Archive April 2011

Monday Morning Macro Brendan Moyle Apr 18

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One of the almost ubiquitous spiders found in summer is the Tetragnathid Leucage dromedaria. This is also known as the silver camel spider in Australia. While it builds an orbweb, it is not in fact a true orbweb. The web is usually built horizontally rather than on the vertical plane, and the web is open in the centre (true orbwebs have a centre dense with threads). The long chelicerae (fangs) are another important distinction.

Link to larger image

I don’t usually photograph spiders from the side, but this way seemed good to capture the silver hump on the dorsal surface, and the dark colouring of the ventral. The shot is slightly under-exposed to show the detail on the abdomen.

Panda Photos Brendan Moyle Apr 14

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It’s hard avoiding pandas in China, as they’re such an iconic animal. These photos are taken through glass at the display at Beijing Zoo. They’re definitely one of the most popular exhibits :)

The main challenge here is really technical. The low light means you’ve got a low shutter speed and the glass diminishes image quality.

Creatures of the leaf-litter Brendan Moyle Apr 12


New Zealand’s (formerly) abundant forests and temperate climate led to quite a diverse range of animals inhabiting it. Many of these are quite archaic in form, dating back to when NZ was part of Gondwanaland. Leaf-litter is also moist with fairly buffered temperatures, and this stability in environment had led to the preservation of such archaic arthropods.

The abundance of life in our leaf-litter also supports the evolution of various predators. The arachnids are of course, one of the major source of predators in the litter. These include our spiders, harvestmen, pseudoscorpions and mites.

Taking photos of such tiny creatures is always a bit of a challenge, but here are a couple of representatives.

Stout-Legged Harvestman

Feathered Mite

In both shots, I’m relying upon a ringflash to distribute soft light evenly about the subjects.

Flower macro photos Brendan Moyle Apr 11

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This isn’t a genre I’m really familiar with, but on the other hand, the principles of lighting are pretty universal.

I took these shots against a white background, and hand held my ringflash at different angles to add relief to the flowers. Otherwise, well, white petals on a white background is really going to be a challenge.

In postprocessing I then masked the flowers and overexposed the background.

Sunrise photos over the Hauraki Brendan Moyle Apr 01

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The weather has been kind off and on the last fortnight, so I’ve been trying to get some good sunrise shots. This isn’t a precise art, as predicting what the clouds will do is never easy. Hence, the need to visit your photo sites often.

This photo here is a long exposure, and taken before sunrise. The fact it’s taken before sunrise, is of course, why it’s a long exposure. There’s very little light around. The effect of the long expsoure is to blur and blend the waves into a kind of misty sheet

Sadly the clouds never really cleared, so I didn’t get a break to get a shot of the sunrise.

In this photo, I was somewhat more fortunate. To get the ray-effect about the sun, the trick is to close the aperture down a lot. I took this photo at f20. The vegetation was selected to form a natural frame.