In Memoriam–the tongue that killed my flash

Bombus impatiens Cresson

Male Common Eastern Bumblebee, Bombus impatiens Cresson

While this bee was going through a re-shoot, the lighting unit, a Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash, failed on the right side. This image is cropped from the previous 150 image focus-stacked image that I was not satisfied with, but I will share it now because I may not have the opportunity to re-shoot again this winter. I was attempting to show the tongue length with this stack, which is quite amazing but probably not unusual for bumblebees. I have used Lightroom to clean-up grit and dust, but most of the pollen grains remain.

The twin-flash was a used unit, purchased for $500 in 2010. I did not use it heavily, so it’s disappointing that it did not last longer. That is the problem when purchasing reconditioned or used equipment: outside condition is not necessarily an indicator of how often it has been actuated. The MT-24EX is not the perfect macro flash unit by any means, but with adaptations, it worked well when shooting at higher magnification with the MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens.  I will not replace the flash ($900 new!), but will set-up another more affordable system for the coming season.


(Photographed with white-box diffusion. Stacked in Zerene Stacker. Bee provided by Gary Anweiler)

This entry was posted in Apidae, Canada, Equipment, Flash, Focus stacking, Insect, Lenses, macro, MP-E65, photography, Prairie, Season, Winter and tagged , , , , , , .


  1. Gary Anweiler 11 January, 2015 at 4:40 PM #

    very NICE Adrian!

    • Adrian 11 January, 2015 at 6:03 PM #

      Thanks Gary! Couldn’t have done it without your specimen donations!

  2. Kurt 11 January, 2015 at 11:17 PM #

    Nice shot and stack, Adrian. Very long tongue, indeed.

    Sorry to hear about your twin flash. I bought mine brand new and it failed on me at least twice, so I think Canon’s twin flash is just not very reliable.

    • Adrian 11 January, 2015 at 11:51 PM #

      I’m going to LED lights for focus-stacking from now on, and two 270EXII’s for outdoor macro. A couple of months still to get a new rig set-up before spring bug-season!

      • Kurt 12 January, 2015 at 12:24 AM #

        I am using only 1x 270EX now for my macro shots :). Considering a Nissin i40 too as we speak. 4xAA batteries, yet small and lightweight.

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