"...mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions."
E.O. Wilson (Biophilia)
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© Adrian Thysse and Splendour Awaits, 2009 - 2015.
Image use is permitted for non-profit, educational use only. Sharing of images and other content is permitted only with full credit and links back to Splendour Awaits.
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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not a biologist. I do my best to have professionals assist in identifying the subjects of my photographs. However, positive identifications can not always be done unless the specimen is viewed under a microscope. If you do find an error or have doubts about the identification provided, please let me know in the comments or by email.
Category Archives: Portrait
Earlier this month while I was in the Devonian Botanical Garden I intersected with an school field-trip class and Shelley Ryan-Hovind. They had captured a fishing spider and I had the opportunity to photograph it while it was floating around in a deep white bucket. As long as I moved slowly, it stayed quietly resting on the water surface, usually over or in contact with some floating leaves. When I disturbed it would make a mad scramble around the edges of the bucket, sometimes even managing to climb a few inches. This behavior negated the chance of raising the water level to have a better angle for photographs, however, by slowly tilting the bucket towards myself, I was able to get a few shots that were better than a straight dorsal view. I also managed to scoop the spider into my ever-handy white bowl to allow me to take an even more detailed shot at higher magnification. Not ideal conditions, but I think the photos still display how beautiful this water-walking spider really is.
6 June, 2014. Top left image: Canon 5D Mk II with Tamron Telephoto SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD IF Macro Autofocus Lens and diffused Canon Speedlite 270EX II. ISO 200, 1/200 sec. @ f14. Image above: Canon T2i with Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo Lens and diffused Canon MT-24EX Twin Lite Flash. ISO 200, 1/200 sec. @ f16.
Here are my top photo choices for 2013. The selection is based somewhat on public response, but mostly just because they are my personal favorites. Like most years, these are wild Alberta bugs, photographed alive and kicking, without cooling or freezing to slow them down.
And last, but not least, the type of bug photography that I enjoy pursuing (and I mean pursuing!) most: solitary wasps with prey…
Longhorns Beetles (Coleoptera, Family Cerambycidae) can be a bit of a challenge to photograph well, because the antennae are so long that they are hard to include in the photo without all or part of the length being out of focus. As macro photographers we must choose carefully what part of the subject will be in focus, because the depth of field is always shallow. As a rule, the eye is the most important feature to keep in focus. Some photographers choose to close in on the beetle and leave the ‘horns’ severely clipped at the image borders, however, by carefully aligning both the beetle and the closer antenna on the same plane, it is possible to get an acceptable appearance of focus throughout. The other alternative is a direct dorsal photograph of a chilled or pinned specimen, with antenna flat, but this does not give the lively look that is most pleasing.
However, there is another approach. Treat your longhorn like a portrait photographer would, and ask it to – “…tilt your head just a little bit this way”, and …”now a little bit to the right” and”… lift your chin a bit…that’s it! Hold it!”
Live beetle donated by a kindly visitor to my booth at the Rooted in Nature Art Show at Devonian Botanic Gardens!
My wife says she has never seen me work so fast…
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(Best viewed in HD full screen. If video loads slowly please turn down the quality setting)
Some galleries require a plain, narrow black metal frame, with the photograph surrounded by at least a 3″ wide white mat. All the materials are acid-free, conservation grade:
♦ 16″ x 20″ Single Mat Conservation Paper – White Wash, opening: 9″ x 13″
♦ 16″ x 20 Matshop Mouldings – Regular Black Metal
♦ 16″ x 20″ Backing Foamcore AF Black 3/16
♦ 16″ x 20″ Glazing Plexi – 1 mm
All supplies from the MatShop, Canada
My daughter is soon to be launched on a musical tour of Spain, travelling with the Singing Strings Orchestra. I was clearing out the memory cards from her camera in preparation for the trip, when I came across a series of photos she had taken while I was photographing mason bees along the banks of the Saskatchewan river…
There are only a few images of me ‘at work’, so I thought I would share this one. I am using my standard configuration, consisting of the Nikon D80 with Tamron 90mm macro lens mounted on Kenko Pro 1.4x tele-extender, with the wireless Nikon R1 unit and 2 diffused flashes. This is the same exposed part of the riverbank that I discovered earlier that year (See ‘Dummkopf!). It was an unsuccessful attempt at photographing the bees as they came in to land – very fast, and hard to predict. It was this location that made me reconsider the usefulness of high-speed photo triggers.
That bamboo pole? That’s for
poking at hornet’s nests steadying myself while shooting – very light and infinitely adjustable. It also has many other uses – holding back vegetation, fending off dogs and nosy children…and toasting marshmallows.
(Photo by Arwen Thysse, 22 July, 2010. Canon A620)