In The World Of Macro: A New Adventure In Photography

The summer sun shown warm on the mesquite covered rangeland as I walked around the stock tank in search of anything that might present an acceptable photographic  subject. Stopping at a small mesquite shrub near the waters edge, I noticed a flurry of activity within the limbs and leaves. Robber flies, rather intimidating looking insects, were busily flying about, some appearing to be in hot pursuit of other insects and actually making successful captures from time to time. Grabbing my camera with a macro lens attached, I began watching closely and was amazed to discover that these wonderful insects were actually capturing wasps, deer flies and other flying brethren for the purpose of having a feast! After making the capture, the robber fly would land on a branch and proceed to stab its proboscis into the thorax of the victim and for the next few minutes  literally suck the body fluids from its prey before dropping the desiccated carapace to the ground. For the next several hours I had a great time in photographing these fascinating creatures as well as developing an appreciation for their tiny world and the fight for life and death within.

A patternless diamondback rattlesnake draws back in the defensive mode as I pull in tight with a Canon 70-200 f2.8 L and Kenko extension tubes and Canon 5D Mark II.

 

 

The macro world is an often overlooked aspect of photography that can be both an educational tool as well as an alternate source of subject matter that is most fascinating to the readership.

 

I purchased my first macro lens in the late 1970’s in a Canon FD 50mm f3.5 with an extension tube. In order to facilitate working in low light conditions I also purchased a ring light which would enable me to work in situations ranging from total darkness to normal lighted locations. Although having started my photographic career with longer lenses and bigger subjects in mind, the side trip to macro introduced me to a world easily as wild as the larger four legged quarry and, despite the small critters occupying that niche, quite barbaric in nature!

A robber fly takes a moment of respite on a limb while "sipping" some juice from an unfortunate fly. Canon F1N and Canon 50mm f3.5 Macro with ring light.

 

Many budding photographers find that the cost of a macro lens is a bit prohibitive but alternatives are there and most affordable. A set of extension tubes will cost less than 200.00 and allow photographers to utilize even the more common lenses that come attached to cameras when purchased. Go to your favorite camera outlet and order up a set of three “Extension Tubes”, my favorite being Kenko, and experience a whole new aspect of photography! Be sure and specify the manufacture of your camera when ordering. A sturdy tripod will be essential as camera shake must be held to a minimum when working at such a close and personal distance. Enjoy!!

A deceased diamondback rattler is posed for this shot showing the utensils used in capturing its prey. Canon F1N and Canon 100mm Macro f4.0 lens. Vivitar 285 strobes placed beneath and above the snake.

 

A weaver spider sets up shop in a prickly pear. Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 180mm f4.0 lens with extension tubes.

 

A beautiful spiderwort blossom shimmers in the overcast light of day. Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 180mm f4.0 lens.

 

A vibrant Claret cup cacti blossom contrasts with the rocky background. Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 180mm f.40 Macro lens.
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7 Responses to In The World Of Macro: A New Adventure In Photography

  1. LuAnn V Lambright says:

    As always this was beautiful as well as good information on taking pictures. So much happens that the vast majority of people never see it.Thank you again for enticing me into the wonderful world of nature and its beauty

  2. David Wallace says:

    I really enjoyed your macro photos on this edition of your newsletter! I just picked up a Canon F2.8/L 100mm macro for my camera body, and it is amazingly sharp. I hope I can get photos 1/10th as good as yours.

  3. Jim Miller says:

    Beautiful work, Wyman. Macro is a fun world to work in, especially with subjects that are willing to be flexible with their circle of fear. The robber fly is pretty.

  4. Arlon says:

    Lovely photos but I would hardly call them “macro”. The term macro means at least 1:1 ratio of subject size to image size on a 35mm film/slide. These are wonderful “close ups” but they are not macro.

  5. Robert Flanders says:

    That little blue flower ain’t a spiderwort…it’s a dayflower.

  6. Hi Wyman, I do believe that is a dayflower. I really enjoyed our day together at the 06 Ranch and at the Shooting West Texas Symposium. I am enjoying the books “Under one Fence”, “Texas Rivers” and “Texas Hill Country” very much. I missed getting your email to send you photos of you and the group at the 06 Ranch and if you drop me a line I will forward them to you. I will say hello to Jack and Wilmuth Skiles for you when I see them next. Really enjoyed the shoot at the 06 with you. Emile

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