Whilst walking around a woodland this morning trying to photograph butterflies (I’ve used the word ‘trying’ for a reason as it was a very unsuccesful trip!!!) I entered a shadowed area of the woodland where tiny rays of light were filtering through the canopy. As I walked through, I came across a spider web that was glinting in these rays. Thinking to myself that would make a nice photograph but thinking the lighting was nowhere near enough good for photography I nearly continued on my journey. Luckily, I like a challenge and thought that the butterflies were not playing ball so decided to have a go!
If you can imagine this web was the size of a jam jar lid and the spider was about 5mm long! (I’d missed the spider at first as it was so small). This web was moving up and down at about 20mm range and backwards and forwards so I didnt think at all that any of these images would come out sharp.
So to recap… we have a small web, small spider, moving target and low light…. all great conditions for macro photography! 😉
Anyway, I perservered and I’m glad I did.
Due to the low light I had to boost the ISO up to 2000 and because I wanted a fairly fast shutter speed I decided to use a large aperture of f/3.5 giving me a resulting shutter speed of 1/200 sec. Due to the background being so dark, I knew from experience that the camera would expose off this, instead of the 5% of the frame that the spider occupied. If I had photographed this at 0 compensation the image would have been completely over exposed as the camera would have metered for the background resulting in a very slow shutter speed giving me a glowing bright white spider and web. Instinct took over and I knew that I had to reduce the exposure compensation by at least -2. Trial shots resulted in me dialing in – 2 1/3 compensation to get a correct exposure on the spider and web, plunging the background into darkness.
The ray of light was so small that I actually missed the shot as sorting the camera out and finding the correct settings had left the spider in shadow. I now had to wait for the next ray of light to come and light the web up. After a 15 minute wait (and following several rays of light across the woodland floor hoping for it to have the right track to the web) I finally had what I had seen in the first place with the web being spot lit by a tiny single ray of light. I’m so glad I waited as for me, this image is probably one of the best I’ve taken. For me, I would probably put it down to luck as it could have gone completely the other way but I’m really glad I stopped to try and achieve what I was seeing. Regardless of how difficult a situation may be, I think this proves there can always be a happy ending. 😉
This image is better viewed larger so please click on the image.
Spider, Worcestershire, July, 2012.
Canon 5d MK3 and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens.
1/200s @ f/3.5, ISO 2000 and -2 1/3 E/V
Since I became a freelance photographer, I have been visiting RSPB, Wildlife trusts, nature groups and camera clubs presenting my work in the form of digital slideshows.
I have just updated a new page for this blog purely for details on my talks.
If you know of any group within the UK (or abroad) who is after any speakers for your clubs then please ask them to get in touch. They can get in touch with me directly here: http://www.ianbutlerphotography.co.uk/contact.php
Details of the talks I offer can be found on my talks page at the right hand side of the header above or if you want to go straight to the link please click here:
Looking forward to hearing from you. 😉
Another image from the London Wetland Centre, this time a male Tufted Duck enjoying a brief moment of sun.
Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, London Wetland Centre, April, 2012.
Canon 5d Mk3 with Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens.
Todays image is of Ring necked Parakeet at the London Wetland Centre. Since the sun wasn’t playing ball and the sky was very overcast I decided to overexpose the image by +3 stops causing the white clouds to become completely bleached out, but rendering the bird the correct exposure, leading to this high contrast image.
Ring-necked Parakeet, Psittacula krameri, London Wetland Centre, April, 2012.
Canon 5d Mk3 with Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS II
I flushed this heron whilst walking around the reserve and unfortunately for the heron it flew straight towards a coot nest. The adult coots then proceeded to launch a full scale attack on the heron for being too close to the nest. The heron then had to change direction quickly, which ultimately lead to the heron slowing down and landing about a foot away from the coots nest, which lead the coots to become even more aggresive because of this. In the end the heron flew past me instead of the coots which in my opinion was the safest option in the first place! Whether the heron thought that the coots would be more concerned about me and tried to take one of the coot chicks or whether it was just an honest mistake I dont know. It happened extremely quickly and this is the one of the images of the pair of coots scolding the heron! 😉
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea and Coot Fulica atra, London Wetland Centre, April, 2012.
Canon 5d Mk3 and 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens.
Image 125 is a female Mute Swan on her nest. With the torrential rain we’ve had recently I hope this nest has survived as she was sitting on 4 eggs whilst I was there.
Mute Swan, Cygnus olor, London Wetland Centre, April, 2012.
Canon 5D mk3 with 300mm f/2.8 L IS II lens.
On another part of the London Wetland Centre, this pair of Coots were rearing 4 chicks. The adult male was always bringing little bits of food back for the sitting female and the chicks. Occasionally it would bring back extra strips of reed as nesting material. It would very gently hand it to the female and this is the tender moment of this offering.
Coot, Fulica atra, London, April, 2012.
Canon 1D mkIV with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.