Tuesday 8 November 2011

Spider and Hoverfly

As a keen macro photographer I'm always on the look-out for interesting insects and interesting insect behaviour. My eyes now seem able to spot an irregular shape on a leaf or a tiny movement from some distance.  At the end of the summer we seemed to have an enormous number of hoverflies visiting my house and garden and, inevitably, certain species were taking advantage of this bumper harvest. One evening I noticed a small, unusual shape on the leaf of a sunflower in my garden and knew that it was something a bit more interesting than normal. Sure enough, on closer inspection I could see a small spider grappling with a hoverfly that was larger than it was.

Through the viewfinder I was presented with an interesting scene (if you like this sort of thing :-)) but it became immediately obvious that the limited depth of field at this level of magnification meant it was practically impossible to get all of the key parts of the image in focus. Focus stacking (i.e. taking multiple images each with a slightly different part of the image in focus and then blending them in Photoshop) was therefore the only option. However, since the spider was almost continually moving it was far from straightforward to take multiple images of the spider in the same position. Nevertheless, I managed a few. The first three images below were therefore each focus stacked from two or three frames. The final image was from a single frame.

All images taken with a Canon 60D with MP-E 65mm macro lens and a heavily diffused MT-24EX flashgun. Each frame was taken at f13, 1/160, ISO 100. 


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