Posts Tagged ‘Macro Photography


Not for Human Eyes

High in the canopy, on sunny days in early July, there is a dance taking place. A dance of love. A swirling ballet of courtship.

Like all dancers, even these tiny 15mm ones, they must sustain themselves. So down the dark little waifs fall with their straws to sip at the bramble bar. Replenishing spent energy for the next performance. As they do so their livery becomes apparent. Not meant for human eyes, daintily embroidered colours transfix us, stripy stockings, sulphur dipped antennas and small tails edged in frosty copper; finished with stitched chalked lines.

Even when nectaring these dancers still pirouette like music box ballerinas. Evolution can be mind bogglingly beautiful.



On the Butterfly Tour last week we encountered a tree full of Purple Hairsteaks. Now anyone familiar with these butterflies will know that watching them usually requires a considerable amount of ‘neck craning’. More frequently that not they are in the very tops of trees. Not so this tree-full. They were more than obliging; coming down to bask in the sheltered sunshine on an Ash tree.

Now, I’m reliably told Purple Hairstreaks don’t as a matter of course visit Ash. They are more associated with Oak and indeed there were Oaks nearby. However apparently they will visit Ash to take the sugary honeydew secreted by Aphids. Aphids being particularly fond of Ash. Well I searched that tree carefully and I couldn’t find a single aphid. Although I did see the hairstreaks sipping the sap from the tree at leaf buds.

We encountered 23 species of butterfly during the day; perhaps a little below what we could have expected had the cloud not set in during the afternoon. Next years day is up for grabs if you wish to come along make a booking


A flower without a bite

Just love these flowers. The chequerboard pattern on the petals  reminds me of an Elizabethan garden. Snakes Head Fritillary are not common but they can be sought out in the wild in a few places; usually in wet meadows or beside rivers.


Eye eye.

Eye to eye with a Southern Hawker on a tour the other week.


Southern Hawker


The Camera on the iPhone 5s

I recently lost the use of a small Leica Delux compact camera. I frequently used the camera to take landscapes; it also had a great macro setting so was ideal for taking close-ups of insects, flowers and the like. I had to find a replacement … as it died. At £500+ when I bought it some years ago it was an expensive loss.

The last time I bought a mobile phone the guy behind the counter started to spout off a list of features as long as your arm. Wo! … all I wanted was something to make a phone call.

Things have moved on.

My new iPhone 5s is more of a camera that makes phone calls … and a lot, lot more. I’ll cover the ‘lot more’ sometime else. We’ll just talk about some of the features of the camera for now.

There are two camera lenses on the phone; one on each side. The main one has an 8 Megapixel chip.  It has an f2.2 aperture backed by quite large 1.5 micron sized cells in the sensor. It has a two tone flash that help emulate true colours. It takes 10 frames per second and has an image stabilisation system as well as an HDR setting enabling detail in contrasting dark and light areas. It does panoramic landscapes, 1080p video and even slow motion video at 120 fps. You can get to within a few centimetres of your subject matter but here’s the clever bit. Purchase an Olloclip and it changes your iphone into a very capable Macro Camera.

Ostensibly this is a clip over lens addition that shortens the focal length so you can get closer to the subject. It comes with a wide angle and a fish eye lens too. For Natural History Photography these would be of limited use but the close up lens is invaluable. There are cheaper versions but I preferred the reviews of the Olloclip.

It comes with a pull draw-bag in which to keep it and clean the lens. It fits quickly and easily within 5 seconds. The only drawback I can see is it renders the flash unusable. However; I have not used flash in macro photography that often.

Here’s some hastily prepared photos along with a shot of the clip on the bag.

Leaf Veins

 Leaf Surface


Match Head

The Olloclip Bag

Olloclip Bag

Water on a Leaf – note the structure of the leaf

Water on a Leaf

The Surface of a Starfish


Olloclip and Bag


The Oak Apple

Walking the lanes here on the hill during a sunny respite between the seemingly ever persistent storms I noticed something in the hedgerows.

A small almost insignificant oak was growing among the brambles. What attracted me to it is that it was supporting a number of Galls.

Galls, or Oak Apples as they are often called, are formed by Gall Wasps laying eggs within the tissue of the Oak; which then swells to form a Gall. The Wasp lava feeds on the Gall until it emerges as an adult. The galls here will have long been vacated; during the summer. What remains is just the dried out ‘husk’. There are many different types of gall Wasp in the UK; around 250 all told I believe. A bit of interest on a bright January day.

Oak Gall

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Mar 2023


%d bloggers like this: