Behind the scenes: Cost-cutting your way towards spider super-macros

It would seem a theme is emerging as for this weeks behind the scenes I am continuing the trend of focusing on all things macro. Firstly however, I will open with a tip: buy a magnifying glass now. Why? Let me explain……

Having thought about an experimental technique for a while, I was keen to give it a go. My aim was to spend as little money as possible when trying to give the impression of a semi super macro within an image. What I worked out was that buy holding a magnifier in front of a macro lens, I could force a different focus point allowing more detail to be captured. What I didn’t account for however was distortion.
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As magnifiers are most effective when a certain distance from the subject and are not generally used when capturing still images, it was very tricky to work out the point at which the distortion disappeared. However, through trying a few different set-ups (magnifier on lens/closer to subject etc) I found the right point and moved outside to begin to use my new technique in a more challenging situation.

Outside the challenge became even trickier outside as branches and stems swayed in the breeze causing my main subject, a tiny garden spider to move continuously. Not to be deterred by this, I persevered and after finding the right spot, and the breeze settling down, the rewards began to arrive.

On moving further around the garden, more garden spiders were found in different contexts, including the area shown here. Just look how tiny it is!! (then click here to see the macro)

Admittedly it may be that a decent macro lens with extension tubes etc produces a better quality image, but can you really complain when all the images shown here were captured through the use of a £10 magnifying glass? I certainly can’t.


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