Macro photography with the Fujifilm GFX 50S

for this video we've come to the Sawtooth botanical garden in Ketchum Idaho We are here to meet Thomas Shahan, a macro photography enthusiast who specializes in taking pictures of insects and spiders

Thomas will be giving us tips on how to pose and light insects and bugs close up using the Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format camera and the 120mm f/4 macro lens Thomas is very enthusiastic about bugs and insects 'hey we got some Rollie pollies' I on the other hand have much to learn 'So that thing can eat a mouse?' 'Yeah' We're working today with the Fujifilm GFX 50s, a lightweight and relatively compact 50 megapixel medium format camera The 50s offers excellent image quality and a lot of resolution We're mostly going to be shooting with the GF 120 millimeter f/4 macro – a handy optically stabilized prime lens with an excellent close focus capability

Apart from the camera and lens we're using a fairly simple setup Some colorful sheets of cardboard for backgrounds, one main flash and two smaller slave flashes on flexible stands for close-up lighting Thomas also brought along some homemade flash diffusers to soften the light Our first subject is sneakers, a millipede 'Beautiful isn't it amazing animal? It's actually kind of a nice calming sensation just to have these waves of legs rolling through your fingers

Millipedes are surprisingly fast – to keep up we had to constantly reposition the log that sneakers was crawling on and move the slave flashes around it Thomas is bracketing focus manually by moving the camera and lens back and forth Next up is a Madagascar hissing cockroach – one of the largest species of cockroach in the world 'I actually like it on the hands for a sense of scale because the thing that's impressive about this is it's so big' Because it's so shiny Thomas has to experiment with the power output and position of the flashes 'Okay so let's drop this one to 1/32 – keep the position to where you are with your hands' Even shinier is the Bess Beetle

If you hold them up to your ear Bess Beetles stridulate and they can kinda make a little screaming sound' This is where flash diffusers really come in handy 'Since it's so glossy, bringing them in as close as possible will give us more broad catch lights' The Bess Beetle is only around an inch long but the 50 megapixel resolution of the GFX means that we can capture the tiniest details on its back After the bugs we went into the greenhouse to shoot some more evolved organisms – or at least some slightly bigger ones

While we were there, as well as stills we also shot some HD video This is Melon – she looks like a baby dragon but she's actually an eyelash crested gecko Thomas took her outside for a quick portrait against the evening sky, using fill-flash to balance the natural light 'That's great thank you all' All of these animals have made great subjects, but the star of our shoot today is Hildegard, a tarantula

Hildegard has led a very sheltered life 'She has never been with a male as far as I know' With diffuse sunlight coming into the greenhouse we removed the flashes in favor of natural light and a higher ISO sensitivity

Thomas got close to capture all the detail in what I now know to call a cephalothorax Female tarantulas are sometimes known to eat their partners – lucky escape for Thomas 'Well thank you that was wonderful' 'Thank her – it was her decision to be good!' After spending a day watching Thomas work I felt like I'd learned a lot And here he is with some tips for successful macro photography

'First, don't worry if your lens can't focus super close If you're working with a high megapixel camera you can always crop in afterwards Turn off AF and focus manually and bracket focus by moving your camera slightly back and forth If you're shooting handheld, a stabilized lens and a high ISO sensitivity will help get a sharp photo Experiment with color and contrast – simple colored backgrounds can be really effective

Finally, just take a lot of pictures Macro photography is often tough – increase your odds by taking more photos 'That's twelve thousand ISO' 'Welcome to the future' For DPReview I'm Barney Britton Thanks for watching