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By Hop-A-Long  
Good morning everyone.

This morning I am uploading a little fella that I found under a leaf, he didn't really want his portrait taking as he shot off as soon I had snapped this one.

I started photography a decade ago this year. my Brother-in-Law gave me a Nikon F301 SLR which was destined for a car boot. I immediately got the bug. I started out photographing mainly birds, but soon wanted more. As much as I love shooting film and still do I find it very limiting with regard to seeing the end result and after alot of failures due to my subjects not wanting to sit still for more than a second or two I reluctantly started to consider a DSLR.
My wife bought me my first DSLR which was a Nikon D40 6mp, I got it home with its 18-55mm kit lens and couldn't wait to start shooting. This opened up a whole new world for me. I fitted the Tamron 70-300mm to it that came with the F301 and started shooting birds again, finally I found where I was going wrong, mistakes were instantly seen and could be rectified quickly. Shortly after the new DSLR my wife came home with a Nikon 70-300mm, this was amazingh, crystal clear, lighter than the Tamron, auto focus and vibration reduction. My bird photography went to a new level.
I was out photographing birds one morning when I spotted a small fly in the long grass, I tried to get a good shot of it using my kit lens, it was no good, so I tried again using the 70-300mm and bingo, I got a sharp photo of it. It was then began to get intrigued by the world of macro.
Experimentation followed, forstly macro filters which enabled a lens to focus at closer distances, then a teleconverter to boost the magnification. Lighting was the next thing, soft boxes, flashes, led lights, torches, the list goes on and the collection of equipment grew.
I then heard of a technique whereby a lens is reversed. Ebay search was immediately hit and a reversing ring purchased. When it arrived I instantly grabbed a prime 50mm lens, attached the ring to the filter thread and then to the cameras bayonet connector. What a funny sight seeing the lens attached the wrong way round for the first time was. "Surely this can't work" I thought. You know what, it did. The magnification was ridiculous.
Over time I strived for better quality pictures which meant moving from the experimentation and buying a dedicated macro lens. Hello Mr Sigma 50mm macro. What a fantastic lens, although as it was attached to a D40 it had no autofocus, not really a problem as experience has taught me to move the camera backwards and forwards to focus so close rather than rely on the auto system.
Eventually I started a Foundation Degree in Photography and Digital Imaging at University. The course was a Pass/Fail course, I completed it with a Pass and an additional Commendation for my efforts.
During the Degree my wife once again treated me and a Nikon D300 arrived at my house, wonderful camera, however it was yet again a new learning curve. The D300 unlike the D40 was more susceptible to camera shake, so steadier hands were needed. The D300 also allowed the Sigma 50mm Macro to autofocus, I found that I actually switched it off and continued to move the camera.
For alot of years I had been using a video tripod that I had found in a second hand shop for 50p and adapted it for my own purpose. It was also during the Degree that I arrived home to find a new tripod and ball head had arrived.
I was now photographing everything, all genres including studio work with classmates and family as models. I was also using film once again, this time though I was processing it myself. Another new camera arrived, my pride and joy of film photography, a Bronica ETRSi medium format camera. I had searched Ebay for a good 2nd hand one for a reasonable price. Eventually one appeared and I won it. It arrived the following day, I could not believe my eyes, it was literally brand new in its box. The guy I had bought it off owned a photography equipment hire company. They were selling off the old stock and anything that hadn't been used for a long time. He told me this Bronica had been purchased, one roll of film had been run through it to test it and then it had never been hired out, it just sat in its box on a shelf.
Eventuallystill during my degree I wanted to upgrade my DSLR and I purchased a Nikon D700 as I wanted full frame as well. At the same time I replaced some of my lenses, one of which was the Sigma 50mm Macro, its replacement is a very nice Nikon 105mm Micro.
After my degree I found myself absolutely exhausted, both mentally and emotionally, some of my fellow class mates did as well. One actually sold all his gear and vowed never to own a camera again. I had lost the love for photography, the pressures of the degree deadlines and strictness of subject matter had removed the fun that was there before and even though I tried to pick the camera up again after the degree on several occasions, there just wasn't the drive that had once been there. The equipment remained dormant in the cupboard for a long time.
Then my Grandson was born, this sparked me back into life with the camera, not completely, but just enough to get things moving again and remind me why I loved it in the first place.
Late last year I really got the bug again and out came all the gear. I am now enjoying my photography sessions again, although they are not as often as before, but as there is no pressure like there was on the degree I can once again immerse myself in my own little bubble when out and about with a camera in my hands and let the world pass me by. Macro is still my first love in photography genres, but it is closely followed by land/seascapes especially sunrises and I have begun photographing wildlife and birds again.

Thanks for looking and for any comments or votes you may leave.

Tags: Macro Web Spider Insect Close up Leaf Arachnid Wildlife and nature

Voters: Chinga, KarenFB, CarolG and 18 more

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Chinga Plus
12 112 3 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 11:59AM
Well I liked the write up and I think the macro is "horribly" good! A great story...
As for your image: Good angle, good pose and amazing details...
Isabel GrinGrin
KarenFB Plus
16 5.9k 184 England
12 Jan 2017 12:11PM
I love macro photography and the resulting details we can see upon our screens - so much can be seen................there's no way I'd get so close to a spider that I could count all its beady eyes!!
CarolG 16 199 20 Greece
12 Jan 2017 12:29PM
A super capture, Andy, I can see all of his 8 eyes so well Smile Glad to hear that the photography bug has bitten you again.
nonur 14 18 13 Turkey
12 Jan 2017 12:43PM
A complete story of your life related to photography, and I enjoyed reading it a lot, Andy. Amazing capture of this critter. I have some of the gear, even a rail to get a good focus, but I keep refraining from macro. I seem to lack the desire.
woolybill1 Plus
16 39 79 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 1:01PM
A Photographer's Life all in one go!
I love film cameras, it's the darkroom work that I'm happy to have relinquished. Now that Kodak are considering re-launching Kodachrome I could be very tempted, though I don't actually own a film camera any more, My bank manager has been told that there's a nice Nikon or two for sale at really exciting prices; like the best bank managers, she just smiles sweetly and says nothing. Okay, sometimes the smile isn't as sweet as all that.
Anyway, This is an extremely fine, true and faithful photograph of one of the most horrible creatures I can imagine. It's about 14 inches wide according to my monitor. It could be bugging me for a while longer WinkWinkWinkWinkWink

Wonderful that you've got your mojo back, though!

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 1:24PM
It's good to have the update. We all find our way along by different routes, and it's easy to get burn-out. The thing is though, most of us come back eventually...
You've settled back as though you were never away.
12 Jan 2017 2:01PM
Yuck! But so clear and bright.
12 Jan 2017 4:14PM
Excellent capture ***** SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile
Mike_Smith Plus
15 949 2 United Kingdom
13 Jan 2017 12:23AM
Cracking macro capture, sharp and detailed. But I enjoyed reading your narrative thoroughly, it's amazing just how much equipment we all get through over the years. Keep up taking pictures and enjoy
jaktis 18 84 Sweden
13 Jan 2017 7:23PM
What a scary close up

Rende 15 38 4 Netherlands
15 Jan 2017 2:02PM
Excellent detail and angle!

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