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Thursday, September 15, 2005


Same spider, this time from above. I like howthe patterns are definite but subtle. Posted by Picasa

6 comments:

said...

Before I call it magic, I'd like to know the secret. The spider must be heavy compared to the grass blade. So it must be shaking/swinging with the breeze. And pray tell me, how did you shoot such a superb macro in that condition? With the excellent background blur ...

I have become a fan of you.

Hypatia said...

Now you have me blushing. :)

Okay, here's the secret(s). First and foremost (you know this one) take a gazillion pictures.

Next, when you have broken the plastic mounting hardware for your macro lens, hold it on with rubber bands.

This picture was at 1/550s, f/9.0 (max I can do with my Fujifilm S5000 camera), ISO 200 (least I can do with my camera), focal length 32mm. I'm still using the Raynox M250. All my subjects are about six inches or less from the camera -- which is good for the next bit.

So, at 2:45pm (sunset lately is at a little after 7:00pm to give you a light quality idea), I re-found this little fella in our window frame and took a few pictures there. UGH! I know why she was laying in wait there. Dirt and little flies. Not pretty.

So, used a twist tie to encourage her out of the little crevice. She was pretty big, so bent it into a "U" shape to encourage her on to the twist tie rather than further left or right into the crevice. A few minutes and I got her on the white twist tie. I took a few pictures then -- again, not pretty but I could get a good feel for the lighting.

Next, I saw a some longer grass clippings in our lawn and sent my son-bug wrangler-photographic assistant Rowan to fetch them. In the midst of transferring her to the grass clippings, she dropped in my lap and seemed to like that far better than the clippings. She was pretty defensive, but they're blind and really only able to threaten forward. I gave her a little nudge on the back of the abdomen toward the clippings.

So, I'm holding the grass clippings and spider with one hand. Then I relize I need another stabilizing rubber band onto my 49mm raynox macro lens with the other. Finally I'm able to start seriously looking at the background.

Slight changes in angle got me really different background blurs -- the tree was a distracting vertical blur, the neighbors' driveway a horizontal one. But, if you are carrying around your subject you can fix these things!

The really cool thing about these spiders is that they are most distressed about being taken out of their ambush pose. Give them a place to perch and they go right back to waiting for lunch, still as a statue -- even if you're carrying them around. (And changing the angle and getting the sunlight and shadows right...) So, it's mostly a steady hand (and two shots for every one with unacceptable blur). If I HAD to get this shot, I probably would have taped the clippings to a well anchored stick or something and used my tripod.

When you're done, bring 'em a fly and they forgive all slights and indignities.

With all the transfers and moving around it was about 25 minutes total and 46 shots including the window crevice and twist tie shots. There are about 15 I liked, but once I culled out the redundant ones and weird angles and uninteresting poses, I had two that I wanted to post.

So, that's my secret! Hope I didn't spoil the mystery. :)

: : : A R M O K S : : : said...

This is just amazing...love it...and I mean it..

said...

Fantastic. I know, each photograph has a story to tell. And this has a fascinating one ... thanks for sharing. It is much more satisfying to learn the story and appreciate the effort we spend get one correct shot.

Hypatia said...

Armoks, thanks, I love to hear it! Glad you stopped by. :)

Kousik, what's funny is that didn't realize just how involved it all was until I sat down to write about it. It was a fun and illuminating excercise.

Hypatia said...

Armoks, thanks, I love to hear it! Glad you stopped by. :)

Kousik, what's funny is that didn't realize just how involved it all was until I sat down to write about it. It was a fun and illuminating excercise.