A blog about what I love….photography and bicycles!

butterfly photography

Some rather big Carpenter Bees and other stuff!!

This Christmas holiday has either been extremely wet or fiendishly hot and having just moved into our new house I have been unable to get into the field to photograph much. That said we have a new garden and I have been chasing all sorts of creatures around it.
The first, Xylocopa caffra, a fairly wide spread carpenter bee was a real challenge. They rarely sit and when that do are almost impossible to approach. These are large bees, approximately 45mm long, so the rig used was the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM and speelight set up that I usually use for field work.

The next series of photographs are of the egg and first instar larva of Junonia oenone, the Blue Pansy. The eggs were seen beeing laid on Asystasia gangetica. These photographs were taken with the MPE 65 and MT 24 EX set up. To gove an idea od scale the larva is 3,5mm long.

74582_333175003462664_1315273633_m

379414_333174980129333_165141633_n

543833_333174933462671_85350205_n

155867_333182273461937_249230969_n

66695_331040027009495_554338031_n

Advertisements

Eggs and Architecture

As everyone knows, I am a butterfly person. In the last year I have been able to get upclose with the camera and been able to photograph the eggs of a number of species of butterfly. Here are a few of the more interesting eggs that I have photographed this year. What fascinates me, from an architectural and structural perspective, is the structure of the wall of the egg to support and strengthen the entire thin walled egg. Anyway, enough geek talk, here are the photographs,a few are re-posts but interesting nevertheless. Shot with the faithful MPE65 and MT24EX combo.

The first photograph is of Eretis umbra, the Small Marbled Elf, A rather drab little Hesperid.

62124_328097407303757_276465671_n

The next photograph is the egg of the Common Mother of Pearl, Salamis parhassus, a spectacular Nymphalid found in the area (and my garden)

16820_328098860636945_1692779197_n

The third photograph is the egg of the Common Black-Eye, Leptomyrina gorgias a Lyceanid that breeds on a number of our Crassulas and other succelents.

L-gorgias-2

The last egg for the time being is that of Orachrysops subravus, the Grizzled Blue, another Lyceanid and cousin of two of our rarest butterflies O ariadne and O niobe.

O-subravus-2


A sneaky visitor and a weevil.

This last Friday I visited Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal to attend a Christmas lunch.  While on the way up I stopped off at The Aloes Nursery and brought a few plants.  I loaded them up, had lunch and then drove home.  When I was offloading the plants I found that I has an unexpected visitor, a female rain spider complete with a large egg sac.  I was able to keep her still and fire off a few photographs before putting here in a safe place to wait for the little ones to hatch.

Here are a few photos of her (portraits) all taken with the MPE 65 and MT24EX twin light set up on the Canon.

205144_322728034507361_1597015506_n

577874_322731641173667_1308728255_n

 

Yesterday I was wondering through the flowers at home and found a mating pair of weevils, the in copula shots were rather dissapointing however here are two, one taken with the 100mm f2.8 USM and the other with the MPE 65 at approximately 3x.  Both shots are lit with the MT24EX twin light. 

 

 401671_323222447791253_2121327642_n

 

484383_323217251125106_890326268_n


Back at last!!

After a rather hectis three weeks of packing, moving house, unpacking and trying to get all my butterfly collection, cycads and other plants safely into their new home I am finally able to post these images of a lynx spider and ant, the first crawlies found at my new house.  All shot with the MPE.  Nothing more now, I have an exam tomorrow but will post more little creatures from my garden soon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Some more fun wih Spiders

I have recently been posting a lot of macro images taken with the MPE 65. I have always thought that the MPE would be a lens stuck away and used occasionally. I have however found that it spend a lot more time attached to the camera. It is not a field lens but is great fun under controlled conditions. This latest set of photographs was taken with the subject (a Salticid Spider) on a piece of paper and instead of the up close and personal photographs I tried a few full body shots. The attached were all taken at either 4x (portraits) or 1,5x (full bodies). All with the MPE and MT 24 EX flash system, minimal crop.

 

 


A weekend of blues and some macro geek stuff….

 This last weekend my friend Clive Curtis and I spent some time at Wahroonga, a special piece of grasslands between Howick and Boston in the KZN Midlands.  Our hope was to film species such as Lepidochrysops pephredo (the Mooi River Blue), L tantalus (the tantalising blue), Aloeides susanae (Susans copper) and Orachrysops subravus (The Grizzled Blue).  We got to the farm at around 09h30 in the morning and there was a load of activity with specimens of O subravus and A susanae a plenty, the latter being hard to photograph as they rarely settle.  Anyway, after a few hours we had the last two on the list ticked off, along with Leptomyrina gorgias (the common blackeye) and some eggs.  We missed the first two on the list.

Anyway, here are some photographs of the insects and eggs.  The eggs were taken with the MPE 65 at maximum zoom (5x) with very little DOF so I stacked three images in each using Zerene Stacker.

The first series were takes with the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM with the 430 EX Speedlight

Image

 Orachrysops subravus, the Grizzles Blue, female 

 

Image

 Orachrysops subravus, the Grizzles Blue, female  

Image

Aloeides susanae, Susans Copper, female 

Image

 Leptomyrina gorgias, the Common Blackeye, female.

Image

 Orachrysops subravus egg, stack of three images usinfg  Zerene stacker. MPE 65 at 5x 

 Image

  Leptomyrina gorgias egg, stack of three images using Zerene stacker. MPE 65 at 5x


Some more photographs of Smaller Things

Some more photographs of Smaller Things As you all know I have been trying to master the MPE 65 lens that Canon produce and have been using it along with the MT 24 EX light system. This lens can get amazingly close and the 1,5 to 2,5X range is wonderful for smaller ants and things giving you reasonable DOF and a full image. Last weekend I decided to have a go at some ants and ladybirds. I was successful with the first and will have to go back to the ladybirds. Anyway, here are two shots of an ant on paper. I was chuffed with them.

But before we carry on I need your votes, please see http://photo.getaway.co.za/2012/03/01/salticid-red/# and vote for the AFROmacro spider

Ant shot at 1.5 x MPE

Again at 1.5x and with the MPE

And now for a few hoverflies.  The first two were shot at 3x and the last at 1 x