Little things mean a lot

In our new garden in Worcester we are still learning about what plants and wildlife we have.  Putting to one side the squirrels that drop bits of part-chewed walnuts (and squirrel spit!) all over our cars on the drive, there are some interesting insects around, like this Bronze Shield Bug.

Some of you will know about Levon Biss’ fantastic “Microsculpture” exhibition where the utter beauty of insects was spectacularly displayed via huge prints.  I don’t have access to the kit he used, but I do have a macro lens, some extension tubes and a camera that does in-camera focus stacking.  This straight down shot, where I am parallel to the main body of the insect to help with depth of field, captures the textures of the carapace etc, but it’s a bit disguised against the wood of the garden table.

I went and got some black perspex to try and get a more neutral background.  The perspex still had its protective film on which was reflecting the sky.  It was a bit of a gloomy day, so I also had brought out my 64-LED light panel to help give me a shorter shutter speed.  The light reflected off the protective film giving me a white background.  The insect now stands out much more, despite the complication added by the shadows.

On another morning I spotted a pigeon feather that had been caught in a cobweb on a garden chair.  I moved the chair so that the morning sunlight shone through the feather, and so that the background was dark to give good contrast.  The strength of the cobweb, given its delicacy, is amazing, and the structure of the feather is likewise.

Just a couple of small things, but the beauty can be captured with a macro lens and a bit of light.

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