A fun deviation from landscape photography

Let it not be said that landscape photography is the only genre I am interested in. As a wee lad I was always fascinated with the very small. Given that my favourite nature documentaries were those that contained insects and spiders, it was inevitable that I would turn photographic interest to the same.


My wife and patient travel companion has always noted that as we walk through a rain forest, with the inevitable destination being a waterfall or similar feature, how easily I am distracted by the interesting microcosm on the rainforest rocks, fallen logs and tree trunks. If you quieten yourself and just stare at a small piece of moss or lichen a world of life will slowly reveal itself.


I have found you don’t have to go far. You can do the same thing in any reasonably leafy suburban back yard. Most of the images of insects and spiders being added to my web site and blog have been taken in my garden. I do hope that does not deter any of my arachnophobic friends from visiting us in the future. Remember, you almost certainly have these same creatures in your back yard.



In the absence of any extreme macro gear, I have an old manual focus Tamron 90mm macro lens to which I have attached a bunch of Extension Tubes to give it some macro grunt. Even with this less than perfect kit, I am amazed at the results I am getting.



Patience is a virtue when photographing bugs, they just don’t understand the word “smile”. The challenge is to catch them in some interesting environment or as is the case with most spiders the mesmerising eyes!


When photographing at magnifications such as these, Depth of Field is incredibly shallow which makes capturing an in-focus, moving insect quite a challenge. You almost always find yourself having to focus on the most interesting part of the bug (such as the eyes where possible), the bit that allows you to make some connection with it.




Arachnids featured in this gallery

I know we have always had a healthy assortment of spiders on our property but just how many different species and varieties within has recently astounded me.


Orb Spiders

Garden Orb Weavers and Orb Weavers in general are a relatively easy spiders to photograph. This is because unless they are building their web or wrapping up their prey, they stay relatively still and you can get quite close to them without them freaking out and running away. They come in many shapes, sizes.


Salticidae (Jumping Spiders)

I actually find these little guys quite cute and although harder to photograph than Orb Weavers (because they don't stop moving for more than a couple of seconds), they have the most amazing eyes if you can get close enough and get them to stare down the barrel of your camera. As with Orb Weavers, they come in many forms.


Net Casting / Gladiator Spider

My new favourite! This arachnid is cool, rather scary... but cool. It catches its prey by holding some stretchy web between its front legs. When an insect walks by it "casts its net" by springing its legs forward and wrapping the pray in it.

I hope to photograph many more in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates.




No insects were harmed during the production of these photographs. On occasion an insect is humanely captured and placed in a more photo appropriate environment before being returned from whence it came.



Special thanks to Alan Weaver in England for selling me my Tamron to EOS adapter which has enabled me to breath new life into a beautiful old lens.


Information on Spiders found in Australia