Friday, July 29, 2005

A BLAST from the past-

These are some of the first site posts and writings I ever put here. I apologize for the errors in past articles--I am still working that out. There are over 700 pictures in my site as of 2011 and countless articles. Originally it was confusing and difficult to get it figured out. As of this year I began re-editing the 2005 articles. --added 10/9/2011

Remember the "all pictures" side bar. Just click on the dates themselves
The above picture was taken with a very antiquated Argus DC2000. A 640x480 (0.32mp I think) only camera had 3.3mb memory, you get only about 12-16 shots, and typical of late 90s cameras it's got a shutter lag of measured in seconds. Still, it has an LCD display to tell you how much memory, battery power, and mode it's in--as well as a macro mode and flash. This camera was made before USB, and in order to use it I had have a backwards converter. I am an antique maniac. I really enjoy learning about ancient technologies and methods of doing things. I like the new stuff too. But I really like antiques of all kinds. I was going to do a mirror shot--and put a picture into my profile but I have not figured out how to do that yet.

These are some more recent technology pictures. I am putting together a package of some really good shots here and below in the next post. I have learned a lot since I took these shots without a digital SLR. One thing about photography is there is always something to learn. It's interesting to be able to go back and see the old pictures and compair them to how I could or would do it now. My lighting problems, my lack of knowledge about so many things in photography but incredibly I still nailed a few good shots.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lucky escape! The Grass Spider-

This is the Grass Spider (Tibellus) in this case probably Tibellus oblongus. It was by one of
my lights a while ago. These hunting spiders seek opportunity, but usually enjoy there excellent
camouflage in weeds and not on walls. This one is missing a whopping three legs.
Missing a leg or two is not uncommon for spiders, but this well-fed one seems to have gotten very lucky to make it through this. Most likely it lost it's legs in a fight with another spider. I've never seen a spider so well fed and otherwise healthy with this many legs missing on one side. Spiders can somewhat voluntarily release their limbs when in distress to escape without bleeding to death. And usually these limbs begin to grow back in future molts. This one is a full grown female. You can see how large it is by my millimeter scale in that bottom right picture. I've always thought these spiders were really cool. This one was very helpful, and stayed in this spot while I put my ruler up to it and did some other close up stuff. They can ok for
spiders as they hunt and this one definitely knew I was there. But these spiders
have a lot of confidence as in there natural environment they blend in almost constantly
by spreading out on green foliage like grasses and weeds.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Yet another example of the power in my macro lenses. I have two new ones I got. I'm really blessed to have these optics so I can show you these pictures and learn so much more. The One I got a day ago is the whopping incredible EIC-61 20mm (if I remember right)-that is probably the coolest lens I have–despite it’s size- it allows me to take incredible closeups of the smallest of insects like mites and flies with no cropping. And my other is an EIC-6117 80mm I'd have to look at them right now to find out. This one was taken with the EIC-6117. (TOP LEFT-I made this picture HUGE so click on it to view the strage mouthparts. Anyway--these new lenses have recently propelled me into the world of super-macro like never before. I am able with this new lens I just got yesterday capture pictures much higher res without using "in camera cropping" or digital zoom.

These shots show the bizarre grill-like mouthparts. My f-stop was f 8 for this picture as most of mine are and I used a homemade reflector to direct the flash. How to make a reflector--they can be really helpful-
Just fold up some aluminum foil to a size that can reflect--use the shiny side, and then use clear packaging tape to basically laminate it until it feels right. Then you have a ready made reflector which can direct many cameras built in flash.

CHECK this out--I used my new
20mm macro lens for some of these
shots--incredible, at full res I could
make a poster out of this stuff! No cropping was used at all here. These two assasin bugs are fighting over the corps of a click bug that apparently got killed by no less then TWO assasin bugs!! Both of them stabbing into it--I tried to video this too--did not get much. These guys were playing a total tug of war with this click bug for more then 15 min. I got this shot it and alot more in that time. They got afraid of my lights and stopped fighting when I got close. It was really strange--I've never seen anything like it. Two assasin bugs fighting over corps. Sucking on it at the same time--with this new lens- I could easly obverserve them puncture the clickbug. The out come is not certain. I went to my other light and when I returned they were both gone--with the clickbug. This was really funny to watch. I still don't know who won.


This was a great day for pictures. Except for the heat (its 100 here).
On my usual walk I went out around 6pm, and found
this harvestmen under my house quickly. I now have 3 macro
lenses. One lets me do super-macros at full res with no in camera
cropping (digi-zoom) and will prove to be one of the most
important ones I have. The other gives me my ability to
shoot flash solving what used to be a terrible light problem
due to the size of my old setup.
So then I found this dude, (below) as I walked over to
the area I often try to photograph those very fast and
smart wolf spiders-and stoped to take a few pictures.

Then AAHH! first I saw this fast moving one on
my camera–it had climbed up the camera bag and me and
right onto the top of my camera–when I tried to blow it
off so it would leave, it quickly scaled up to my hat and
crawled onto MY FACE! For the first time you can see
a glimpse of me as I try to keep the thing out of my eye.
This shot was not planned, I swear! I had my camera
in my hand and flipped it so I could take a self portrait,
removed my macro lens and chucked it into my open
camera bag–and then shot this impromptu shot in an
incredible amount of self discipline to change lenses
while this thing was crawling on the brim of my hat and
then my EYES! I had no idea what it would do–but it did
not bite or anything. I kept my head–my training payed
off–and I got a once in a very long time shot–of a real
situation. I train myself for cameras and distraction.
How to keep my head and get the shot–how to have things
happen and keep the shot, I think up scenarios and practice.
This has proven very useful. And I also use events like
fireworks and other public stuff to practice photography
skills of all kinds and prepare myself for any type of
picture as much as I can. This self discipline and training
really payed off today. Had I not thought and rehearsed
a similar scenario–I’d probably have jumped and bashed the
poor thing off my face killing it–and never thought of
the shot until later. It pays to think up possible situations
and rehearse how you would handle them in the field.
I really have learned a lot by doing this–if you have a
plan for your shot and something unexpected comes up–
it works! If I have no plan and never thought about it–I'd
mess up. It pays to not just practice this kind of thinking
once–but regularly like an exercise program. Take it
or leave it, for me it really worked today. I’d never have
gotten this great shot if I’d been surprised too much by it
having a regular reaction. If you practice for surprises
like this, such as how to flip your camera with one hand
or change lenses quick with an open camera bag. Then
practice a bit thinking of any imaginable situation you
definitely have an edge. I quickly removed this harmless
harvestmen from my head and put him back on my lawn.
He was unharmed. I can’t believe I got this shot!

Friday, July 15, 2005

A CLOSE LOOK at the incredible crab spider-

This is the crab spider, one of my favorite shots I've got with one. They are very small around here at least for now--only about 5mm body. These are probably the Flower Spider, (Misumena vatia). Thomisidae (Crab spiders) are a fascinating type. They don't have spiny hairs or big fangs to defend themselves--but they do an incredible job of tackling the largest of pray. This one below is just caught a insect. Notice how the insect was bitten at the neck.

Like the big mammalian predators, most hunting spiders go for the neck. It's incredible but most insects actually have one, a soft one easy to bite. Even if they bite their pray somewhere else they will end up at the neck. It's for probably the same reason as large animals--the neck is near the nervous system and a quick way to kill. The neck is not broken or strangled here. It’s a quick way to pump poison into the brain. And yes, insects do have a brain. So if you want venom to act so fast you can't be hurt by dangerous pray, or you don't want it to get away so you can't find it--you have to bite your pray where it's going to die or be immobilized almost instantly. These wondering spiders don't have a lot of visible power as far as spiders go. Just a martial arts like "crab" stance that keeps them ready to strike and just out of strike range, good eyes, and a relatively tiny fangs when compared to other hunting spiders. There soft unprotected abdomen is almost a target--but they are fast, camouflaged and very dangerous to even the largest of pray.

Huge bees, wasps and other dangerous creatures are brought down by very small crab spiders. Their venom is so toxic to insects and their stance is so strong they are truly like the martial arts specialists of the spider world. Able to not only kill huge stinging dangerous pray like bumble bees, but hold them strong with fangs on a flower. They move around holding on in most cases until the pray dies--preventing it from flying off the flower or falling. From perspective they would look puny when matched to other hunting spiders--but this small spider packs a punch proving the silent, small shy type to be the most dangerous of all in the spider world.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Some more buterfiles-

The above butterfly was really easy to photograph, it let me approach it very slowly and it did not take me an hour to get a series of shots as used to have to do with many shy butterfly's before I got 'Tele-macro' optics.

This butterfly (below) was actually not that difficult to shoot--if you don’t mind half sitting half standing in one area for a half hour and moving your camera VERY SLOW. I'm still debating if I should rate a lot of my shots with a "pain scale" from sunburn to cramps.

I personally really like the one on the one below--that was a really tricky shot made easy
by my Z10 and it's Tele-macro zoom.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

One of my favorate
pictures of a fly which
thinks it's half ladybug
and The Dalles Oregon.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Wolf Spider-in field description

I spent about an hour finding out how to catch this spider and photograph it. If it is not the fastest species of spider in the world it's got to be close. It runs from anything that moves-and it does not stop until it's ten feet away hiding under a leaf. They are nearly impossible to photograph without capture. I tried, and tried--and tried more--but all I got was ground and out of focus junk. I realized this was one time I had to capture it to photograph it. As you can see in some of these pictures they have fairly large eyes pointed in all directions. This is a female, someday she will likely carry that trademark egg sack behind her as wolf spiders do. TO SEE
THE EYES be sure to CLICK to ENLARGE some of these pictures!

Then even carry there young! That season is not here yet though. She is not fully grown and was found running away alone like they all do. They hit speeds close to that of the tiger beetle (the fastest land animal in per portion to it's body size) and thus cannot see while they are running so that have to stop every foot or a half to look for you again and just as you see them there off again. They go to great lengths not to get stepped on! That is probubly the main reason why wolf spiders, and harvestmen-run so often and so hard. Do to the sun being bright out this afternoon, I used the last rays to use my super macro lens. The last one shows how big this spider really is. On the surface it resembles in some markings the hobo-spider–but just a quick look at the eyes gives them away-there are not releated. They are proven-harmless wolf spiders. These are all of the same spider just three different lenses were used for the shots.
I used my regular standard macro most my pictures are done with (150mm appox.) and a
extremely big (95mm approx) for the high stuff. The high-macro shots in setting sunlight I had to use as a light sorce for that lens.

I put in a lot of pictures of this one to give a full description as each picture kind of gave one
peace of a puzzle. I gotta clean my spider jar I carry with me!
The thing that shocks me about this spider the most is population. There must literary be
5 per every square foot in my back yard. Yes--it's that dense. Most likely they eat ants
but clearly they may be tolerant of each other. If they were not you would
not see all ages, and sizes in such huge numbers--at least I don't know how you would. They
see well and must bump into each other all the time. I want to show people that all spiders are not cannibalistic monsters. The wolf spider is probably one of the best examples from there strange parental care to these population levels. Although they are not technically social spiders they, like all spiders can "taste-smell" by touch and tell if they are near each other. From there they simply chose not to attack or ignore, or like the sack spider avoid a fight by jumping away from each other. There are all kinds of strange things about wolf spiders that make them interesting.