Tonight's 15 minute photo shoot started with me trying a semi-educated manual setting, getting an all black photo. Whoops. Then I turned the flash on and got an overexposed photo even at 1/32 flash power. But then I adjusted the exposure compensation to -3.0 and there it was. Crazy. Easy. Fun! (I only attached the 10X macro attachment which got me about 4 inches from my subjects - I could have added another 4X macro attachment - incredible.) I know the photos are not perfect, but to me they're definitely close enough.
As you can see I tried several different angles and arrangements of the colored pencils figuring I would like one best. Nope, no favorite. I did a bit of Photoshop editing to the top photo, changing contrast and playing with brightness and color saturation to give it a more painterly look that I liked. Also, in retrospect I should have switched to a more neutral background rather than the red background I had in place. I suspect the colors might have stood out more in the bottom picture if I had done that.