Saturday, October 23, 2010


I really wanted to make a sort of new look to Mostly Macros.  For one thing I changed the intro picture and I will probably start doing one article at a time on one subject at a time since that is how blogger sets things up now.  I have some personal stuff to take care of but I eventually want to start putting up more pictures.   I also wish to join local photo clubs and learn more about art and photography sometime in the near future.   I also plan to do more on line once I get a new full featured computer.  That may be a while, so for now emails and responses as well as posts may be a bit slow.  I apologize for that and hope nobody takes it personally.   I guess I kinda got caught behind in technology everybody has all these avatars and large social networks being on a low budget I do not even have a cellphone at this time.

I want to first apologize for not updating my blog for a long time!  I know there are some people here who do read or at least look at the pictures!  I am very glad for feedback and comments.  Please keep them coming and be sure to email them to me or leave them as comments here as I need to rebuild my Facebook account.  When my only laptop crashed I was without much of a computer to spend the time necessary to prepare and post pictures on this site the way I would like to.  I finally saved enough for a Mini HP Netbook which is just powerful enough setup photos for this site and move them off my camera but I cannot yet edit them with Photoshop as I still do not have a computer powerful enough to run even an older version.  Money is tight right now.   Without needlessly going into personal detail, we have had one thing after the next come up.  I also feel bad because due to current situations I have not been keeping up with emails either.  Sorry about that--I did not forget about you-- if I don't email you quickly again, please don't take it personally there is a lot going on in my life right now.   Back to photography--

 This spider is probably related to the Tetragnathidae.  They often have huge jaws and are found near water. My wife and I walked up to Forest Park where I shot most of these pictures.   This species is known for locking jaws during mating.  I got some great shots of this female.  She did not have a web and was just wondering around.  These pictures were taken with my D90 using a 50mm manual lens at usually F16-F22 and extension tubes.  I have found that shooting down below ISO200 can sometimes produce great detail even in newer digital cameras.

This species often elongates it's body to blend in.  Here it can be seen in most of these shots on a typical wire fence link.  These species are yet another virtually harmless species.

The power of macro can be seen here as a link in a regular fence seems to be a large metal wire.   Eyes are visible here, be sure and click on picture for larger view and use your back arrow to return to the site. 

 These are all the same spider shot up at Forest Park.  Blogger has changed the way pictures are uploaded so in the future I will probably do individual articles on individual species or subjects.

A combination of cropping can often make good results but using a macro lens or a series of extension tubes and a good diopter lens can produce really nice super closeups.   I recently discovered a new way to use my extension tubes to get even closer.

I just kept shooting shot after shot, using an SB600 external flash in manual mode.  I often compensate for not being able to afford a macro flash by adding reflectors made out of aluminum foil laminated with clear packaging tape and secured to my flash and camera with strong Velcro. 

A typical pose for a Tetragnathidae, often found hanging like this near a loose orb web over water.  A really interesting species. Be sure to click for larger view and use <-- back arrow in your browser to return to this site.

 Another closeup, I can even get closer then this but I need to use other equipment I did not have with me in the field.  I shot this on a sunny day right out in the open in the park.   It looks like it was taken at night or in the dark because my f-stop was so high that only flash light was visible.   Most of my macro shots are done   above F22.

Here  you can clearly see the chelicera and the clearly female palps.  Male spiders have bulbs that look like boxing gloves (almost all species of spiders) on there palps.

 Another comprehensive view, I got so many great shots of this spider I was not sure which ones to post and had to leave many of them out.  I still am trying to find out what I can do with my work on spiders--what site I should post them on--and where to go if and when I shoot something that might contribute to science.  I have a lot to do on the internet!

I was holding about 5 pounds of camera and my wife was great because she was watching out for me as I took these pictures which require complete concentration.   So she was very helpful watching some of my gear and the area where I was shooting.   Even with live-view, often I find myself with macro shots looking through the old view finder as I am used too.   When ever you have a large expensive camera that is not insured and your on a really low budget you get nervous about what people might thinking. 

This is another species, probably a Linyphiidae, there is a few species here and I want to find out more about them.  They are one of the only species I've ever photographed mating.   Luckily people are usually passive when your a photographer and do not get upset thinking your photographing them or something.  I have a funny story I will tell you in an the next article I post that happened right here.  Shooting spiders often looks strange because you go into shady places to find them.  In parks however, this is usually not a problem but you never know what else might happen or people might think when your taking pictures.  I lost count how many times I've had my ID ran by the cops!  I understand that--it's protocol if you walk around with a camera.  But really, usually people who are doing drugs or planning crimes are not walking around using large complex and expensive cameras!  I wish I had some kind of shirt or "pass" so people know I am a photographer and not a criminal. 

 Another shot of what is probably a Linyphiidae.

 The famous and well known garden spider--Araneus diadematus.  There are variations in abdominal colors which I am interested in as well as shades of body color.  Could this be "races" of the species?

Many of these shots were done with an older Zoom lens.   70-210mm.   I really like Nikon because the older 35mm manual optical lenses.   I don't have any but I have read and been told even the auto-focus lenses from the 80s operate on the higher end Nikon digital SLRs.  (D90 and above).   I often get great results using the manual older sometimes bargain lenses.   They can lack depth of field because they max out at F22 or so, but that is usually enough for a great spider picture.   Canon unfortunately changed there format so it is not possible to use older Canon non-digital lenses.   This was one serious reason that after I lost nearly all of my gear in our house fire last year-- I decided to start over with Nikon as my SLR system.    I saved for almost a year after the fire on my budget to get a D90 but it is a camera I would definitely very much recommend.   I have been told that the optics in the older 35mm lenses are often higher quality then the optics in the new and even very expensive digital lenses and I believe it.  So the manual focus part and manual adjustment might be worth it!  Don't get me wrong, I loved my Canon cameras which performed very well.  There are just many more lens possibilities with Nikon which can make it a good choice especially if you want to take awesome pictures and don't have the money for expensive new of gear.

This one is obviously and definitely a Linyphiidae.  They spin the glossumer (spider silk strands seen in the summer sunlight) seen in the summer time and are probably the most common spider in this area and one of the most common spiders in the temperate world.

 Linyphiidae from another angle, they build an upside down dome shaped web where they catch many types of insects that we consider pests.  They are totally harmless to humans in and in fact I have never even heard of someone being bit by one.

 I am not sure but I think this is also a Linyphiidae species.

My wife was really great being there for me while I spent hours taking these pictures in Forest park.  I love it there and spent many summers with my grandparents up there.  By the time I got to this species I was a bit too tired to take lots of descriptive shots.  My new lens system should allow for better shots that will let me definitely identify more species I photograph or at least get closer.

The webs of Araneus diadematus are among the most well known and seen this time of year.  These in the sun looked awesome.  It should be noted that this species is also harmless.  Getting bit from what I have heard is not only very difficult but if by some chance you do get bit it's not even as bad as a bee sting.  I have never heard of anyone having a serious reaction to this very common and non-aggressive species which is critical in controlling the mosquito and fly population.

 Side view of a probably ready to lay eggs female Araneus diadematus.

 I really liked this large female, she had made a really good living catching insects here near by a lunch place my wife and I ate at.  I took some ultra close up shots of her and noticed like some others both here and in other spots--she has slightly different body colors.

 Some extra large shots of the Araneus diadematus with pray.  She had no problem walking about with her catch and doing a few things while I took some closeup shots.

 A new lens configuration I did not know I could use lets me shoot close pictures at subjects at even further distances with my gear.  Instead of being 1 or 2 inches away I can shoot quality close up macro shots in a "teli-macro" kind of concept from up to more then a foot away.

 This makes detailed shots like this far more easy.   She did not seem to mind however even when I got close.  I noticed her color was a bit shifted.  Some are more red then others.   She is very healthy and almost certainly ready to lay her egg sack.

 I got lucky here and was able to get a good shot as she moved by waiting and watching her for over an hour and a half.   Notice the color differences.   This is the exact same species but she almost seems to have some colorations similar to that of the related species the Shamrock spider.

 She gripped her pray and holds it.  Some people think how spiders eat is gross.   Killing with venom and then enzymes that break down tissues so that mostly the pray item can be drank down.  We feed cattle the remains of slaughtered cattle (forced cannibalism which causes mad cow disease), raise them in horrible conditions with no room to move, milk them until they bleed, feed them with toxins and groth hormones, prod them with electricity--not even alow them to mate naturally and we somehow think that we have the right to say "spiders are gross".  If people knew the truth behind most foods they eat and how bad it really is--they would think spiders are the humane ones.  I'm sorry if that makes some parents upset by me mentioning this morbid topic--but people need to know the truth about such things and not judge other animals.  By far human beings can be the worst and most disgusting animals of all.  When I first heard how they treated cows and other animals I refused to believe it--then after doing research and seeing things for myself I had no choice.  It's sad but true--spiders are far more human with there pray then we are.

More views, I could not get enough of how this female seemed to enjoy the sun and posing for my lens.

 I thought I'd ad a few views here showing some of the best shots--maybe a few too many but I really liked this spider.  She moved around a lot for me so that I could photograph her without me having to do anything.

Araneus diadematus with pray.   A beneficial and harmless web building spider.

Here is where the Araneus diadematus gets interesting.  This is another one found just a short distance away eating a bee-mimicking fly.   This one clearly has a darker skin pigment.  I want to figure out how and exactly why they have different colored markings in the same species that can change so much sometimes they nearly look like a sub-species.

Three Araneus diadematus webs stood out in the afternoon sun.  This is a harmless and beneficial species, I can't stress to people enough that they are not only harmless but should be left alone and treated with respect because they help keep the mosquito and fly population under control. 

 Another one, this one photographed at Forest Park.  The markings do change and appear different yet again in this one.

 I was going to delete this from the post but I thought I'd show one more time one of the more interesting spiders I found on a walk with my wife to Forest Park.

Yet another view of probably a Linyphiidae again.   With new lens configurations eyes can be counted and I will be better able to identify species.   Next article will be about an American house spider with babies I recently photographed.  She has laid 3 egg sacks.   They are not as common so whenever I find one I get excited.  coming soon next time to Mostly Macros.   I want to thank my wife for her on going support and help in my efforts and photography.

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