Lock down macrophotography

Updated: Mar 11

Given the bans on travel overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided it was time to to look at the wildlife in and around my west London home. The herons in Chiswick House gardens were very happy to pose, but I soon realised that insects and spiders provided morte of a challenge.

My first attempts to photograph bees with a Nikkor 70-200m zoom lens were disappointing, so invested in a Nikkor F2.8 105mm macro lens. This made a big difference.

I also started to get better at finding suitable subjects. This poppy caught my eyes and revealed its inner details with anthers, petals and stamens.

The summer arrived and the air was full of flying insects. This hoverfly was captured as it darted around our garden.

Close up, the woodlouse can be seen in detail. This photograph employed focus stacking, with multiple images being taken with the focal plane moving along the body. The focal plan was so narrow that several shots were need to each segment. The images were then merged in Photoshop, which essentially joined all the in-focus slices together.:

With the detail provided by the macro images, I could start to identify the insects that I was photographing. This is a hover fly, Episyrphus-balteatus, with grains of pollen sticking to its thorax.

Some of the insects had iridescent upper surfaces, like the Thick-legged Flower beetle (Oedemera nobilis), which is a very noble little beast:

The garden spiders (Araneus diadematus) that spun webs in by tomato plants, made good subjects. They did not move and had interesting body shapes that are hard to see with a naked eye: I had never noticed the cross that decorates their abdomen before i stared to look more closely.

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