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Miniature Monster

By RichGA
A common garden spider taken in my back garden. I had to take it using a tripod as I was too unsteady. This is the best of two photographs taken of this subject. I have used a slightly smaller aperture than my previous image, Butterfly, to ensure the whole of the subject was in focus. Should I have cropped the photograph asymetrically?

Tags: Spider close up Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Trev_B 11 151 68 England
22 Sep 2013 8:59AM
Hi Richard, The main body of the spider is very soft, it looks as if the focal point is on the legs and eyes which is ok, however your speed at 1.6 seconds is way to slow as ant movement would blur the image. Obviously the lack of light was causing this and I would have popped the flash on to over come this.


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RichGA 5 4 United Kingdom
22 Sep 2013 9:14AM

thanks for the comment. The picture was taken late in the evening in the shadow of the fence. I only have on camera flash. will see if the spider wants to be photographed again this evening!

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2024 United Kingdom
22 Sep 2013 12:46PM
This is a good effort, Richard, and I'm pleased to know you used a tripod. This is certainly spider time of the year, they are everywhere.

Your diffused background has nice gradient colours with no distractions, though there is a bit of noise there.

The spider is in a good position in the frame with all legs showing, and a good area of web all around it. When considering your composition, you just need to leave some space in front of your subject, for it to "move into", and you can be guided otherwise by the configuration of the web or angle that you want on the spider.

Try being a little more creative, place the spider on the diagonal, or shoot it from a slight sideways angle. Get the straight-on shot right first, then think about alternatives. Without negating your effort here, I have to say that taking images of insects from above tends to produce mediocre shots. For instance, looking into the face of a bug is far more interesting than looking at its back from the top down. But be aware that on a head on-shot, even at small apertures, the whole insect will not be in focus, so take care, however daft it may sound, to focus on the eyes or the head.

Unfortunately, the spider is not very sharp, so try a faster shutter speed and, if you don't shoot next time in daylight, the above advice about using flash is good. If you intend doing a lot of this type of photography, consider using a ringlight flash; this is a flashgun that is in the shape of a doughnut and fits on the end of your lens. The resulting image has an even, shadowless finish, perfect for insects as it highlights their details without creating a shadowy distraction.

I have done a modification where I have done a suggested crop, then adjusted Levels to brighten the image and add a bit more contrast. I selectively sharpened the whole of the spider and slightly softened the background to remove some of the noise.

Go to the Photography Gallery and search for "Spider On Web" to see what other members have done. See how interesting this one is on the diagonal? And this one taken from the side?

paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
22 Sep 2013 1:33PM
Need my pre prepared macro advice again. You need to be sharper and this is movement. You cannot use 1.6 sec outdoors for subjects like this as there will be movement. An absolute minimum of 1/60 even with a tripod.

Obviously the light was just too low and the lens is not ideal. Ideally you need a maximum of ISO400 too, 100 is better for such images.

More light needed. Often the only way is flash, but you could try a bright torch beam. The flash ideally also needs to be off camera as the inbuilt unit is likely to fire over the top of the subject this close. Also watch for shadows from lens hoods.

Try f11, much smaller will show lens aberrations with a zoom, a tripod, 1/100 and use your flash. You might get away with it. Focus manually and with great care.

banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3894 Canada
22 Sep 2013 1:35PM
Looking at your shot settings, the light was too low for this shot. At 6:30 ish last night, - likely quite low light.

The shutter speed on 1.6 seconds, even on a tripod, will not result on a sharp shot due to movement in the web with the slightest breeze.

The tripod ensures the camera is steady, not the subject, to you would need around 1/100 to get this sharp.

So try is again but with better light that allows you to get the speed up higher. Keep in mind too, that the 17mm end of the lens can work with a slower speed, - 1/25th for example, if you get in close enough.

If you cant get a good light opportunity, try providing the light using flash. If this spider happens to hang around, try a morning shot, - you may get dew on the web which would look great.

Pamela has also provided a lot of good advice and links, and hers another I took recently, but the light was very good. Look at the shot settings as a guide :

Keep at it, - once you understand that BOTH the camera and the subject need to be static, and that you need about 1.5 times the focal length as a minimum shutter speed, you will see a big improvement.



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