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Todays Photo Tip

Its amazing what you find when you least expect it. Some distractions are worth having. I had numerous jobs to do today but this distraction came along. A Spiny Orb Weaving Spider (gasteracantha vittata) to be precise. I’ve never seen one before so I stopped what I was doing and got my camera.

I found this little guy today while moving some outdoor furniture. A brightly coloured Yellow & Black striped spider. After grabbing some photos and finding out some information about this spider, I thought I would put him (or her) up on the blog.

Taken with Canon EOS 7d + 100mm f2.8 Macro. 1/400th sec @ f8 1600ISO. Used a 580ex II + an Orbis Flash modifier. I used High Speed sync and Servo Focus to catch him as he was 2 meters above the ground and I was balancing on a stool to get close to him. It’s funny that I teach people the right way to stand and hold their camera but I don’t take my own advise. However there are some times when circumstances dictate what is the only way.

Familiararity with your equipment allows you the opportunity to adapt as required. Especially when your not in control of your environment. When I realised this guy was out of reach I knew that the camera has going to have to help me get the shot. Normally I would shoot this on Aperture Priority and let the camera decide sync speed and balance the exposure for me. Everytime I checked the exposure I saw that the spider’s movement was not being frozen. High Speed sync was the only answer. To darken the background slightly I had to change the Shutter Speed until I was happy with the result. My only problem was maintaining focus. This is where choosing Servo Focus was called for. I wasn’t able to maintain a perfect balance while standing on a stool. With the camera in a mode that was allowing it to detect motion, mostly mine, thereby the camera was able to maintain a focus on the spider most of the time. Out of approx 120 images only 1 image was out of focus, I got plently of images where the camera focused forward or backwards of the spiders body, but I have a feeling that was more to do with me than the camera.

When faced with a difficult photographic situation, don’t think it’s too hard, try different modes and techniques. One is bound to work.

Happy Shooting

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