Devigner blog about development and design

Entomology and Macro Photography

Wikipedia defines entomology as “that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented”, or “the scientific study of insects”. I don’t claim to be a entomologist, nor do I cut the little guys into pieces but I do like to get out with my macro gear and teach myself something about nature, below my natural line of sight.

John Deere

There’s a lot of enjoyment in finding a landscape shot that make an impact on you and your peers. It’s addicting and challenging in its own right. But there’s also another world out there that most of us, photographers or not, allow to go unnoticed.

Baby Frog

[Tiny Frog: Roughly 1/4" in length]

I shoot my macro photography with my Nikon D80 and a Tamron 90mm macro. To get uberclose, I will stack Phoenix extension tubes and I always use strobes, usually two. A Nikon SB600 and a Nikon SB26, one on the shoe and one hand-held.

h3. A Story of Discovery

A few months back, a neighbor’s little girl was playing with a home-made aquarium filled with creek water and sediment that was home to a crayfish. In order to show off her crayfish to the crowd it was easier to dump the aquarium on the sidewalk instead of chancing a pinch or two from the “little lobster”. While we watched the crayfish I noticed a tiny pebble start to walk away. Not only was it odd, but the pebble was about 3/16 of an inch in length; impossible to determine what was happening. In order to figure out what was making the rock walk, I broke out the camera gear and used the macro lens and tubes as a microscope. I was able to lure the little creature out of what I thought was a pebble.

Caddisfly Larva

[Caddisfly Larvae: 3/16" long]

I got off about half a dozen shots and still had no idea what this thing was until Graeme Mathieson was kind enough to have a relative of his identify it for me through a Twitter conversation. Turns out that it was a Caddisfly Larvae in it’s early stages. If you’re still unaware of what a Caddisfly is, it’s what fly fisherman model their flys from.

You can see my entire set of this tiny creature in my Flickr stream. Sorry that my glass was a little dusty at the time but I wasn’t planning on shooting anything so I didn’t take the time to clean.

My case in point is simple. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, high and low. You might just learn something new and might get a little enjoyment out of the experience.