In Part 1 of this series I posted some photos I took of jumping spiders feeding on midges they were capturing on my kitchen screen door. Those pictures (see: Jumping spiders munching on midges) were all low in contrast due to the dark colours of the spiders and the black background. However, the textural contrast between the spiders and the window screen helped make the photos more interesting.
But as I was shooting them, I started to think that these spiders would look really cool on a white background, or even better, shot in a white box. So it occurred to me to try putting a piece of white paper on the glass behind the screen. The pictures turned out really nice (see below): I like the higher contrast between the subject and the background; and the light reflected from the paper has brought out a bit more colour in the legs of the spider. In retrospect, however, I should have stopped down the lens to get the midge and the spider in focus. The resolution wouldn’t have been quite so good, but overall the images would have been better. But that just gives me a good excuse to re-shoot these pictures in the near future. As if I needed an excuse…
While I was shooting these photos I noticed that one midge had landed on the white plastic frame of the screen door. I took the opportunity to photograph the critter and the picture turned out well with the insect nicely set off from the light background. In Part 1 I included a photo of a midge corpse that had been discarded by a spider. I guess these two photos together provide “before” and “after” views of a midge!
Within minutes of taking the above photo, a zebra jumping spider (Salticus scenicus) appeared and rapidly stalked and pounced on the midge. The spider proceeded to munch the insect while remaining on the white plastic frame. That’s when I took the final photos of this series, including the one at the top of the page and the two below. I was shooting with a ring flash, so the lighting is very flat. It’s not quite the same as shooting in a white box, but its close as you can see from the first photo on this page and the two below. These are definitely my favourites!
Unfortunately the midges have stopped landing on the screen at night, so the jumping spiders have moved on. I’m starting to wonder how long it would take the spiders to return if I started placing midges (or maybe some big fat aphids) on the screen. Maybe I’ll give it a try and eventually I’ll be able to post a Part 3 to this series…
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5
Lens: Series 1: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: Series 1: manual exposure (F11-22 @ 1/200 sec)
Lighting: Olympus RF-11 ring flash (1/4-1/2 power)