid focus, so I packed up and went home. I managed to get a few good shots though, despite the conditions. Most of these shots were focus stacked and aligned in photoshop, which enabled me to use two or more pictures with different parts of the beetle illuminated.
I only have one flash and two hands, so it was exceedingly tricky to properly illuminate the bugs and press the shutter at the same time. The wireless flash mode on the E-P3 worked like a charm though, with all exposures spot on :).