Hopping Mad

I was going out the front door today when I noticed that something was staring me down. There he was, it was Hopper from A Bug’s Life. Yes, he had his leg drawn and ready to shoot.

Ok, back to reality. I did run into this fellow outside the front door. I thought to myself that this would be a great opportunity to use my Nikon 105 Macro lens. Macro photography has always sparked my interest. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. At least today there wasn’t anything on the docket so I had a chance to play. There are different models of macro lenses and focal lengths on the market. Since I want to capture every piece of detail in this critter, I want the best piece of glass as possible. This is where manufacture glass comes in. I know you can save a few bucks buying one of those others brands, however as you will see, my Nikon glass came through.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full size image. Don’t worry, he won’t bite. Look at all the details in his head and body, especially the eye. When I was photographing him, his eye looked like a brown oval. What a surprise when i got the photo in the computer.

How did I execute this without scaring the crap out this creature? I set everything up inside. In the comfort of the living room, I pulled out my tripod, camera and electronic release. This is one of those times that you are going to want a tripod. Shooting at such a close range is just as tricky as shooting telephoto from a distance. Every little movement will be amplified. I fitted the camera with the electronic release to also help keep any movement down. I extended the tripod legs and dialed in a rough exposure. I started with ISO 100, 1/20 at f/22. Why f/22? I wanted to make sure that all of his body would be in focus. When focusing at such a close range, your depth of field within an f stop really decreases. Think of it this way, if you were photographing a person standing about 6-8 feet away from you and you were using f/2.8, their nose to the back of the head would be in focus and the background would be out of focus. In the scenario with the grasshopper, if I were to use 2.8 at only being a couple of inches away from him, and I focused on his eye, the eye would be in focus but the rest of the scene would be out of focus including the rest of his body. I put the camera in portrait position since he was on the wall that way and out the door I went.

Lucky for me he was still siting there. I quietly and gently got the tripod into place. I took a test shot and….it was dark. I adjusted my shutter speed to 1/2 of a second and that was spot on. I was in full shade and being at ISO 100 with a f stop of 22, this is why the shutter speed was so slow. I took a few more frames and he got tired of me and when on his way.

I came back inside and loaded the photos on the computer. All I did was a slight recovery for the highlights in Camera RAW and I was off to Photoshop. Finally, I did some tweaking using my favorite tools, Nik Collection. The blur that you see, I added in post.

It was a last minute idea, but worth the effort. I recommend trying macro photography. One of the advantages is that you would never need to leave your yard as there are so many things to photograph.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean



  1. Yard Art | Spencer Pullen Photography and Training - [...] the grasshopper in Hopping Mad, the other day got some of my creative juices flowing. I was hoping to…

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