Hover fly

Not hovering, but nectaring on the coreopsis flowers in my front yard. IRL it’s only about 1 cm long, but patient with my getting in its face. Not the sexiest insect in the world, but I’ve always loved hover flies. They’re cute and they will sit on your arm and do that butt wiggle thing they do. Very cute. This is the first time I’ve ever caught one in focus. When alive that is, I found some succumbed to a fungal infection and got those just fine, lol.

Specific Feedback Requested

So this was me going and playing with my new Godox flash. This time on camera and I think it looks pretty natural, but what say you?

Technical Details

Handheld - flash w/big squashy diffuser - I think it was on 1/64 or 1/32 power, something low.


LR for a bit of an exposure boost, the usual S-curve adjustment, some texture & clarity. Lots of masking to manage light throughout the image, isolating the fly, the flower and the background as needed. Topaz Sharpen to bring up detail. Square crop.


Lighting is fantastic, Kris, as is your post processing. My only wish is that someday, I just might get an image this wonderful. Nicely done.

Kris, your macro looks perfect. I wouldn’t have been able to see you used a flash, as it is not evident anywhere on the photo. The colors look very natural. One thing I like about macros is the DOF. In your image, that is precise. The focus begins to taper off just at the tip of the wings and the edge of its butt. Did you use manual or auto focus? I often find I get better results with manual focus. The diffuse background is another plus to my eyes. If I had done any similar edit, I would have cloned out the green stem on the LLC. Just a personal preference, of course. Beautiful image.

Wow, you really nailed the focus on this one, Kris. Can’t tell it’s a flash image at all. Well done.

Thanks @linda_mellor, @Egídio_Leitão & @David_Bostock - glad you like this one. I wasn’t going to post it, but then decided to since I’m so new with flash.

I used a manual lens for macro for over a decade so I know what you mean. Now with my autofocus lens I typically use autofocus, but have focus peaking turned on as well as the ability to fine tune with the focus ring. When I turn the ring, an enlargement of the focus area comes up on the screen so I can see better. It’s pretty great.


Wonderful!! The DOF is perfect, as are the sharpness, colors and tonalities. No hint of flash – diffusers are worth all the trouble. I’m surprised you got that much DOF at f/4.5 – an advantage of the smaller sensors.

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Thanks @Diane_Miller - yeah, it’s a little sensor, but it has its strengths. Plus hover flies are such great little subjects and usually will sit still. Or fly still. I really should try to get one hovering. Oy vey!

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Kris, you are really managing the flash nicely on your macros. This looks like natural light. I think that small sensor is really a plus for macro as you are able to keep your f-stop at a lower number and still get great DOF. Great shot!

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A nicely detailed shot with a pleasing background. Well done.

Thanks @Shirley_Freeman & @terryb - I spent some time messing with the flash again yesterday and really, I should be writing down what I’m doing, but the consensus for some things is that I like slow-sync flash because it allows for more ambient light and helps control the flash as fill only. I compared first to second curtain and decided first curtain produced a nice result. Will keep tinkering. Now where’s my notebook?

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Kris, the details in the eyes, thorax and front parts of the wings are excellent, especially those eyes. The touches of iridescence in the wings are a nice extra. BTW, it’s magnification on the sensor that determines dof for a given f-stop and focal length. This means that a small sensor provides more magnification (mag = size on sensor/actual size), which means less dof. Your sensor come with a 2X conversion for 35mm equivalence. That means that the long axis of your sensor is 1/2 the length of 36mm or 18 mm. If your fly is 1 cm and it covers roughly 1/5 of the long axis, the your magnification is (1/5 * 1.0 cm)/(1.8 cm) = 0.11. If this were a “full frame” chip then the mag = (1/5 * 1.0 cm)/36 cm = 0.05.


It was a pretty patient little thing while feeding so I got to get close and crisp. Thank goodness for focus peaking. I’ve been using that with high-speed video and hummingbirds. Without it, I’m not sure I’d ever really know if the bird was in focus. For slo-mo movies you have to focus manually and damn, those little birds are quick!