Entering Hole (Shutter Speed – 1/120 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 500 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
If you have already gone through my article on Insectography (Link - http://www.samudranil.in/blog/?id=68879476799 ) , you already know that I am very fond of shooting various insects from a different perspective. It is a job full of excitement and challenge. But often this genre is considered to be a lesser form of Art, hence infantile, or some novice’s job with a camera and a macro lens. And I RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE! Consider it as a genre of Portraiture. Portraiture of Insects. Now I am sure I am sounding serious. And the most challenging part of this job is, probably all people has already tried this genre when they first got hold of a new camera. It’s the basic nature of human being to capture tiny details. So, as a portraitographer, you are working on an over-populated genre and hence face the challenge of producing something different; something subtly unique. Here are few tips and tricks shared with you, straight from the pages of my experience.
Let’s talk about spiders then… As an insect that is probably easiest to find, easiest to keep them unmoving, and easiest to shoot; but most probably the most difficult to create a masterpiece with them. Why? Come on, everyone shoots them, therefore hardly any angle left for you! So, you have to think, get your shoes and nose dirty, roam about your nearby woods, and try to do something different with them. All of these shots I am sharing with you are taken with Olympus OMD-EM5 and M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 Macro. As this is an article about more technique and less gear, let me assure you that any camera with a macro or even non-macro lens you can shoot them according to your own perspective!
The shot below is a ‘normal’ image of spider, I did shoot without much thinking, just tried to capture it, and therefore this has stopped being a normal frame.
(Shutter Speed – 1/160 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Unedited)
Then I tried to think, tried to visualize a different perspective, tried to do something different. I tried to make some story, a story which is untold, a story of the web! So I came out with a different and unique frame.
Webster (Shutter Speed – 1/180 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
Thinking about your next creation is easy when you are shooting a spider sitting on his web. They usually do not move a lot, you just have to be very static and getting close by tiptoe, slowly, and try different framing. Personally I take a lot of pictures when I shoot at the field. This is a benefit of using a digital gear with a fat memory card. I try a lot of angles, from which I choose the best; just like I shoot some people’s portrait. While shooting spider, when advancing to it, I take picture with every advancing step towards it, until I go to the 1:1 zone. The example below is the shot I took from 3 yards. I know this is a good shot, it gives you an idea of the spider’s proposed journey, but hey, in web you have seen these many time. Isn’t it?
(Shutter Speed – 1/320 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Unedited)
Then I got closer, almost filled my frame with the leg-span of this colourful creature. But again, this is cliché!
Predator (Shutter Speed – 1/250 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Unedited)
Then I tried to do something different; I tried to be more subjective. The web of a spider I adore and admire from the core of my heart. It is a design-genius and mesmerizes me with its texture. I hope you like that too.
Drawing (Shutter Speed – 1/250 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
Sometimes I have seen shooting wide open is not always working. I know you love being subjective, you love to show your audience particularly that whisker of a spider which you admire (!) ; But always question yourself, what is that thing that has attracted you to that spider for which your hands are itching to take a picture. These two images are the examples of using different depth of field on one subject.
(Shutter Speed – 1/125 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 400 ; Unedited)
The upper image is ok; taken at f/2.8, but boring. And when I asked myself where are the awesome sunrays which attracted me towards it, I quickly shifted to f/6.3 and VOILA! The image is tweaked a bit to highlight the drama of the sunrays and spider.
Sunshine on His Web (Shutter Speed – 1/60 sec ; Aperture – f/6.3 ; ISO – 800 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
With your mood you even can go black and white to your images depending upon the texture you want to show to your audience.
(Shutter Speed – 1/125 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 400 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
The Artist (Shutter Speed – 1/50 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 800 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)
Shooting insects is fun! And shooting spiders is the funniest of them all; because they have webs. Just spread your wings of imagination and appreciate this creature which tries to live by creating something which is ART. Happy Shooting!
Peeping Eyes (Shutter Speed – 1/200 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 200 ; Unedited)
Swimming (Shutter Speed – 1/100 sec ; Aperture – f/2.8 ; ISO – 800 ; Edited in Photoshop CS5)