This is a hand held macro of a mayfly sub-imago made with a 105mm macro lens and about 6" inches of extension tubes.
It’s impossible to hand hold the camera steady and in focus with that much magnification. But if you use manual focus and shoot six frames a second or more…every once in a while you get one properly focused. A monopod helps too. I usually end up discarding 99 out of 100 exposures. Or more.
Tripods and staging stands and light tents just aren’t practical for insect field work, because they so often only stay put for a second or two. You have to act quickly, if at all. Sometimes you just need to get lucky.
This insect is only about 8mm or 9mm long. 5/16" or 3/8" inch.
How do others do it? (more than 1:1 magnification in the field?)