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Animals ShowcaseThree Cameras - One Spider

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Ceropegia
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Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby Ceropegia » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:50 am

This is a spotted orbweaver. Its web is currently residing on the outside of my deck railing. I am never able to decide which camera to use when trying to get closeups of critters, flowers, etc. I have three bridge cameras with macro settings. Since the spider was cold and rather immobile, I decided to try with each camera. I had to hang over the railing, take the shots upside down, holding the cameras as low and near to the spider as I could. Needless to say, focusing and steadying the cameras was a challenge. Despite using the macro settings, the first two had to be significantly cropped. The last was only minimally cropped. The first was taken with a SONY DSC-H9, my first halfway decent bridge camera, the second with a Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, my current go to bridge, and the third with an Olympus TG-4, my waterproof bridge. Although the last two cameras can shoot raw, all the photos were shot in JPG. Had the spider not been so high on the deck, I might have tried using a zoom lens with my SONY Alpha 77 and the zoom on the Canon to see how photos taken that way and cropped compared to the macro shots.
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Charles Haacker
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby Charles Haacker » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:30 pm

All are really very good! Strikes me that all three are more than adequately sharp (and I am a confessed Sharp Freak), cropped or not. I have all three open in tabs so I can toggle among them. I think the first is overall the best (yes, I am partial to Sony but that ain't it). The first seems to me to have overall the most detail and DOF on the spider and the positioning is best (to me). #2 is a close literal second. #3 would be fine standing alone, but by comparison seems to suffer a little from shallower DOF, a function of being in actually closer but at f/2.5 (DOF is also influenced by camera-to-subject distance at any given aperture). I think ya done great, and I'm more than happy you didn't go over the rail! (Stranger things have happened to photographers too intent on getting the pitcher!) :thumbup:
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby LindaShorey » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:46 pm

Your hard work paid off. I like how the one leg is extended. I wonder if it felt some vibrations from your movements and was trying to decided whether to attack or flee :D

I tried out the sx60 but I had been so happy with my 50, I ended up returning the 60. The only improvement I found (and was affirmed by others) was the viewfinder, and by the time I was trying out the 60 I was already having trouble holding the 50x lens steady.

Bridge cameras are a great choice for those looking to go lighter weight and/or more economical, but most especially when photo ops range far and wide, such as my one and only visit to Ballard Locks in Seattle a year ago. The convenience of such a large focal range is hard to beat.
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby Ceropegia » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:51 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:... all three are more than adequately sharp (and I am a confessed Sharp Freak), cropped or not. ....

I recently upgraded to PSE 15 which has unsharp masking that I used along with a sharpening brush in processing these images but do not remember how much on each photo. (Dealing with noise which PSE does have the capability to adjust and which I gather can be introduced with sharpening has me completely bamboozled.)

Charles Haacker wrote:...The first is overall the best (yes, I am partial to Sony but that ain't it). The first seems to me to have overall the most detail and DOF on the spider and the positioning is best (to me). #2 is a close literal second. #3 ....by comparison seems to suffer a little from shallower DOF, a function of being in actually closer ....

Thanks for your assessment. I have always thought the SONY with its Carl Zeiss lens took the better macros, but it doesn't have sufficient megapixels (8.1) to produce a very large image when cropped. I actually think the Canon, with its 16.1 megapixels, may get better closeups from cropped zooms than with its macro setting. The OLYMPUS, which calls its mode microscopic, claims it will shoot as close as 1cm. To compensate for the narrow DOF range, it actually has focus stacking capabilities. One option takes a number of shots and outputs both the first image in the set plus an in-camera processed composite image. The other option allows for taking a choice of 10, 20, or 30 shots using either narrow, normal, or wide intervals between the shifted focus positions which can then be processed manually with focus stacking software. To be successful, both options, especially the second, require the use of a tripod or an exceptionally steady hand - not possible under the available shooting conditions. I have actually managed a couple of times to get fairly decent hand held shots using the in-camera stacking option. A before and after set can be seen here (viewtopic.php?f=48&t=1882&hilit=focus+stacking} and a single example here (viewtopic.php?f=48&t=2007&hilit=focus+stacking). I really want to explore its stacking capabilities more. (Other than its underwater capabilities the focus stacking features were the reason I chose the camera over other underwater cameras.)

Charles Haacker wrote:...I'm more than happy you didn't go over the rail!....
Me, too. The rail is old and rickety - something I hope to fix this fall.

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Ceropegia
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby Ceropegia » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:25 pm

LindaShorey wrote:Your hard work paid off. I like how the one leg is extended. I wonder if it felt some vibrations from your movements and was trying to decided whether to attack or flee...I tried out the sx60 but I had been so happy with my 50, I ended up returning the 60....Bridge cameras are a great choice for those looking to go lighter weight and/or more economical, but most especially when photo ops range far and wide, such as my one and only visit to Ballard Locks in Seattle a year ago. The convenience of such a large focal range is hard to beat.

Thanks. The one leg extended which was clinging to the very center of the orb was how it was posed when I found it. I was very careful not to touch the web for fear it would flee.

I jumped from the sx30 to the sx60 - probably would have done the same as you if I had first jumped from the 30 to the 50. When I go on a trip by auto, I usually take my big camera and its gear, but when flying, because I can't take all its gear, plus the hassle of of going through TSA, I usually opt for just the 60 because of, as you say, its lighter weight and the convenience of such a large focus range, especially since the barrel distortion caused when taking super long range shots with the 60 can be fairly easily adjusted in post processing.

A follow up on the spider - After spending several days at its railing location where I did not see any evidence of successful catches, it decided last night to move. It has now placed its web over the sliding door leading to the deck. I did not notice it until I ran into it this morning. I assume it will repair its remaining web in which I could see several catches and wait for more. So I have a choice of letting it be and using the other door to the deck (something I have done in the past when a spider had decided a door was a good place for a web) or discourage it by disturbing it repeatedly which I would not consider were it not for the fact that the location is a favorite haunt of my eastern phoebes. The spider would be a well outlined easy target for them to get a juicy feast.

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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby LindaShorey » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:13 pm

Ceropegia wrote:
A follow up on the spider - After spending several days at its railing location where I did not see any evidence of successful catches, it decided last night to move. It has now placed its web over the sliding door leading to the deck. I did not notice it until I ran into it this morning. I assume it will repair its remaining web in which I could see several catches and wait for more. So I have a choice of letting it be and using the other door to the deck (something I have done in the past when a spider had decided a door was a good place for a web) or discourage it by disturbing it repeatedly which I would not consider were it not for the fact that the location is a favorite haunt of my eastern phoebes. The spider would be a well outlined easy target for them to get a juicy feast.


A veritable wild kingdom at your home! I'd feel similarly about not wanting to disturb the web as I find spiders quite fascinating. A tasty treat for the phoebes? Ah, guess that's life :| Sort of like watching raptors bringing all manner of prey to their nestlings.
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby minniev » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:32 pm

What a wonderful Grandmother Garden Spider friend to have nearby! My only fear of letting her stay would be that I would forget and walk into her world, which would probably finish me off. I love them only from a distance.

The detail you got in these is pretty grand, and since Chuck gave you such a perfect analysis, I won't go into that part. I do like seeing the various parts of the background since I am very fond of context in images. Her pose is so unusual. I've photographed a lot of these big girls but never caught one in this coy position, as if she's about to dance.
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Ceropegia
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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby Ceropegia » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:46 pm

minniev wrote:My only fear of letting her stay would be that I would forget and walk into her world, which would probably finish me off....Her pose is so unusual. I've photographed a lot of these big girls but never caught one in this coy position, as if she's about to dance.


I did walk into it, which is when I realized she had moved her web from the deck railing to the door. Not the first time I have walked into the webs of these spiders, a frequently occurrence when I am walking (or driving) through the woods down the driveway. Once, when I lived in a different house, one somehow managed to get into the house. During the night it spun a huge web in the hallway below the stairs to my bedroom. Bleary eyed in the morning, I walked right into it and felt the plumb, hairy creature brush against my face. My assessment after that incident is that they do not tend to bite but rather flee away on any remaining strand of web available. BTW, I did manage to finally shepherd it outside, otherwise I probably would have had to do it in.

The one presently residing on the outside of the sliding door to the deck, seems to be only active at night. She hides in the frame of the sliding door in the daytime. At night she assumes a typical symmetrical pose in the center of the web. When I first spotted her on the deck railing she was busily spinning her beautiful web in late afternoon - not enough light to get a decent shot because she was moving. When I went out after dark to check on her progress, she was finished, poised in the center of the web with her legs gathered tightly around her. I thought perhaps she was cold. In the morning with the sun on her I was able to finally catch some decent shots of her stretched out in her "coy" position, one I have never observed before, either.

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Re: Three Cameras - One Spider

Postby St3v3M » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:02 am

Oh what a difference a background makes! S-
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