Camera Flash set up for close-up Photography

My Basic Tool Kit
3My basic tool kit - a single flash mounted on a home-made bracket. The Nikon SB-23 was one of the smallest TTL flash units. It is connected to the camera’s hot shoe via a dedicated flash cord. A 105mm macro lens on 27.5mm extension tube is the set-up I most often use when stalking butterfly size insects in the field.

This is my Dual Flash set-up
2This is my dual flash set-up. It uses the old Vivitar 102 and M16 manual flash units. The flashes connect to the camera via a 3-way PC adapter. The base plate of the bracket is attached to a rotating 52.5mm extension tube. With the 60mm macro lens shown here, the magnification range is 1:1 to 2;1. I switch to this set up to capture small insects from honey bee to house fly in size.

Hi Tech Configuration
1Hi tech configuration uses a single off-axis flash in combination with a ring light. Ring flash gives a lovely diffuse light when used as a source of fill along with a brighter source of illumination such as the sun. In this set-up the flashes connect to a TTL computer and battery pack carried in a shoulder bag. A blue plastic filter taped over the off axis light is used to add a blue cast to spectral highlights such as insect wing and eye reflections.