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On Saturday May 5, 2018 join me for “Micro Fauna of the Desert – A Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop” What is a Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop? They are a series of inexpensive, half day workshops that give back to the participants! Just how will they give back? For every 5 Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops that a participant attends they will receive a $50 (Canadian currency) voucher redeemable on a future workshop of their choice.

This workshop will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The cost of this event is $125 plus HST, which includes admission to the Reptilia Zoo.

During Micro Fauna of the Desert we will cover the fundamentals of working with flash to capture incredible imagery of these fascinating, nocturnal animals. We will also incorporate some creative options for these critters such as white backdrops and mirrors. We will photograph scorpions under ultraviolet lighting – did you know they glow under such illumination! We will photograph  several species of tarantulas as well as two incredibly colourful  lizards – the Tokay Gecko and the Leopard Gecko. Time permitting we may be able to include a Madagascar Day Gecko too!

These various species will be photographed under controlled conditions using natural, table top set-ups, for approximately two hours. Afterwards we will explore the displays in the Reptilia Zoo and have opportunities to photograph many species of venomous snakes through the safety of their glass enclosures. Although the workshop will concluded at 12:00 p.m. participants are permitted to spend the remainder of the day exploring the displays within the Reptilia Zoo.

The recommended gear for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop is a macro lens and flash. Ideally a flash bracket to get the flash off camera will work best but is not mandatory. I have devised various options for working with camera mounted flash for macro work. If you do not own a macro lens you could always rent one for the day from either Henry’s or Vistek. Alternately, using a high quality close-up filter on a telephoto lens is another option to make such lenses focus close enough. If you are uncertain whether your lenses will be suitable for this event please do inquire so that I can provide you with the best advice and solution. A tripod will be required to photograph the scorpions under ultraviolet lighting.

To register your self for this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop please contact me by clicking here. Payment can be made by email transfer or by cheque made payable to Andrew McLachlan.

Cancellation Policy: no refunds 30 days prior to the workshop date.

Hope to see you there 🙂

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While they may not be everybody’s cup of tea, Six-spotted Fishing Spiders are often found in frog ponds and they are very easy, and they are usually rather co-operative photographic subjects. While out in the ponds it is hard to pass up such interesting and cool looking critters that are easily photographed. In fact, last year several of the spider images I captured while photographing frogs and toads were featured in a children’s nature magazine, and one of the images was used as a double-page spread. Such ‘b-roll’ images also help to tell the story of life in the frog pond. A simple set-up of camera, macro lens, and a small flash on a user friendly flash bracket such as the Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket to hold the flash out over the lens will do the trick every time. To read more about this set-up please refer to my earlier blog post regarding this set-up here.

Most often Six-spotted Fishing Spiders will rest on the water’s surface with their back legs hanging onto a cattail leaf or other vegetation on the surface of the pond. If my approach is to quick they will usually follow a cattail stem down to the bottom of the pond and rise to the surface again once they think the danger has passed. These very interesting spiders will frequently prey upon tadpoles and aquatic insect larvae. The first image below you will notice a small tadpole clinging to the cattail leaf beside one of the spider’s legs. In the above image note how the spider was positioned within the frame, so that the front legs are extending out into the two lower corners of the image to help create some symmetrical balance for the spider’s body being centered within the composition. Below you will see three additional images of Six-spotted Spiders including one carrying an egg sac.

Please click on each image to view a much larger version of these very interesting arachnids.

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Forest Wolf Spider

While processing some recent spider images I decided to pull a couple of additional spider pics from the archives to post a small collection of spider photographs. I find it easiest to photograph spiders with a small flash positioned out in front of my macro lens. The flash allows me to handhold my set-up and also stop my lens down for improved depth of field. Setting up a tripod to photograph spiders is an exercise in frustration unless, like in the image above, the spider is at rest in a location that allows for easy set-up of a tripod. The wolf spider above was photographed while resting on a cedar tree.

Six-spotted Fishing Spider in pond at night

Six-spotted Fishing Spider with prey

The Six-spotted Fishing Spiders above were photographed in the vernal ponds behind my home where I shoot the frogs and toads during their breeding season.

Shamrock Orb Weaver

While searching the field behind my home in late summer for dewy spider webs I came across this colourful Shamrock Orb Weaver.

Brownish-gray Fishing Spider

Brownish-gray Fishing Spider

I find spiders to be fascinating creatures, but none fascinate me more than the Brownish-gray Fishing Spiders that are commonly seen around the dock and rocky shoreline at the cottage. These spiders when fully grown will have a legspan of three inches. They are rather timid and readily disappear when approached, making them difficult to photograph.

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