Thursday, 31 July 2014

A Jumping Spider's Tummy

Regular readers of this blog will know that I rarely resist the opportunity to photograph a jumping spider. I think this individual is Sitticus pubescens, one of the more common species of jumping spider in the UK. It is also a species I find to be slightly, emphasis on slightly, more co-operative than some other species such as the Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus).

This individual posed nicely for a few images and even showed me its underside, something I've not previously photographed.

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A jumping spider's underside:


...and a couple of more conventional views:





All images taken with a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens and a diffused MT-24 flashgun.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Orange Tip Butterflies

Despite Orange Tip butterflies being quite common I've always found it surprisingly difficult to photograph them. They don't seem to be particularly plentiful at my local wildlife sites and the occasional sightings I have made typically involve them flying past with no intention of stopping.

Thankfully my luck changed this year. On a warm day back in April I visited a site and saw a number of Orange Tips on the wing and managed a few images of them feeding on Lady's Smock (Cuckoo Flower). I decided to return early the next day in the hope of finding some while they were still cool. As it turned out I found only two but they had yet to warm up and so posed nicely for me.

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The following 4 images were all taken with the aim of separating the subject from the background.

Canon 7D with Sigma 150mm lens



Canon 7D with Sigma 150mm lens



Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Olympus 60mm macro lens



Canon 7D with Sigma 150mm lens



In this image I deliberately chose to include the butterfly's habitat by shooting with a 35mm macro lens.



And finally, a couple of images of an active male Orange Tip





Saturday, 19 July 2014

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review in WPPM

My review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 together with the M.Zuiko ED 60mm macro lens has been published in the latest issue of Wild Planet Photography Magazine (WPPM). See here for more information on how to subscribe to WPPM or how to buy this latest issue.

In due course I will publish my views on this camera on this blog.



Saturday, 28 June 2014

BBC Wildlife Magazine

I'm very pleased to have another double page spread in the latest (July) issue of BBC Wildlife magazine. This time it features a habitat shot of a Common Blue butterfly.


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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Green Hairstreak Butterflies

Here are a few Green Hairstreak butterfly images taken last month with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Olympus 60mm macro lens. My review of this camera and lens will appear in the August issue of Wild Planet Photography Magazine (wildplanetphotomagazine.com) and so I'll refrain from posting my views here until that article is published.


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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Common Toads

Once the breeding activity of the Common Frogs had subsided I was pleased to discover a part of a local pond that was full of mating Common Toads. Toads can be distinguished from frogs by their warty skin, generally larger size, horizontal pupils and their preference for walking rather than hopping. However, during the mating period the other key difference between frogs and toads is their spawn - frogspawn forms large jelly-like clumps whereas toadspawn is laid in long strings.

The area of the pond that the toads were in was fairly small and contained lots of weeds, reeds and other aquatic debris so clean backgrounds were far from easy. This part of the pond also had fairly steep sides making it difficult to get the camera and tripod down to water level. For some images I took advantage of the bright light conditions and handheld the camera at water level using live view and the fold out LCD screen on my DSLR. I still managed to get a wet backside and water filled wellies!

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I found the pair below at the side of the pond:





This mating ball contains a female in the grip of 3 males. They were floating around the pond like this throughout the duration of my stay. I believe they can stay like this for several days and the females sometimes suffocate or drown.





Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Damselflies and a New Camera

In recent weeks I've had the pleasure of testing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and Olympus 60mm macro lens for Wild Planet Photography magazine. It's a mirrorless, changeable lens camera rather than a regular DSLR so is quite different (in some ways) to my usual cameras. My review will appear in a forthcoming issue of the magazine so I won't say too much here (I'll post on this blog about it in due course) but I recently had the chance to test it on my local Large Red Damselfly population.

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Here's an image of an adult Large Red Damselfly emerging from its aquatic nymph stage:




and here's an adult Large Red Damselfly: