A couple of posts ago (see Photographing down the food web: silkworms) I was lamenting the lack of critters available to me to photograph at this time of the year. I (half) jokingly suggested that I would need to turn to earthworms and “feeders” like crickets. Well I am happy to say that the problem has been resolved—for the time being at least—by an influx of new specimens to my household. Last week I took possession of 19 new “pets” including three new species of scorpions, two species of tarantulas, and one centipede. One might jump to the conclusion that I used the dearth of photographic subjects as an excuse to buy some interesting critters (and one would be right). Most of these critters are still really small—five of the tarantulas are only about ¼ of an inch across. But all of the spiderlings and scorplings will grow and will end-up in front of my camera at some point.
The other problem I have had lately is a lack of time to spend on photography. Between work, chasing kids and getting ready for Christmas, I just haven’t had much spare time. Plus I have been trying to work on construction of a macro stand for more (and better) photo stacking (see). Last night I finally managed to find a whole 15 minutes to do a shoot, so I quickly set-up my white box and took these pictures of one of my new critters: a lovely adult female desert hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis).
I knew the moment that I saw this scorpion that she would look great when photographed in a white box. Fifteen minutes isn’t a long time, but I have used the white box set-up enough over the past couple of months that I have all the kinks worked out. Plus, desert hairys are typically pretty calm, and this one is no exception; so it wasn’t difficult to keep her under control while taking pictures.
Speaking of the photos, they show pretty clearly why this species is called the desert “hairy.” Apparently the brown hairs that are so prominent on this species are used to detect vibration in the substrate.
This isn’t the first time I have featured this species on this blog. Way back in June (see A tail of two scorpions) I posted a scanned version of a photo I took of one of these scorpions more than 20 years ago. There is no comparison of course; these photos are so much better it’s almost embarrassing…not bad for 15 minutes!
You can expect to see more photos of this nice beast in the future. At the very least I need to take some more pictures with a natural background.
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F16 @ 1/125 sec)
Lighting: Vivitar 283 flash and VP-1 Vari-power adapter (1/8 power)