The things I do for photography – my night crawling on our roof, and other stories…

A dying fly breathes his last breath

It’s day 24 of the macro challenge and I tore myself away from a potential night out drinking with colleagues to come home and work on my macro photography (that’s what I call willpower and dedication!). Thankfully it was so, so rewarding – I had a fantastic night’s work with four successful images that I’d like to share with you today.

My first is ‘The Last Breath’  (see above), a silhouetted image catching the last breath of a dying fly. It’s not as pin sharp as I’d usually like and is not the close up I’ve traditionally opted for with macro photography, but I love poignancy of the image, the portrayal of death captured in such a simple and eye catching way. It was taken at 1/500 sec at f5.6 and ISO 800. The ISO was a little higher than I should have used, because the fly was on a windowsill and benefited, therefore, from an abundance of early evening summer light – but when I saw the situtaion unfurl I did not have time to react and alter all my settings as I would otherwise have liked. ‘He’ held this pose for barely a few seconds before collapsing and being blown away by the wind.

The second image (below) is ‘A Tiny House Guest’ . I had spent most of the photography session trawling the corners of our house to see if I could find a spider. I searched high and low, but it was not until I went upstairs to write this blog that I noticed a teeny tiny wee shape under the handrail for our stairs – it was a tiny wee house guest – a spider concealed in the shadows of the bannister, shy and wary of my presence. I crouched and contorted my body into various positions to try and get a picture of ‘him’ in his hiding place. Believe it or not, this was the first shot I took and, unbeknown to me it worked out perfectly – apart from a tiny bit of noise reduction I have done hardly anything to this in post production…luck and chance was on my side tonight. It was taken at f5.6 and 1/50 sec at ISO 800 with flash. I chose not to crop the image at all because I like the depth of field provided by the wall – it puts the spider into perspective and gives some scale to the image that might otherwise be lost with an extreme close up.

My third image is also of a spider” ‘Er Indoors” – I located this spider one on our roof and crawled out for a closer look (panic not – we might be 5 floors up but we have a flat roof outside our bedroom window!). I saw her crouching inside the safety of her web, retreating slowly as I tentatively approached across the delicate roof tiles. I took a chance to take a shot before she retreated under the weathered  leading of the roof. She is concealed by her web, but I really like this image because it’s rare for me to chose to display a macro photography of an insect that’s concealed by it’s habitat – I usually prefer ‘clean’ images.  She was taken at f5.6 and 1/80sec with a flash to assist illumination of her eyes and delicate hairs. Please do take a look and let me know what you think.

The final image is “Nature’s Tentacles”. This is a dandelion seed caught in a spider’s web – captured whilst I was on our roof looking for the spider detailed above.  I love the ‘under the sea’ and other worldly effect of the image – it’s not what you’d expect of an image like this. It took me ages to wait until the wind calmed and the seed was in the perfect position, and I tried really hard to choose a depth of field which allowed me to capture the seed, its feathers and the web. Again, it’s not as pin sharp as I would like – but I was standing on a roof in my PJs so maybe you’ll forgive me? Again, please do take a look and let me know what you think.

I hope you get as much enjoyment from the images as I did taking them 🙂

A tiny spider hides under a handrail


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