Skip to main content

A MEGA macro lens

Be warned, I have a new lens and things might get weird on here from time to time. Above, the superb Canon MP-E 65 mm f/2.8 macro lens. This is truly one of the most bizarre lenses out there, and it probably isn't for the faint of heart. I went back and forth on getting one of these for the last year, finally bit the bullet, and received mine yesterday. Using it is like shooting images through a microscope. It'll zoom to five times life size, allowing for photography of the tiniest objects imaginable. There is no focus ring - one must just move the camera to and fro until the target comes into focus. Good flash gear is a must. So little light gets through its small opening that the photographer typically must pre-light the scene just to find the subject.

But I knew about all of these quirks going into this, and was prepared. I was down at Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County last night, and got ample opportunity to test out the MP-E 65. A few of the inaugural photos follow.


A clutch of Hickory Horned Devil eggs. These tiny moth eggs will spawn what will become our largest caterpillar, a beast the size of a small hotdog when fully grown. But at the egg stage, things are VERY small. An egg might be a millimeter or so in length. The whitish eggs are young; the dark egg on the right is dark because it is filled by a young caterpillar about to burst to freedom. The translucent egg on the left is just a shell - a cat has already chewed its way out.



A very young Hickory Horned Devil, probably hours from the egg. It was just a few millimeters in length, and not really identifiable for what it is with the naked eye. Note that its ornate barbed spikes are well developed - these are formed within the egg.

Thanks to Robyn Wright Strauss at Wahkeena for allowing me to shoot images of her caterpillar livestock.


For comparison with the MP-E 65 shots, this is a close-up, also made last night, of a Bad-wing moth, Dyspteris abortivaria. This image was shot with my Canon 100 mm macro lens, a superb piece of hardware but not nearly as capable at drilling down into the weeds as the MP-E. With the latter lens, I could frame-fill one of this moth's olive-green eyes. On the flip side, the mega-macro lens could never show this much of the moth, even when zoomed all of the way out.

I'll look forward to delving deeper into the Lilliputian world with my new lens.

Comments

Auralee said…
Clearly you're going to take the photography on this blog to new heights! I mean, lows! Note to self, look for things that don't move for a while. Pretty cool, Jim!
Sue said…
This will certainly open up a new world. Looking forward to seeing it!
Zippi Kit said…
I have macro lens envy now. Darn! But I know that you will be taking such great shots with this that it will be a blessing for wannabee's like me.
Anonymous said…
Looking forward to your upcoming images. I hope you post your experiments as well or finished products. (Or, do you have a Flickr page for the less than finished shots?)

Do you use some kind of focusing rack or rail between your camera and your tripod since you have to move the camera to focus? (No focus ring.)

Ken Andrews
Maple Heights, Ohio
Jack and Brenda said…
You sure are making some great photographs with the new lens! I'm jealous, but need to save up for a wide angle at this time.

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…