Thursday, December 16, 2010

The smallest subjects {New Braunfels Photographer}

Howdy folks, Jayme here again. We've already had several freezes here as winter makes its gradual approach, but the other day a flash of bright green on one of Lisa's rose bushes caught my attention. Looking closely, I was more than a little surprised to discover an automeris io caterpillar munching on some rose leaves (it was chilly, so it was munching very slowly!). These little fellows grow up to be beautiful io moths:


We have more than our share of caterpillars around the house, but this is the first I've ever seen this species outside of a book. It's got impressive tufts of defensive spines that will give you a nasty sting if you touch it, and rad white-and-maroon racing stripes running the length of its body. I instantly became obsessed with photographing it. I grabbed the 5D and my makeshift macro lens--a Nikon 50mm 1.8 AI-S mounted on a reversing ring--and set to work.


It ended up taking two days to get shots I was happy with. The little caterpillar was shy, and kept hiding its head in a defensive position. The chilly wind didn't help, nor did the heavy shade on that side of the house. I finally set up a strobe with a diffuser about 8 inches to the right, with a reflector to the left and after a good bit of waiting, captured some images I was happy with.

The thing I absolutely love about macro photography is that it opens up an entirely new world that we can't otherwise see. Look at the caterpillar's spines: You can actually see the tiny, venom-filled needles extending from the spines. And the hairy feet (caterpillars have hobbit feet? Who knew?). And the yellow spotting on its face, which simply looks like a uniform green to the naked eye. Photography is a window into another world, and I can hardly wait to look through it and discover new wonders!

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