Tuesday, October 30, 2007


This is the common "Garden spider" as are 100s of species around the world. This one lives in the Pacific Northwest and in Europe is called the cross-spider. Harmless to humans it's a great wasp and mosquito catcher. Araneus diadematus. Shot here with my Canon 10D digital camera with a 50mm EF II lens and one extension tube. Click for 1080 sized pictures. I have also chosen to be more open about the gear I use and cameras I use.

One nice hotel in Bali. This is a common look. All plants are real, flowers are fresh, and gardens very alive. The insects are tame because nobody has harmed them. Dragon flies will land on you sometimes in these places. Many people in Bali are Hindu and thus have a deep respect for nature and our need to live with it rather then attack and suppress it.

A shot from last year. Talk about stings, these sweat bees are named because they can land on your back thinking they will get a drink of water--if you have a shirt cover them--they will sting. Yet still a huge percentage of stings from insects and other kinds of arthropods are blamed on spiders without knowing enough. So if bit or stung--find and get what got you so you know.

The main 135mm lens on my Phoenix adapter lens system. A modified Olympus lens mount on a Olympus E-500 digital SLR took the bee shots and remains the most powerful macro system that I can use in the field. It includes not only lenses and extension tubes but bellows and a rig to hold it all together without over-loading the camera. I invented it myself after a broken lens gave me an idea. I plan to put more up about this macro system later.

I am ever-amazed at the number of incredible photos that pop-up out of nowhere no matter where you are. It would be very hard to find a place that you cannot find something interesting to work with or photograph if your gear permits.

Tiny plants on moss-- so often overlooked as people walk there dogs and jog every morning. Yet they are here. This and the above pictures are a few from the past here--I am also planning on putting up more of my Guam Bali trip. Not tonight. I am too tired.

BLACK WIDOW IN ACTION! As she captures a moth this rare opportunity to get around my personal rules about displacing species. I try to keep interference in nature to a minimum. I found her in the center of a Tennis Court She made her web under a small wheeling garbage can. She had ants and flies for food everywhere she went. I use a few simple tools to extract black widows and often it well takes over an hour. One thing always true--Black widow spider are very easy to recognize thankfully. Like the rattle snake--they do warn you and often do not go about running around without being displaced. Wood piles that have been around for years are a good place to find them--if you move things that have been sitting around dry for a long time then your likely to possibly stir-up a black widow. The females are the dangerous ones and they usually spend most of there lives in one place unless they must move. Incredible as it may seem--capture tests accidentally showed me a side to this most painful spider I never thought possible.

STINGS and bites
These little sweat bees seem harmless and are only about half the size of a normal honey bee. But they can get ugly when under your shirt. Leading anyone to think it may be anything since bees and wasps hide in all kinds of unexpected places. MORE ON WHAT I DO ABOUT BITES

These relatively small ants do not look that bad. Until you have 20, 30, 70, 100+ on you in the rain forest before you know it. They attack anything that moves or is in the way. Bite and sting with a relatively mild sting--but after being stung tens of dozens of times--it gets to be terrifying and really harsh. I was ambushed and thankfully saved my very expensive camera gear by placing it in an open area and practicing my techniques for situations like this. The tropical jungle is very dangerous. The big things are not what usually gets you. It's usually something you don't even expect or know about. These guys can be on your neck in a matter of seconds. My self discipline kicked in. I visualize and meditate about stressful situations if I think it may arise--snake bite, animal attack, bees-- I must admit that army ant's I saw take down a huge Dragon fly instantly I was not exactly ready for.

This is the Stern wheeler in Portland Or. It goes up the Columbia river from Portland towards where I live near. Hood River. I have taken it once. It is a great experience for photography and or just for the incredible views and on board things to do. If I recall, it is one of the very few real stern wheel powered ships still running. My trip was over 10 years ago but I think it is surely still great. I caught this with new Canon 10D. It's an awesome camera and I got it new in the box. The lens-- A 50mm F1.8 fixed EF II

TOMATO FLOWERS taken from my dad's plants this fall. He's got more
then he knows how to give away! Once again with my Canon 10D, I saw the awesome creative potential of that lens I just bought--a Canon EF 50mm f1.8 (Max for macro shots is an OK F22)

A HARVESTMAN. One of three creatures called the "daddy long legs". This is NOT a spider. It is a close relative. They do not spin any silk, have a one segment body, and have two eyes a top sometimes very elaborate structures looking almost like a snorkel. I will try to find more of them as I work on a more detailed shot of these incredible eyes at some point. Some species here in Oregon are HUGE! I plan to track down the large species I found once in a small town. They are your garden's garbage collectors and eat all kinds of organic stuff. They are also totally harmless. Opiliones sp. Shot with Canon 10D with F50m and extension tube.

This is sometimes called incorrectly the "funnel web spider" or grass spider. It is a fast and shy Sheet web spider. Larger adult sized versions of this spider have been FALSELY called the "Sydney funnel web spider". IT IS NOT! There are so many bad rumors about spiders I want to write a book on it to clear there name. In short--there are about 38,000 species known to science today. Many yet un-discovered and named, and only about 35 kinds out of 38,000 are marked dangerous to humans. Agelenidea sp. This shot was done with a Canon 400D EOS 70-300mm zoom, extension tube, and a few other things. And it gives you bragging-rights at having a 10mp digital SLR (uselessly stupid). One thing is for sure, the mega-pixel game is just ridiculous. Un-biased I have got to use many common digital SLRs looked at and got to use quite a few cameras. If you want to know how I feel about these subjects or what I would recommend from my own experience --write me an e-mail.

While in a car or on the train--I like to snap pictures of anything I see. I do not--and nobody should (obviously) attempt to take a picture while driving! I just said that so you know. I like old buildings and Industrial junk or constructions. They are in there own way a work of logical art.

This was taken from OHSU. I was diagnosed with a hip problem I now have to deal with sometimes. I got lucky--it's nothing to worry about. When I was there it happened to be an incredible day, perfect for pictures. Despite lack of time and being limited to my fixed 50mm lens--I was able to get allot more then I thought on this beautiful day. I have a number of shots from this trip to post once I have them ready. Click on this for 1080 size shot (From here on--less talk larger-res pics). This shot was taken with my new Canon D10 and a 50mm f1.8 EF II lens.

"Mill Creek Bridge"
This is the longest foot bridge I can think of. It lets people walk from there homes from a road near by to go to local shops and stores allot faster. It's a long ways down and even if your not afraid of heights it can be a bit weird. There are many great spiders that can only be found near creeks down here, I've shot a few of them below this bridge by Mill creek.

"A view of the birds"
I sometimes wonder how amazing birds see the world. It must be an incredible thing to just be able to lift up and go anywhere so quickly. This one found a place to rest for a while.

I have more of this one coming. This is the much-loved Argiope sp. Also called the Zigzag spider and in some places Garden spider or Banded Garden spider. These take care of allot of flies and other bugs and should be left alone. In many local parks that have been "land-locked" for lack of better words by parks--they have died off. This was taken with a Canon 400D (Rebel XTi) using an 18-55mm zoom lens and outfitted with a full battery grip that adds full. I will have more on this spider and it's close cousin coming up. I have to import all this from RAW so it takes me a while to get everything right between computers.

I am getting tired of writing long comments! Even if I do get them right I spend hours and hours correcting them until I often finally give up without proofing. They often go off on tangents and I end up not finishing them. (way to many mistakes) I can type very very fast. So this problem gets me everywhere! I nearly view typing as easy as talking; but I am not a very good writer! However, it is only based on getting the facts across. Facts are facts no matter how they get there. The only I thought you need to spell perfectly are the scientific names and terms I used to think, the rest is just getting the point across knowing that anyone with even just half a brain will understand it. I know I was just young and rebelling then, I even came up with what I thought was a more efficient way of writing! Dumb, and I stand corrected- but I type too fast I took an serious course in it and it stuck with me for some reason very well. I have considered putting a glove on one hand to slow myself down! Now I plan to change things and give you full 1080 HD sized images (actually a bit more sometimes) and allot less talk. If you have a question you can ask. Only a very short paragraph or about the photo, the name of what I photographed and possibly camera and lens setups. It's past midnight. I am falling asleep on my keyboard again.

If you see any picture that is way too dark or bright or the color seems off--let me know if you have the time. Because I am using two computers I became aware of how pictures can look different. Be sure to once again click on each image and use your Internet Explorers' back arrow button to return to my site. Click "Mostly macro's home" to get back to the start anytime. I have a great deal of work I want to do on my website and need more feedback.


dh003i said...

Perhaps you could share with us your setup on the Olympus E-500 system you use. I'm thinking of purchasing an E-520 when it comes out, and would like to know what lenses yoru using for some of these macro shots. The lenses I'm thinking about are the Olympuz Digital Zuko 35mm f3.5, 50mm f2.0, 11-22mm f2.8-3.5, and 70-300mm f4.0-5.6. I looked up "Phoenix adapter system", on Google, and got (among other things) from Amazon, Phoenix 500mm Tele Lens with 2x Teleconverter for E-system, for $200. That's an amazingly low price, but I figure there must be some compromises made (as the Oly ZD 70-300mm is $400 or so), and see that one of them was the f-number (only f/8 - f/32).

For your system, what are the lenses your using?

Gabe W. Beasley said...

Hello. Sorry that it took me so long to get back to you.
I have been having fun with my girlfriend teaching her
basic photography and stuff :-) Your question is complex
because. The “Phoenix adapter system” was my own invention!
I named it myself because of how it was built, a destroyed
lens became the key to building an awesome macro setup I
still use today!

That’s right, believe it or not I built the rig myself out of old
Pentax lenses and extension tubes and am willing
to share pics and technical info on how I did it.. It was
based on a lens that was accidentally destroyed when I
was taking pictures (one lens that came with the E-500).
I spilled Gatorade on it while taking shots using just a
dioper, something you should definitely be aware of for
macro shooting. A good 300mm long lens, can produce
stunning macro shots at only F22 (but you want more like F30+ to get good depth of field, for most of these shots however, F22 would be enough, surprisingly)
when combined with one. It is very simply allot like a one
lens hand lens and can be found at most camera shops.
You can also harvest one off a broken lens as I did with a
dermal type tool, it’s the final element of any teli-photo lens will
do,, producing varied results depending on the re-cycled
lens you use.

All I needed was the lens mount to engineer the optics
into a “super-macro” system as you can see in part the old
metal lenses in these pics. Costing me next to nothing as I
used old 1960s-1980s era Pentax lenses that DO NOT FIT the
Olympus system. Do not ever try to use another brand of type
of lens as doing so will be way too sloppy if you hold it
together and may short out the contacts on the camera that
go to the lens. So you must have a suitable adapter system.
I was able to get them to fit along with a bellows macro lens
by using the clip on lens system and overriding a few controls
on the camera and the lenses I used. Low budget is what I had
to work with and sometimes it really pays off to spend hours
experimenting and completely forgetting everything you think you
know about lenses. Learn and test. If the print works, you might be very surprised at how clean a picture you can get out of a cheap lens. Or how crappy a very expensive lens is compared to a simple cheaper setup that does the same thing! What ever you do, don‘t trust the reviews and hype over all the new gear.

Anyhow, if your still interested in learning more about my home made
lens rigs or the E-500 camera, re-using old lenses with today’s cameras,
or other such topics feel free to e-mail me at o/l/n/g/w/b AT yahoo
that address is so full of spam that I will put it up here. I will get back
to you as soon as I can. Thanks again for visiting my site. Have
you tried a dioper on a long lens? Extension tubes? If you want
great macro shots, the key is to think outside the box. Especially
if you want to save money too. Lots of old timers have gear they don’t
want or need anymore and will sell or kick down to you. All this old
stuff is still optically very sound and can as you can see, produce
great pics. People who don’t know much about optics often get
succeed into paying a fortune for what can be done better cheaper.
If you care more about what your pictures look like then your gear
and how new it is, then your ready for great pics! “Homebrew” lenses
are not something I hear much about, however.. my work with them proved very successful after many long nights and hours of experimenting, testing and reading to understand optics and how to re-use old lenses such as the ones in junk video gear or old camera lenses of nearly any kind. The idea came to me when I was 12 with an old Polaroid camera and a hand-lens. I was hooked from

Feel free to e-mail me here so we can swap info faster if you want my opinion on something or to know more about building your own. The 300 ZD lens your thinking of is not a bad deal for a 4/3rds lens. However, I got a better deal with the F5.6 all the way to F40 70-300mm for about 350 and I love it.. I ultimately choose Canon as my primary system due to price differences and availability of lenses. As well as price of other
add ones such a battery grip. I’m currently using a Canon 10D as my Primary (old but great) and a Canon
400D (RebelXTI) upgraded with the battery grip controls and stuff if I want higher res. I find 6.3mp in
RAW very good for most all of my needs if I do things right. Some pros still shoot at 4mp! One good
thing is the RAW files are only about 8mb un-like my 8mp Olympus. It’s not easy to tell the difference
between a 6mp and 8mp picture and be aware that reviews are often deceptively written in magazines and
on the internet. Photographers get paid allot of money by camera companies to bash one camera and
bring up another. Such as when one guy used the E-500 making it look like garbage in low light because
he failed to use or mention the Noise filter control and tested the camera with it turned off completely!
Of course that made it look like the Canon 20D was a much better camera! When I met a fellow photographer on a train, he was so moved by the low light and superior abilities of my E-500 that he
nearly bought one on the spot. He was used to his 20D. So don’t believe everything you read.
I’ve had actually really good luck with my 10D running at 800ISO so it’s also in technique. I am not
sure how much he knew about taking low light pics.

Teli-converters can be questionable in quality. But if high quality they can do great things. The one I
have cost over $200 but it was well worth it. I’m not an expert on photography but I definitely recommend getting that 300mm lens and a couple of extension tubes along with a dioper if you don't have the means to build your own, especially if your hooked on Olympus. Since I'd never destroy a new lens to build a project like this, I kinda discovered how well my setup worked only after the fact and got lucky. So, try to find a broken lens and you probably have the key to building a fantastic adapter setup letting you use nearly any lens you want from older manual systems which do fine for most macro shooting. A $200 or so external Sunpack regular flash can go a long ways for macro shots up to F40 or so. AT F30 your at the same level recommended by one of my spider books for most spider shots. It is nice to have a loop flash or CSI macro flash of some kind, but you gotta shell out something like $500 or more for one. A Sunpack will do fine. Consider building your own reflectors with aluminum foil and packaging tape. Just one strip can direct the flash right where you want it. I honestly have gotten some of my best macro shots with a simple home-built
extension on a compact camera that only went to F8. Not being able to shoot in RAW, F8 limits, shutter
lag which still is a problem in even the latest compact cameras put an end to most of my shots but you can
trick out a compact with the M-manual features to do some incredible things with a few old lens elements
and film cans.


Gabe Beasley
Mostly Macros
o/l/n/g/w/b at yahoo

Film Cans said...

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