I am NOT a fan of most insects in general – and especially not of arachnids in particular. But somehow these garden spiders don’t seem to bother me quite as much. And surprisingly enough, I’m okay with sticking a lens only a few centimeters away from them. Well, so long as they behave and don’t make any aggressive moves towards me. Or any moves at all…
I found a number of these guys out in the field at Trostle Pond the other morning, amid a dense fog. There had to have been hundreds of webs spread through the grass and many of them had the builders poised in the middle. Great chance to test out the new macro lens and I was able to get a couple of decent shots, even working hand-held. (Out of fear that the tripod would destroy the webs while I maneuvered it in close.)
On a less creepy, crawly note, I was able to get a few other shots of more pleasing subjects. Flowers are easy fodder for macro lenses, and I think especially for the beginner; they are ubiquitous and they don’t run away when you try to work with them. And many of them are far more intricate – and interesting – up close than they appear at the casual glance. Take Queen Anne’s Lace, for instance, which shows up mid-summer in just about every field. Big, lacy white tops composed of dozens of small blossoms, each looking something like a tiny daisy.
Or this…whatever it is, that I found growing along an abandoned road in Lackawanna State Park. It’s some sort of flower, although I don’t recall having seen it before and honestly it looks like something out of Star Trek. It’s another hand-held shot, taking advantage of the large f/2.8 aperture to overcome the shadow it was in.
I think that the real joy in macro work comes from the element of exploration it contains. It’s a view to a whole new level of the world, which is sometimes hidden and often just overlooked. A places you’ve visited a dozen times before get a breath of fresh air to it; heck, a 2′ square section of your own yard can become a sort of micro-safari. It’s definitely something I look forward to working with more.