Close Up future Monarch butterfly

I tried some suggestions from another post. I used my 90D and the 180 macro although I added a 25 extension tube just to see how that would work. I used a off camera flash with a diffuser just above him. 1/320 F/16 iso 320 I was on a tripod. This is cropped quite a bit because just below a pretty bad leaf was out of focus, also the right side of the photo was cropped out because it was out of focus even though I was aligned about as much as I could to try and get focus all the way across. I can go back and try again because there are quite a few around now. Any advice welcome

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Dean, I am envious that you have monarch caterpillars this time of the year, and sounds like plenty of them, if you can go back and reshoot! None around here in NC, I’m afraid, not in January. I don’t know if it is the extension tube, or the crop that is causing it, but it doesn’t seem quite as sharp as you would expect with camera mounted on tripod, and shutter speed at 1/320, and f-stop at f16. It doesn’t look bad in the smaller version, but when I enlarged it, that is when it didn’t look as tact sharp as you would want it. I have the 180 mm lens, but I haven’t tried any extension tubes on it, so have no idea if it would cause any issues. The lighting turned out pretty good, I think. There is a bit of blown highlights on he head, but not bad. Maybe pull back the flash just a bit, or even use f19 might improve that. I am enjoying seeing your caterpillars this time of the year! If you do try this again, I think I would try it without the extension tube, or even try a smaller one as well, and see if that improves the sharpness.
PS - I meant to tell you, I viewed your website, and I am quite impressed with your many wonderful photos. I will continue to view them. You have taken some really great macro shots. I haven’t gone any further than that.

I think I will go back and try again tomorrow. The extension tube allows focus closer but it is really not designed for a macro, so it may have softened the image. Not really sure. Going to try some testing at home

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Dean, adding extension tubes is a good way to get some extra magnification with the caveat that you don’t exceed the magnification design limits of the lens, although it can be hard to find the design parameters for a lens (they used to give those for macro lenses…). You can do a quick estimate of the magnification gain by adding the amount of the extension to the lens focal length and dividing by the focal length, in this case (180 + 25)/180 = 1.14, which isn’t much extra magnification. Your 90D with it’s 1.6 crop factor gets you a lot more magnification, of course, the trade off is reduced dof. I agree that in the large view, this cat. is not sharp. The doubling/elongation of the white spots suggests motion blur, but that doesn’t fit with your shooting parameters… The details here are striking, especially those orange “specks”. The contrast looks very high, so you might want to turn down your flash a stop or even 2.

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Thanks Mark. I am going out this morning to try again with the information I got from this thread