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Crab Spider

Macro & Micro Photography: The World of the Small

It’s amazing how much exists around us that goes unnoticed every day while we go about living our busy lives. Everywhere around us are areas that, when closely focused in on, reveal a whole new world that can sometimes look very alien and different to what we’re used to. One of the things that I’ve learned while doing close-up/macro/micro photography is that once you zoom in on the world of the small, many surprises await you.

Flowers

Flowers

Take this flower bouquet for example. I bought these flowers on a rainy afternoon at a flower stand for a photography project I was working on. I just randomly picked out flowers with different colors and the owner of the stand added some green leafs to make it all look better. In the snapshot to the right it looks quite normal and boring right? But once I set up some good lighting and zoomed in on them through my macro photography setup, it was as if I entered a whole new world. A world filled with beauty that you can only really notice once you start to pay attention and look closer at what’s in front of you. And in this case, the small world of the flower bouquet filled with beautiful colors, patterns and small (sometimes alien looking) creatures.

Where fairies live

Where fairies live

I felt like an explorer in a new world that I had discovered. Every shot I took contained detail that you can’t really see that well with your naked eye. The challenge was to find nice angles to capture these details. Soon enough I encountered the first few very small insects. My jaw almost hit a hole in the ground when I came across the scene below.

Final Destination

Final Destination

It almost looks like a staged scene, but believe me, it’s not. There in the middle of one of the flowers lied a small lifeless insect. He was so small that I hadn’t noticed him until I took the first shot and saw him appear on the LCD on the back of my camera. It seems that he must have died shortly after reaching the middle of the flower. He was already in a state of decay as you can see from the white spots on his body. In the image below you can see how small this insect really is with some 100% crops from the image to be able to see the detail that was captured.

Final Destination (Closeups)

Final Destination (Close-ups)

Being able to see these small areas at such a scale really helps to visualize what life on a flower might be like for such a small creature. To us, this is just a small flower, but to such a tiny insect it’s a whole world to live in.

As it turned out, this bouquet of flowers was home to yet another creature. While I was busy taking pictures I suddenly noticed something moving. When I looked closer and focused on it, I saw a tiny Crab Spider walking on one of the flowers. But before I could take some good pictures of him he vanished deep into the bouquet. Being the patient guy that I am, I decided not to look for him but to continue shooting other things until he would appear again. It wouldn’t be until the next day that I would see him again while taking pictures. And this time, instead of hiding as soon as I came closer he just seemed to ignore me and went about his business. He literally traversed the whole bouquet, and I have to say, I had a blast following him around and trying to take shots of all the stunts he was performing. Later when I looked at the shots on my PC I found out that he was not just walking and jumping from flower to flower, but that he was actually spinning a web all the time. It was just difficult to see the very very thin strands of web through the viewfinder of my camera while I was taking pictures.

The Crab Spider lived on the bouquet for 5 days until all the flowers dried up. On the last day I searched for him in what was left of the bouquet and when I found him I released him outside before throwing away the flowers.

To be honest, it wasn’t all beauty that I came across while exploring the world of the bouquet as you can see from the image below.

Left Hanging

Left Hanging

This guy was hanging in mid-air on a very thin, almost invisible, strand of web very likely from the Crab Spider. He was probably dead for more than a day at least and was already starting to decay. If you look closely you can also see that one of his eyes is busted. One can only wonder what happened to him and how he ended up hanging in the middle of the flowers like that.

So the next time someone brings you flowers, you may want to take a closer look at what exactly you’re getting along with the flowers. Chances are that you’re getting much more than just flowers. 😉

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