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Old May 21, 2010, 10:37 AM   #11
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Stunning!

I found a jumping spider the other day, but the little "darling" wouldn't keep still, really agressive as well, I was trying to herd him and get him to face the camera, and even though he was only a few mm, he was rearing up and going for me.

The last critter is a moth, can't remember the name of it though, it will come to me later.

So jealous of these shots, the jumping spider is probably my "holy grail" when it comes to spiders, getting a good shot of one of those would just be awesome.
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Old May 21, 2010, 12:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Hards80 View Post
these are great. i really liked the crane fly.
Hi Hards,

Thanks!

The Crane Fly shot needed a lot of PP -- it was shot with the K-7, and as I said, it underexposes massively with the flash -- luckily, there was enough there to save.

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Originally Posted by rhermans View Post
Super series Scott,

really like your jumping spider shots
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Originally Posted by rhermans View Post
that flying caterpillar came out great - tried it a zillion times and haven't had one that good, love the squirl
Hi Ronny,

Thanks!

From the first time I saw Jumping Spider shots, I wanted to get some that I could call my own. . .

The caterpillar was really tough - The first one, a while back, I got with focus trap in available light -- this one was a lot harder -- it was windy, and I couldn't focus trap without removing the lens and taping over a contact, so I went with AF C and timing -- as I mentioned, I got lucky on the third try -- really lucky. . .

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Originally Posted by AZK6er View Post
Wow snostorm, those are Great shots, All. Looks like from what I read here is the answer to My Macro problems, it's too complicated and takes patience (which I seriously lack). I admire YOUR work that much more now.

That B-52 thing is a Fly ?? Dang.
Hi AZK6er,

Thanks!

Believe it or not, I'm a major Type A personality -- or at least was until a major heart attack in '93 when I was actually clinically dead for over 20 minutes -- talk about a wake up call!!! My doctors told me that the stress I put on myself was a major contributor since I was only 43 at the time. . . I took what they said very seriously. . .

The B-52 thing (a good name, BTW), Thanks to Tachi for pointing me in the right direction -- is a moth!


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Originally Posted by Chesslanka View Post
like all the shots, looks like the spiders like you, and are posing for you
Hi Chesslanka,

Thanks!

The jumping spiders are apparently naturally curious, but aggressive. They were mostly just going about their normal business. I really got lucky when they happened to either pause or slow down while I still had it in the viewfinder.

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Originally Posted by Frogfish View Post
Scott - firstly let me say that I for one greatly appreciate you taking the time to describe your technique and thinking behind it. I find it very interesting and thought provoking - I would like to try a long macro lens to compare to the Tammy 90 which is what I use most of the time for my macro shots.

Jumping Spider - you know I love these Great face on shot !
Crab Spider - some gorgeous bokeh you have going on there ! Recently I've found myself looking more and more to frame my subjects against a background that will provide, at least, an attractive and smooth bokeh. A very interesting creature.

Flying caterpillar ? What's going on there ? Are you throwing it up in the air
Hi FF,

Thanks!

This is a major learning process for me. I like to think "outside of the box", and am trying to disregard a lot of the "common knowledge" about macro techniques, so I thought others might be interested when I come up with something that works for me. I'm sure that none of this is totally original thinking, but it's new to me. . .

Using the F 1.7x AFA is pretty much 2nd nature to me, and I've always appreciated the advantages that it gives me. Since it's unique to Pentax, I don't think there are a lot of macro shooters using it, or other TCs with their dedicated macro lenses -- but the very limited focusing range makes AF practical for use for macros -- pretty cool -- and I need all the help I can get. . .

The "flying caterpillar" was hanging from a silk thread. I see these every spring, and walk into a number of them while wandering around. Of course, they provide a challenge to shoot one, so I always try, and sometimes get lucky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tachikoma View Post
Stunning!

I found a jumping spider the other day, but the little "darling" wouldn't keep still, really agressive as well, I was trying to herd him and get him to face the camera, and even though he was only a few mm, he was rearing up and going for me.

The last critter is a moth, can't remember the name of it though, it will come to me later.

So jealous of these shots, the jumping spider is probably my "holy grail" when it comes to spiders, getting a good shot of one of those would just be awesome.
Hi Tachi,

Thanks!

. . . and a big thanks for the tip about this guy being a moth!!! It's a Plume Moth, and the extensions that look so stiff are apparently the wings, rolled up and held stiffly out to the sides to make them appear as sticks. This one only has small ones, but the "thorns" on the legs also help in the camouflage. These guys were on a wall near the entrance to the Nature Center, and the only reason I noticed them was that I was looking closely for anything that might be a critter.

After watching the Jumping Spiders for quite a while, I'm thinking that I might be able to use a tripod and gimbal to shoot them more effectively. Since they're so small, they don't cover that much ground, and the gimbal should allow me to keep it in the viewfinder. Luckily, I took advantage a few years ago and snapped up a Uni Loc tripod, which is about the most positionally versatile support on the market (it's an improved bent bolt design -- like the Benbo -- the original Benbo owners sold that company but retained the rights to the design and started Uni Loc). We'll see. . .

I also consider the Jumping Spiders the "holy grail", and will pursue them, now I know where to find some, and what to look for -- they're not easy to spot. . . I've read up a bit, and I hope to use their aggressive and curious nature to my advantage to position them and maybe get them to pose. If they were bigger, I'd probably be too freaked out to try, but since they're so tiny, I can be really brave. . .I really want to get some shots of one capturing some prey. . .

I'm finding how little I know about these critters -- and a key to shooting anything is learning about their behavior -- I just ordered a couple of field guides (Audobon, and National Federation for Wildlife) from Amazon to help with IDs, and I'll probably start looking for some books that go deeper into their behavior to develop some tricks to get better shots.

I'd appreciate any recommendations for books like this --

Thanks to everyone for taking a look and commenting -- it's a great motivator!

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; May 21, 2010 at 12:30 PM.
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Old May 21, 2010, 7:25 PM   #13
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Really nice series Scott!
Never would have thought of using AFC for macros but, it makes sense when you think about it. Unfortunately I don't have an AF macro lens.
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Old May 21, 2010, 9:45 PM   #14
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I need a lot of work with this macro thing. I'm used to dealing with shallow DOF, but it's really difficult for me to get my head around squaring everything up to get more of the critters in focus. Details, details, details.
Scott
Seems to me you are doing just fine. The jumping spider shots are great - I especially like #2 - but the crab spiders are outstanding. That shot with the silk thread is a super capture. If we ever wondered how spiders manage to get their webs from point A to point B so high up in the air, we now know. That is an amazing shot.

And that mama squirrel is just too funny for words.

Plume moths are certainly weird insects. For some reason these linear creatures are hard to get into sharp focus - maybe because they are so small and have so little area to focus on. The way the head is hidden in your specimen is interesting, and the head-on shot if its face is amusing. I saw one on my bathroom wall the other day and grabbed the first camera at hand (not a Pentax) - not a particularly good shot so I hadn't intended to post it, but you can see the head in this one, so FYI I will put it in here anyway. They are hard to ID because there are a lot of them that look alike, so I posted this shot on the Bug Guide hoping for an ID, but so far no luck.

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