Sunday, August 21, 2005


I’ve been meaning to start on this subject for a long time.
Moths. Specifically, very small moths. The one above is shown
next to a scale not in inches, not in centimeters, IN millimeters!
Many of these months are smaller then 5mm long and have very
surprisingly complex colors and features. I have probably
photographed 20-45 species of them since I started my nightly

I have many pictures I will trickle onto this sight of these fascinating
little moths. Some of them very beautiful. Due to my powerful
macro lenses, photographing them is not very difficult and I do not
really on cropping. One reason why I began building my own
lenses and lens additions.

This is a centimeter scale! And this tiny moth has a Mohawk hair cut!
This is a modified bug light I made. These things are everywhere
and people buy them thinking it will help. Unfortunately, they
usually act as super-but magnets and do nothing but bring more
bugs to people and give the impression they are helping because
of the dramatic terrible end these lights bring to there victims.
Mosquitos–and other pesky bugs, do not find people by looking
for lights. These killer props are sold and often do more harm
then good killing beneficial species like ladybugs and young
praying mantises. The voltage used to zap them is enough to
“hook” a man on and electrocute you. I received three years
training in electrical engineering when I was a teenager through
a community mentor program. DO NOT attempt to build
something like this on your own unless you have
knowledge as it is very dangerous. The coil voltage
on this
one is about 1500volts and the AC line current
makes it even more
dangerous. The sparks may look
small, but that has nothing to
do with weather or not
it could kill you.
Scientists & educators etc, - for plans on
how to build this e-mail me from this site.

This device will never kill anything again. I have disconnected
the transformer and thus the electricity from the wire fencing
and everything else so the light is harmless. It is now just a
beckon that the bugs can land on and I can use to photograph
bugs on. I recently bought it and modified it. I’m going to see
when I get back from my trip to see my Dad how well it attacks
Insects. Why use this light? Because it’s tuned towards the
spectrum of light that insects and spiders can see the best–
Twards the ultra-violet spectrum. Low power needs also
means that a small 12v battery can be connected to a mini-inverter
and this thing can be made portable very easy with battery life
lasting for hours. The simplest way is to use a car and extension
cord. Several of these and an extra car battery would make
a really good rig for attracting bugs anywhere and could fit
in any trunk.

I will be adding alot more of these interesting moths soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

These are some highlighted insect shots I did a while ago. This is a Clickbug. It's only about 1cm long. When handled, you can hear there natural defense system "click". If you hold one in your hand (carefully) you can feel the power behind the click. It literally bangs it's head so fast it creates a pocket of air which makes a snap. Incredibly this head banging defense is very useful. From the dilemma of turning over to being attacked--the shockwaves can hurt or scare other bugs. The huge tropical species can break the skin and send a shockwave so painful you can't hold on to them. They are over an inch long.

I like this shot, it was one of the first good pictures I took with my new 6.1mp Kodak the day
I got it several months ago.
Files can be approached. When I first started photographing insects most of my macro lenses were close up--I had to get about 3-5 inches or so close to my subject. Because of this I had to learn how to move. At first I thought I'd never be able to approach flies, but if you move painfully slow--you can, especially when they are in the sun. The trick is to seem like the vegetation and seem like you are & were there. No quick movements.

This grass spider I found a place to show it's acrobatic grip on a concrete stares. I made the pictures in this series larger so click on them to see how well you can see each one. I am experimenting with picture resolution on my site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005



BELOW THE TEXT you can see a line of pictures. I had to do it
that way because I've been having trouble with doubling up pictures.
You can zoom in on these to by clicking on them. This is a view of most of
them close up. These are just the few I've printed. I have thousands of
pictures that I like well enough to print like this! It will take a while to
just even put them on my website. The more I learn about the Internet
the better things will get. I'm going to see my dad on the train for a week
coming up. I'm not sure if I will be able to work on my website down there.
If not--I will be back by the end of this month. Finally I got enough money
to run these pictures. They gobble up ink cartridges that are really expensive.
I printed these on one set of cartridges and that was about it. I got more
stuff, but generally these kinds of pictures drain the cartridges very fast.
So my pricing has a lot to do with the cost of INK. I don't go to the store
without 100 bucks just to take care of cartridges and paper. To refill the
printer I generally spend about $100 between ink cartridges and high-quality
paper. I don't buy cheap junk for good reasons, some kinds of ink and
paper can degrade in less then a year. It's always a good idea to keep
these kinds of pictures out of direct sunlight for hours at a time--there are limits
to printing even if you go to a very good photo place. That is one reason why
I give away a CD-ROM with a copy of the file on it so the person can have
it re-printed--or most of all--printed to a much larger size.

Take a look at my creations! I’m really proud of these.
If they seem distorted in these pictures of pictures be
sure to realize I never print a junk picture. They are
all the quality you would expect to see in any professional
setting. The frames were a lucky find but I don’t print
or even save “junk” or out of focus shots. If they are
cropped too much or something and look at all bad at
8x10' they are not worth even keeping except maybe for
identification reasons- not the delicate art of precise macro
shots. For every one of these shots about an hour went
into getting it, and there were probably 10 takes or so
thrown out before I get the one that’s good. Taking
fast pictures of the same subject is a common way for
photographers to insure or make more sure that you will
at least get one good shot. Especially when dealing with
the kinds of tolerances, wind, movement, lighting and
most of all fatigue that often make macro shots difficult
and complicated. These frames are going to mostly be used for
my own studio. I was able to find them for an incredible
price at a local thrift store. I then printed and
framed all these pictures entirely myself. These
are all functional frames that can be hung on a wall
or often even put up on a table. I'm really proud
of seeing the real product prints in a finished

Simple but very functional--these pictures
were easy to do and I chose to sell these types of
frames for $20. If anyone buys one from me they will
get a bonus-- a CD-ROM with the complete full sized
file in it.

These are my first few digital creations. Hopefully
you will be able to see in these pictures the size
and detail of these shots and how I framed them.

I posted one a wide angle view shot above. I had
was at the time just working out how to use that
lens but It worked well even in first trials.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


The Daddy Long legs. (Pholcidae) and the less common cribellate spiders the "Cave daddy long legs" (Hypochilidae) are some of my
favorite spiders. This is the incredibly successful Pholcus phalangioides.
A large female with an egg sack. These were found in my basement where I let them free and am conducting more study of what they eat, I plan to post an article
about what spiders in homes can do to--what basement spiders eat, and why you don't have to and should not kill them. Females hold there egg sacks
in the mouth parts until the babies hatch out. You can see two different ones here.

One which will lay her egg sack an
time now, possibly tonight. I'm going
to setup a video camera on time-laps
to try to capture this event.

The three inch long 180mm "7 inch"(ø45mm) teli-macro lens-finally
gave me the power to photograph the mother daddy long legs and so much
more very clear without having to get really close thus scaring it
into moving. I could work outside of the web.

I'd just built this lens so it was not tested it fully yet when this picture was taken. I had to re-build it twice to get the close spacing tolerances right. The lenses in the film can tube had to be cut with the consider lens
in the middle of the tube. The new
version is also now able to link
too the mechanical optical zoom on
the camera. It does not look very
different now except by being a bit
longer. Under the duct tape is
PACKAGING TAPE and NO GLUE. GLUE and optics do not
mix! Also, duct tape, scotch tape,and electrical tapedegradesvery
fast. The adhesive used in clear
plastic storage & packaging
tape was made to last decades.

I used it under the duct tape. The
duct tape is on there purely to make it look a bit better and I'm going to
remove that and give it my silver
shine from aluminium foil as usual.

It is an all tightly wrapped in packaging tape system with that middle condenser lens (the key to teli-macro like this) is mated with a duel element condenser concave combo. In the front of the lens is accessary threaded so I can probably
at least add filters (ø45mm) and can add anything that matches the threading, like filters.

This holding threaded lens-mounting
system was taken from an old video
camera (broken).

I’m not really sure why I like the daddy longlegs spider so much.
Possibly because they live so well in
homes and I've been watching them
since I was about 5yrs old. The
full sized versions of these pictures are truly amazing. This lens makes it possible to shoot high quality pictures of spiders, insects or anything else macro from a distance of exactly 7 inches with some room to zoom in and out as it does mechanically link to the cameras stock lens. When I figured out to use it--I got a lucky breakthrough. Being 7 inches away most spiders and insects can be photographed even if deep in webs (very important). My other lenses only offer me about 3- 4 inches down to 1.5cm or so. As usual this is one of my entirely homemade lenses. This one is the newest and one of the most useful. Although it's very complex and thus a bit harder to learn how to focus, the problems I had with it early on that almost doomed it were fixed! It is not shown in my gear pictures that have recently been circulated because I had not built it yet. It wont' win a beauty contest on the outside but it is a true optical wonder. It can get high-quality images--all photo optical glass, like these from at least 7 inches away from the subject with no digital cropping & zoom. And it’s high mag, about 15x20mm or so but can get even tighter. It’s perfect for normally sized bugs. It is linked to the cameras mechanical system. The advantage to using a lens like this is clear-- spiders like the Daddy long legs are shy, and often shake in there webs making them hard to shoot when you try to get up close. My other macro lenses could not have done these shots. Seven inches (if you look at it on a ruler is about 18cm). It has two main stages. The lens sticks out from the camera 3 inches . When I measure from the end of the lens (not to include the 3.5 inches going into the CCD) you can clearly focus in on an object optically from 7 inches at the tip of the lens NOT the inside of the camera. This is a real big breakthrough. A really powerful way to catch closeups that would have been nearly impossible or very harmful to living subjects to get.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Sweat Bees, These are a different kind then the ones I've already posted. I'm not sure if they are a different species. One of the biggest differences is how fast they fly and how. They fly extremely fast. Much faster then most bees. They circle a flour a dozen times in a couple of seconds and then land on it for a quick stop. Then takeoff buzzing around almost for no reason. Like the Tiger beetle, they are moving too fast for there eyes to function very well, they have to stop for a bit or slow a bit down somehow or this happens. These two bees ran into each other and broke up less then a quarter of a second after this high speed picture was shot. I did not expect this incredible shot, it's another one of those that just happen. I really like this picture. Be sure to click on it for the largest view. These bees fly more like flies and move faster then any bees I can recall seeing. I re-edited this in 2011--and I am still amazed at this shot. The most incredible shot I think I ever have done with a point and shoot camera. My old 6mp Kodak DX7630. A lot of things lined up in just the right way at the right time for this shot to happen. Luck is definitely part of what photography is all about.

Candid cat

I've already done some pictures of the free running cats around here, this is another one that just happened as I was out shooting bugs. It shows a local cat who really wants attention. I can't afford to properly take care of a pet right now and this is my neighbors cat. I really wish they'd give there cats some more attention. I pet this one once and it would not leave me alone. Just a few moments after I shot this A HUGE raccoon cam walking by. Unfortunately I tried but I could not get my Marco lens off and set my camera to shoot in time. It pays to keep a second quick hooting camera with you. You never know what will pop-up in situations like this. I can't make this mistake again!