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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not an entomologist. 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 dead and 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.
Tag Archives: Tamron
Left to right: Tamron 180mm f/3.5 Macro Autofocus Lens (Canon EOS mount), Canon Macro Photo MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Manual Focus Lens, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Autofocus Lens, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP AF Di Macro Lens for Nikon AF, Vivitar Series 1 105mm for Nikon and an Olympus Zuiko 50mm macro lens.
Over the years my macro equipment has transitioned from the era of film to the digital present, and in that time I have accumulated a few macro lenses. The picture above shows most of them: missing is an Olympus-mount Tamron SP 90mm macro lenses that provided only half-life size 1:2 mag.
All the above lenses give 1:1 (life-size) magnification. Why so many sizes if they all produce the same magnification? What are the benefits or handicaps of each?
Find out at a Macro Workshop!
Mixed up in a collection of photographs from my wife’s camera, I came across this spider in a set of four. This is the same spider that I ‘antiqued’ earlier this year, however using a different technique. Taken at night in a basement doorway, I used a single flash, hand-held behind the spider and triggered wirelessly by the on-camera flash. The light shines through the spider, giving it an internal glow and accentuating the hairs.
This is not a too difficult picture to take. If you don’t have wireless flash, a flash cord (I use a 60cm/ 2ft. cord) moves the flash off camera so that you can hand-hold it to alter the lighting effects. Of course, don’t touch the web, or your subject will scarper for sure!
(Nikon D80, single SB-R200 flash and Tamron 90mm macro lens: 1/200 sec. effective aperture: f32)
Here is a brief example of how I might approach a co-operative subject:
When I find an interesting insect to photograph, my first shot is considered as a record only. I keep shooting, trying each time to improve the shot over the previous attempt. In this case the first attempt is sharp, but the composition is bad and the background is cluttered.
The background can be improved in a number of ways: by changing the position of the camera (right or left, higher or lower), by changing the lens to narrow the perspective (ie. changing from a 50mm macro to a 180mm macro), by opening the aperture to get less depth of field, by physically changing the background (by moving the plant stems – risky) or by adjusting the lighting so that the background is not so well lit. In my case, I opened up the aperture, lowered the camera, moved it slightly to the left and forward, and then I centered it.
The background is smoother and darker, without descending into black. However, there is still some distracting material in the bottom of the picture, and the composition could still be stronger, so I moved the camera in closer…
…cropping out the stem and most of the calyx. Then I raised the shutter speed to let in less ambient light. Now, I am happier with the result. Minor changes could still be done in the future with software, but with the lens I have on, this is as close as I can get. I tried to move into a head-on view, but my subject finally lost patience and flew off. When I arrived home a few days later, I cropped the last image to show more detail on the little bee.
Winter in Alberta, -30 and deathly cold, so this photographer has to resort to house bugs.
I found this small (8mm from chelicera to spinnerets) spider suspended from the livingroom ceiling, most likely originating as a stowaway on a plant that we had brought indoors for the winter. To maintain family peace, I moved it downstairs to the
mancave sanctuary Dragonology Lab Nature Study, and released it near the window. I hoped it would survive in this room, as it does have a small population of resident fungus gnats and the occasional fruit fly to snare and feed on.
The next day it was gone. I searched the area, in the corners, behind the computer, but to no avail. It had disappeared.
Then one morning, on entering the room, I felt a light tugging at my hair. There in the doorway was a damaged web, and the spider curled up in the corner. I wanted to photograph it, but in this state it was not much of a subject. I would have to return early the following morning while still dark to see it at its best.
Donning a headlamp and arming myself with my Nikon D80, Tamron 90mm macro lens and a wireless, hand-held flash, I carefully opened the door. There it was, in the full undamaged web, moving from strand to strand, perhaps disturbed by the pull of air that occurred when I opened the door. The ceiling at the entrance way is white, but I wanted to capture it in darkness, without any clutter or background visible. Using the hand-held flash held off to the left, I shot a series of it moving on the web, trying to keep it on one plane while at the same time keeping the background distant so that it would not be lit by the angled flash. This is one of the shots from that session:
- Photographing Insects and Other Small Creatures (nikonusa.com)
This Stone centipede¹ was found in the garden by my daughter and was promptly moved into my collapsible white box for a portrait. These centipedes are fast movers, and they seldom pause long enough for a sure shot. Following the movement and staying in focus is difficult and the most successful takes were when it was walking across the background on one plane.
Centipedes are hunters, and they are unique among arthropods in that the foremost pair of legs have evolved as venomous ‘fangs’ (called forcipules or maxillipedes) in order to subdue prey. Centipedes can be distinguished from millipedes in that they have a single pair of legs on each segment, rather than the millipede’s two pairs per segment. Our relatively harmless (to us, that is!) stone centipede has a relative that is large enough to take on mammals, even something as difficult to handle as a flying bat…
(This is an re-worked Bug Whisperer post from September, 2009. The photograph was taken with the Nikon D80 and the Tamron 90mm DI lens on the Kenko Pro 1.4x converter. Lighting with a single Nikon SB-600 flash in a Lumiquest Softbox)
(See Alex Wild’s rendition here.)
¹Phyllum Arthropoda, Subphylum Myriapoda, Class Chilopoda, Order Lithobiomorpha, Family Lithobiidae, Lithobius sp.
Note to Readers: The Tamron 180mm f3.5 is a great macro lens! This article is about the limitations that all long macro lenses have. (added 17 April, 2012)
At the beginning of the year I began using Canon equipment for photomacrography. This decision was centered on Canon’s renowned MP-E65 mm lens, which can provide magnification from 1 to 5x without adding any extra accessories. To this lens I added a 5D Mk.II, the MT-24EX flash, a Sigma EF 530 flash and my first ever long macro lens, a Tamron 180mm f3.5.
I thought I was equipped to conquer…
(Violins, lento sotto… ) Continue reading