Adding a flash bracket with variable extension capability to Canonâ€™s MT-24EX macro twin light flash or Nikonâ€™s wireless SB-R200 system gives the photographer significantly greater control than relying on the plastic filter ring flash mounts that come with the units. With the factory mount, you can place the flashes at various positions around the front of the lens, but are limited to that plane only; i.e. you have no ability to change the fore-aft position of the flash. Another drawback with the factory mount is that you are adding significant weight to the front of the lens, increasing strain and hindering operation of zoom/focus on some lenses. A rig like our B-Series flash bracket with multiple flash mounts solves those problems.
The flash duration of these macro flashes is relatively short (e.g., 1/1600 second on Nikonâ€™s R200), so when the flash is the main source of light, you can actually hand-hold the rig with great results. This is perfect for moving subjects like insects or flowers waving in the wind. The images on these pages were shot hand-held on a typical late afternoon near Pismo Beach with coastal breezes providing plenty of challenge to the macro flower shooter. For the inset photo (lower right), I actually focused on the stamens of the clover flower and used the flower petals to diffuse the back-light of the strobe positioned overhead and behind it. I front-lit the flower with the other flash.
The two poppy shots demonstrate the effect of using one of the strobes to light the background. Although nice for studio shots, Iâ€™m not crazy about black backgrounds for shots of flowers in nature. If Iâ€™m going to hike about looking for the perfect flower in the wild, then I prefer to have at least some hint of the environment whenever possible. I achieve this by extending one of the strobes past the flower and directing the light against the material behind the poppy. The other strobe was slightly off to the side.