The more time I spend hunched over, looking for small movements that will give away the location of my next subject, the more interesting things I get to see. It’s a small world but it can be a dangerous place.
Just take the shot to the left here, I was really thrilled when I first saw this little guy. Maybe I’m just a bit macabre, but there’s something about seeing the everyday drama taking place in this little world all around us. When I first saw these two (let’s call them dinner and prey), they flew off before I could take any shots. I continued looking after other things to shoot for a while and suddenly I spotted them again. This time I was more lucky and they sat still for quite a while, giving me ample time to make sure I got at least one shot with the all important eye in focus. As always, these images are best viewed larger in my flickr (links at the bottom).
You all know my setup by now (if you don’t then shame on you, go and read my other macro posts) and there were no changes this time. As you can see, the settings I used (1/200, f16, iso 200) allowed for some ambient to register and keep the background from going black, one of many benefits you get from the sun when shooting these kind of subjects.
It was a sunny day (as noted) without too much wind, making it a good day to go hunting. I tried some new hunting grounds this time as well and I’ll definitely be back for more. I even had some luck with spiders, the one to the left being my favourite. It’s not a very big spider – really wish we had some bigger ones around here – but he made up for it by being a good poser. I was down on my belly for this shot but I seem to have forgotten to use his willingness to pose to get a shot straight from the front as well, have to remember to work more actively on the composition and try different angles when I actually get a bug who sits still long enough. I quite like shooting bugs on the ground, compared to ones sitting on leaves or grass. You eliminate the problem of wind and, as long as you don’t mind getting dirty, you get very good support by laying down flat. The light also tends to be nicer since the background naturally comes closer to the subject. Of course, a lot of the critters I want to shoot usually fly around, teasing you with a buzz here and a buzz there, hovering over a spot for a second to make you believe they’re about to land. Sometimes they’re downright infuriating to watch.
Now, this guy wasn’t flying anywhere. This isn’t a very good shot, it’s not as sharp as I would like it to be. Even though he wasn’t flying anywhere, the faint breeze was moving the web back and forth, making it drift in and out of focus. This guy was still alive so I hung around for quite some time in the hope to see the spider come out for dinner. It was a big web so I was hoping for a big spider. Alas, there was no spider to be found so I had to settle for shooting just the food. The lack of spider aside, it’s still a good example of how dangerous the world can be when you’re small.
Another example of dangerous behaviour was the ant who managed to find his way inside my pants…ants in my pants, hehe. At first I thought it was some grass tickling my leg but then the grass bit me and I suspected it might not be grass. I wacked my leg and shook it a bit until the ant fell out. It proceeded to crawl off so I guess it survived the ordeal.
It’s time for me to get back to work here, stay tuned for more adventures.