Lens Attaching Macro Capture Jar
On the day I ordered my Laowa Venus Ultra Macro Lens I began thinking about how I’d go about capturing insects with my X-T1 ultra macro rig. Whilst I’ve always dabbled in macro, ultra-macro is a step further for me and out of my normal photographic comfort zone but I’m determined to master it and to that end my brain is pondering. My aim is to capture insects and mini critters on camera in all their resplendent brilliance. So let me quickly outline my views on nature photography: Firstly, I would always prefer to capture anything in it’s natural environment, just “as is”. Secondly, I’m a huge animal lover and I wish no harm on any critter. I’d rather miss the shot than surround the poor thing with alien liquid, force it to walk through sticky crap or reduce it’s body temperature via my freezer’s cool box. Some may call me a tree hugger but I believe firmly in causing no harm to anything I photograph. As a young lad I shot animals with a gun. Now I shoot animals with a camera and no harm will come to anything I point a lens at. Now some critters are more communicative than others when it comes to keeping still. Those with wings will surely be extra painful (as a pilot myself my wife agrees with this one..) so how might I carefully and harmlessly restrict an insect’s movements? My 7 y/o and I are part of a fishing club. Fairly regularly, during the summer months, we go out and capture insects by the river. We ID them, count them and then release them. The results are sent to a scientific institute who use the stats to monitor our rivers. We successfully catch and release a lot of bugs so I know this is eminently possible, carefully using a jar, net or bug catcher. It was with this in mind that I began thinking of how I might photograph a skittish bug without causing it any harm? My mind turned to the jars we used as kids back in the 60s and 70s. I personally captured hundreds of bugs and released them all unharmed so how could this simple method help me with my new Laowa UM lens? Well, what if the capture jar could attach to the front of my lens with the correct working distance? I could carefully scoop a bug, attach the jar to my lens, wait for him/her to calm and then shoot away! I was sure this had already been done and I could just purchase one off eBay but to my surprise Google found zilch. OK, time to get creative! I’m an avid cook so I quickly jumped into my spice cupboard. I was sure there was a plastic jar in there and sure enough there were two!
The above was the larger of the two but the slightly smaller “Waitrose – A Handful Of Mushrooms” container proved a real God send. Why? Well, it just happened to be the perfect size for the Meike FC-311 ring flash adapter. When I tried to push it into the adapter it fit like a glove and sat there perfectly tight! The above jar was close to 70mm, 8mm to big. That said, using an old filter from eBay, you could easily remove the glass and glue the front of the filter frame to the lid of the jar and off you go. With things going my way with the slightly smaller jar I didn’t need to, so a quick soak of the label and a cloth with some “Goo-Gone” and the smaller one looked like this:
The lid needed the centre removing, of course, which I did with my trusty Dremel Tool:
The jar is 62mm in diameter (at the opening) and 115mm in height. With of without the ring light attached (but using the ring light adapter) it pushes in firmly to provide this:
I can now easily and quickly capture a bug, photograph it and then return it to nature completely unharmed. I’ve not yet used it but I’d also bet I can keep the bug in it’s natural environment or use all kinds of backgrounds and colour generators to gain the exact background I’m after. Can’t wait to try this completely free mod out! So, what does a jar of dried mushrooms cost from Waitrose or Tesco? £1.79. About $2.50 in Yankee Dollars.