Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ben Boyd National Park - City Rock And Some Macro Training

Car pooling back to pick up the car left at Green Cape, we decided to give City Rock a go - it was only a detour of a kilometer or two. What a great idea, it proved to be absolute photography heaven with heaps of reptiles and a spider or two :-)

The reptiles might not have been as impressive in size as the lace monitors walking around at the campsite, but if you get close enough ... :-) Lots of light and some "models" that desperately needed the sunlight to heat up after a cold overcast morning made it a lot of fun running around with the macro lens.

A tiny spider gave a welcome opportunity of getting really close - the size of this specimen was probably not much more than 6mm - and it also shows how razor thin the depth of field is at these distances unless you stop down the lens dramatically.

I made a series of pictures where I started at f/14.0 and ended shooting nearly wide open. At f/14.0 you can make the entire spider sharp, but shutter speed starts to become a problem approaching 1/150 even with a warm Australian afternoon sun being in charge of the delivery of light. The picture above is taken at f/9.0 which is probably where you will be for something like this, the back of the spider get a bit blurry, but you can easily catch a bit of facial expression and shutter speed is sweet at 1/400s. I could have cropped harder.

At f/5.6 things get much much harder! Shutter speed is no problem at all easily handholdable approaching 1/1000s, but as you get closer to your subject DOF gets really thin and you easily end up with something similar to the one below :-D So as usual, when the skill are lacking you just role the dice a few more times and let that old Nikon snap away - more data gives you a higher change of success .. so would a tripod, but that is heavy and boring :-D

By the way, I finally bought myself a spider book, but still have a hard time with identification. The one above was running around on the rocks so I expect in to be from the "Open-range Hunters"-group. Not big enough to be a wolf spider, and with the placement of the eyes I would take a stab at something like a jumping spider - it confuses me a bit that it never really jumped, but you cannot get it all ... I guess(?)


Jarrod said...

If you got a tripod and a remote you could stop that down to f/14 with out any concern for the shake. The only issue might be the vast amount of dust on your sensor at such a small aperture.

AGL said...

No worries - I will buy a good solid 10kg version and we can strap it on your back next time we are going bush :-)