Wing, helicopter, and “L” stories voting reminder

The “L” Stories voting round is underway and it’s a tight race. If you want to participate, you can find links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge L-Stories” HERE.<<<Link Just think; you could be the deciding vote in an epic battle for . . . well, just for the fun of it, really. We don’t actually win anything.

Clicking on the above link will take you to the post with the poll where you can cast your vote. The post also contains links to the individual stories. After voting, readers can — if so moved — spread the news about the story to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . wing<<Link and helicopter (seed)<<Link . . .

On the left, the wing of a Cicada.<<Link
On the right, a maple seed (I think).

Here’s a view of the pair’s other side . . .

I’ve had those in a little dish since last year, and just yesterday I got the opportunity to do some macro work.

They don’t look anything alike, and one is more annoying than the other . . . scratch that; they can both be annoying but in different manners.

Why did it take so long? Well, I lead a busy life. plus, I don’t have a dedicated studio, so doing this kind of thing requires me to set up a mini-studio and it’s a LOT of work.

Almost like a professional, no? That takes almost ten minutes to set up, so you can see why I don’t do it often.

For the photographers out there, let me explain the setup (none of the links are affiliate links — meaning, I don’t get anything for linking them here and I also don’t know if everything is still available):

The big white cube is a CowboyStudio 30-Inch Photo Soft Box Light <<Link I find this a very useful tool for photographing objects and controlling the light and reflections. The beauty of it is that it folds down flat into a 14-inch circular package. 

The lights are the Neewer 3 Packs Bi-color 660 LED Video Light with Stand and Softbox Kit.<<Link The current price is $100 more than what I paid last year for the same set-up, so I’m glad I bought them then.

They are adjustable for both intensity and color. Basically, they are panels of white and yellow LEDs. They are not as powerful as true studio lights, but as I’m not a professional, they work just fine. Besides, I have two flash units I can use (one is on the camera).

Some might wonder about what’s inside the softbox . . .

So, three things . . . The multicolor panels that come with the box are nice, but because they are folded, they show the creases. If they are sufficiently far back from the subject — or I’m shooting with a shallow depth of field {gag} — it’s not a problem . . . but neither of those two things are true in my world.

Here, I’m shooting ISO 100 and f/18-to-f/22 . . . meaning, I easily capture the details of the background.

I get around the issue by using rigid art/foam boards as a platform (and background), in this case, black. Of course, the foam board has a texture, so I have a couple of things I use to further control the background. One of them is that circular metal object

What you see there is an 8-inch candle holder I bought at an antique shop specifically for this purpose. I sanded it down, and then put about six layers of matte black spray paint on it. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a paint that is totally devoid of reflections (I’m still looking) but this is close enough for what I’m doing.

I don’t remember where I got the little clip, but I have two of them and they are very handy for holding small objects.

“What’s that object?” you ask. Well, remember this?

“What’s that?” — No. 1 — the remnants of a clematis flower.

This is what happens when it fully dehydrates . . .

That’s right . . . while I had the set-up in place, I also photographed a bunch of rocks I found interesting, a bunch of leaves, and a few of those clematis flower seeds. All stuff coming up in future posts.

One last thing from that set-up . . . the table. It’s a Keter Folding Compact Adjustable Workbench Sawhorse Work Table<<Link 

I will sing the praises of this table to the four winds. I own four (Costco used to carry them for $45 each).The version I own is not that brand, and it doesn’t have as many attachments accessories (but I could buy them), and the legs don’t extend, but none of that lessens their utility.

I use them for when I have to cut wood, hold stuff I’m working on, as a temporary work surface in the yard or around the house . . . and for my photography set-up.

Check out the video in the listing to see how they work.

OK, then . . . oh, one more thing . . . I also own a set of Xit XTETN Auto Focus Macro Extension Tube Set for Nikon SLR Cameras.<<Link

These are used to shorten the focusing distance of a lens so that you can get very close when shooting macros. I seldom use them, but in line with having gone through the ten-minutes bother of setting this up, I brought them out.

What can you do with those?

I hope you enjoyed this post and hope you are interested in reading the stories and voting. But, no worries if the latter isn’t true, and sorry if the former is true.

You can see the full-size photos in the SmugMug Gallery HERE<<<Link Or, you can click on the individual photos for a larger (but not-full-size) view, or just scroll through the gallery below:

I know some (mighty few) people miss my long posts . . . but, if you are one of the few, there are many posts worth revisiting. THIS POST from 2017, for example.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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