Posts Tagged ‘macro’

Nature Feature, Feb. ’19: Hayath and the world of many legs

February 8, 2019

For a while now, the world of insects and spiders has begun to be revealed to everyone, through the medium of photography. As the micro-sized creatures are captured through macro photography, stunningly weird-looking creatures appear on social media feeds, making us feel that these, surely, are beings from a different planet!

No, these creatures are not “out of this world” at all. It’s just that their tiny size prevents us from seeing them in detail. Another reason why we know little about them is that they are often so well camouflaged, as leaves, bark, or other natural phenomena, that we overlook them completely.

Hayath Mohammed is one young man who, even as a child, was drawn to these smaller living beings. “I would walk around in the garden and find enough to interest me and keep me occupied,” he says. He invested in a camera to be able to document what he saw.

His parents have been supportive of his interest in these many-footed creatures, he adds. Indeed, he says, “My mother likes to go birding with me, and since she has also observed the various kinds of spiders and insects, she’s very understanding about my fascination for them”.

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An Antlion, one of the creatures Hayath showed me

He joined several fora for various insects, and soon learned to distinguish bugs from beetles, hoppers from weevils, and wasps from flies. “I tend to only think of their scientific names, not their common ones, as the common names tend to be generic,” he remarks. “When I talked about a Signature Spider, for example, I would quickly be asked which kind I meant, so I quickly learnt the specific scientific names.”

During the course of our short walk together in Doresanipalya, he did bring out quite a lot of these names for the spiders. Arachnura, Argiope, Cyclosa, the names rolled off his tongue,but didn’t quite roll into my ear as easily!

On the photography front, too, Hayath says, it’s been a big ride. “I got started with a Sony point and shoot gifted by my uncle.” he says. “I used that for a while before moving to a Sony H2.”Since then,” he adds, “I’ve moved to a Canon DSLR system and then, recently, to the micro four thirds Olympus system. My current macro equipment costs around Rs 50,000 in total.” Certainly, if it should be counted as a hobby, it’s quite an expensive one!

But more than a hobby, it’s a matter of a passionate pursuit for Hayath. “Macro photography can be extremely satisfying as a genre, ” he remaks. One need not spend so much, he adds. According to him, there are several low budget options to get started:

1. Clip on lenses for smart phones
2. Reversing short focal length lenses on an existing DSLR
3. Using a Raynox DCR 250 clip-on diopter for telephoto lenses and bridge cameras.

But sooner or later, one does wind up investing larger amounts of money to get the perfect image! “Proper use of light plays an important role in making good images, as with any other genre of photography,” he is quick to point out. He uses a Rs.5 thermocole Hi board as a light diffuser with his expensive flash equipment! So the combination of expensive equipment and cheap “jugaad” works well for him.

Here is Hayath, looking around at the trees, the leaves (on, around, and under them!) with his equipment, for the various creatures that he finds so interesting, and photographs so well.

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Here is his incredibly beautiful image of a Cicada:

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Photo: Hayath Mohammed

Let’s wish Hayath every success on the path he has set himself, of documenting the small creatures of the urban jungles….. creatures that most of us never get to see at the level of detail he achieves.

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Small-scale warfare….Valley area, 050518

May 7, 2018

On our way back from our nature/birding outing, I suddenly caught sight of a beetle and a snail, on a tiny twig. Seeing these two together isn’t very common, so I decided to photograph the scene.

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I then realized that what was going on was an attack, and a major war! The beetle, like all ground beetles, likes a snail diet, and was attacking this one.

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This was an amazing drama that we watched for a while. The beetle was attacking the snail, which produced the froth in self-defence.

Whenever the beetle approached the snail, it would get caught in the froth and would go off with a little bit in its mouth.

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You can see this here:

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The snail obviously had nowhere to go, given its speed of locomotion, and its postition at the end of the twig. It had to fight.

Having got just a mouthful of froth for its efforts, off the beetle would go, up the twig, try to get rid of it, and return to the fray,er, froth!

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Such miniature fights-to-the-death happen all the time, around us…in the parks, in our own gardens. All that is needed to endramatically interesting moments is a little observation!

Some six-footers….

July 28, 2016

A variety of insects can be observed in the gardens and plants around us.

Here are a few six-footers…that is, insects that are quite tiny, and easy to overlook. Do look out for them as you walk around…they are all around you, in the city as well as in the rural or forest areas!

Robber Fly:

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Signature Spider “guitar”

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Tiny Grass Blue on Ludwigia adscendens:

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Hoverfly on Evolvulus:

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A tiny Grasshopper on a leaf:

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Salt-and-Pepper Bug:

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Jewel Bug:

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All these insects are busy, pollinating flowers, flying about, and keeping Nature going on her regular cycle. Enjoying them will fill our daily lives with delight!

Nature at a bus stop, St.Louis, 120814

August 13, 2014

Here’s the patch of “weeds” at the bus stop where we wait, to send KTB off to school, and get her back again in the evening.

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You wouldn’t think that would be full of interest, would you? But you’d be wrong!

First off, the grass with its seeds looked so lovely:

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I saw these beautifully-forming seed-pods:

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Another plant gave me the gift of these burrs, to disperse its seeds far and wide:

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Then I realized that there was a flowering Convolvulus vine, too, so I went near one flower to photograph a bee.

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I then realized that the flower had another occupant, apart from the bee….

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There was a spider sitting there, as well as the bee!

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Out she came, for me to photograph:

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I did wonder if the bee and the spider would attack each other, but no, peaceful co-existence was the order of the day:

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The bees took their turn with the pollen:

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I spent two hours at that bus-stop, and never got bored for a single minute! I had my fill of Nature and wildlife, just sitting in an empty lot and waiting for a bus!

The persist-ant…

March 31, 2014

Scurrying across the path
I saw this little ant.
It bore a heavy burden,
Its legs were all aslant.

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It stopped every now and then
And shifted the mouthful it had.
But never gave up on the task:
A persistent lady…or lad.

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The prey in its jaws
Was about its own size.
But the long-legged ant
Seemed found it tasty and nice.

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I never did find out
How the story ended.
Did the ant succeed,
As its way it wended?

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Did the other ants in the nest
Cheer at a successful chore?
Or did the ant abandon
Its task, and drag it no more?

I left it a mystery
As I consigned the moment to history.

About two, six, eight, and a thousand legs….

August 1, 2012

I’d posted about

Weaver Ants

but here are some more interesting creatures from that morning at Arikere Reserve Forest….

There’s an old riddle, “Have you seen a house fly?”…and the answer is, “They don’t…” But here’s one:

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Can you imagine, such prismatic colour, sitting on a heap of what I will politely call fecal matter?

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Here’s a

CRAB SPIDER

looking away from me,

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and at me!

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This is web of

SOCIAL SPIDERS

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see the wasp caught in the web.

This one’s a

KATYDID

(and don’t ask me what Katy did…I don’t know!)

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Here’s a

LYNX SPIDER

female, with her egg case:

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and the male:

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You can see a female

BARON:

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a male

BARONET:

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and an

EMIGRANT

(on its way to the US, perhaps?)

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If you thought (like I do) that those names make no sense, here’s a name that does…the

COMMON REDEYE:

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Here’s how to photograph it:

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This one’s a

PLANT HOPPER

belonging to the family Fuligoridae:

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This is the

COMMON OAKBLUE:

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(the open wing shows a bright electric blue)

A

CHOCOLATE PANSY

sits, well camouflaged, in the leaf clutter:

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This is the cat ( Which is what butterflyers call a caterpillar) of the

COMMON BRANDED AWL:

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You want the size reference?

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We asked

Karthik

what this was, mimicking a tiny scorpion….he said it WAS a tiny

SCORPION:

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We did look at beings with merely two legs, too, and amongst the human beings and the dogs I saw this

SHIKRA:

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Three more bipeds whose knowledge of butterflies and moths I esteem very highly:

Karthik, Krushnamegh Kunte, and Rohit Girotra:

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An

ANT

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But there are, literally, millions of legs in this photo, because

MILLIPEDE

means, a thousand-legged one!

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Nectar from flowers: Macro

May 17, 2012

Yesterday, at Lewis Park, I was walking around, and thought I saw some mosquitoes….

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but that didn’t seem to be what they were, because they weren’t about to bite me, but were avidly attacking the tiny flowers nearby:

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They had a strange “jumping-up-and-down” action while sipping the nectar, which I tried to catch on video:

Can anyone tell me what these insects are? They are like very large mosquitoes….about wasp-sized.

Life Under Foot, Turahalli, 250911

September 26, 2011

Even the shortest step on a nature trail can yield something fascinating to the observer. I was walking down the path at Turahalli, when I looked down:

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Can you see what’s going on there? Here, if you look closer:

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Three little ants, working together, and working very hard, to convey a dead insect to the underground nest, where it will become food:

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Here’a video of how they work to overcome the obstacles in their path!

Fascinating world of nature….

Ant you glad you “e-came” with me to Turahalli, and saw this tiny drama being enacted?

The Japanese Beetle (no, it’s not a new small car!)

June 21, 2011

I’ve been itching to use the macro on the S30, so when a

Japanese beetle

flew into the house, I could not resist taking these shots before releasing it outside again:

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Though it is apparently a pest in the US, the colours of the beetle are really lovely:

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The coppery-bronze greeny sheen also makes for good camouflage against the twigs and leaves:

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I don’t think these beetles bite, but I handled them carefully, all the same; it was a delight to see the zzzzzzzipping off into the open air when I had finished my photography!

Macro on the Fuji Finepix

April 24, 2009

I must say, KM does his homework pretty thoroughly before buying even a point and shoot. I was playing around with the macro function on this tiny point and shoot, and liked the results a lot:

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and

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I am now wondering if I can get my sticky fingers on this camera on a more permanent basis….