A natural break

A chance exchange on FB last night led to me being out earlyish this morning to try some ‘macro’ shots. I met my photo-buddy and realised within a couple of minutes that I was struggling. Maybe me, maybe the heat. I don’t know but I barely made it 100m, including rests, before I had to find somewhere to sit down. In total I lasted 2 hours before throwing in the towel. Later that morning Mrs. Ha and I drove out and the car told us it was 38C outside.

The two hours could have been productive but I just could not get in the zone. Also my 180mm F3.5 lens kept sticking. Either the humidity is the problem or it just needs a service. I am tempted to look for something lighter to replace it. Still, there were some shots that survived.

Leaf Detail

Leaf Detail

Oxya chinensis with frass

Oxya chinensis with frass

Skipper - Hesperidae

Skipper – Hesperiidae

I am still trying to nail the skipper, figuratively speaking. I have it down to genus, I think.  All of these were shot with my trusty 5D3, the 180 lens and some fill flash. The tripod alone weighs too much on a hot day. Suggestions for a more lightweight set-up for the summer months will be much appreciated.

30 thoughts on “A natural break

    • Frass = poo. Correct. Insect poo. I don’t think Colin produces frass. Just yule logs. The grasshopper is much obliged, ma’am.

      • Frass-tastic! It’s still only early on a Monday morning here thanks to you, I’ve already learnt a new word. I must confess, I’d rather pick up frass than yule logs….

  1. Pictures are great, but go carefully. Beta blockers (or whatever you are taking) and heat are a worrying combination. There an ideal of steadying the heart, but not slowing it too much for comfort, though I am not a real doctor.

  2. But I think they became nice, but yes, the air and the circumstances when taking photos are as important as the equipment itself, almost. 🙂 I have a Velbon DF-50 tripod and it is light and I like it. Much people buy coalfiber (is that the right name) tripods but they are super expensive. Only problem I had with mine where when going to Machu Picchu, the hight made the tripods metal expand so that I first thought it was broke (couldn´t get the legs out). I tossed it in my suitcase thinking, I´ll get rid of it when I get back to Sweden. And I am glad I did that because it works fine now. My theory is that the metal expanded, but don´t really know what happend…

    • We call it Carbon Fibre ( or fiber) and I’m not sure whether heat affects it but water certainly does. I have had a couple of Gitzo tripods for many years. They are quite light but then you have to add on a strong ballhead if you are using big lenses. I go up to 800mm for birds. It weights a great deal. I used to have a Velbon and then Manfrotto. I’ll have to see what is the best trade off between stability and weight. I’m glad your tripod is ok now.

      • yes. well. Mine basically only can handle the lens I have now which I don´t think is above 500 g or 1000 g. Somewhere inbetween maybe. Heavy lenses is a problem. Glad I can´t afford to buy any now. Do you have any tips on new, priceworthy telezoom lenses and maybe a macro lens.

      • I’m not sure about tele zoom lenses but Tamron do superb macro lenses at a more attractive price than Canon / Nikon. I used their 90mm lens for ages before jumping to a 180mm Canon macro lens. Also consider buying second hand from a friend or reputable dealer.

      • Yes. Second hand it will be and heard great about Tamron. In Sweden, electronics is much more expensive than in the states. Not sure where you live but it is there or?

      • I am in Hong Kong. It used to be cheaper here but now not so good. It’s worth shopping around. We don’t have purchase or value added tax here which helps.

  3. Like the Oxya chinensis with frass the most. For a lightweight solution maybe a ring flash and gorillapod. Still have the flash but it is in the perfect place for macro and the gorillapod would grip a branch quite well.

    • Thanks Ben. I hadn’t thought of a gorillapod. I may just start with trying a lighter tripod and head, which I have, but at the expense of some stability. The attraction of my current gear is that it is rock solid and great if I try to do stacking in the field.

  4. The grasshopper crapping is amazing !!! I mean, who else could have so fast a lens as to be able to catch that ?
    …. . . . .. …………. . …. . .. ….
    Come to think of it: did you actually mean to, Andrew ? [grin]

    • In truth I only realise after the event, M.R. and I have several frames that are not sharp. Only one had sufficient DoF and passed the poop test.

      • So. A poop test, eh ?
        Well, why not ? Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it … or something along those lines. [grin]

  5. Excellent shot of the skipper. Be careful of the heat. It will get you down. I’m writing from experience. I can not take the heat with the afib thing going on plus I believe the meds we take probably factors in as well.

  6. La seconda foto è incredibile, hai colto la cavalletta mentre evacuava…. ehm ehm 🙂
    Nonostante le difficoltà, sei riuscito a fare una foto che non è da tutti!!
    Ciao, Patrizia

  7. Are you trying to say you caught a grasshopper in the process of pooping?! I have never heard the expression *frass* before. That rather explains the startled look 🙂

  8. I may have been under a rock lately, but I don’t think I have ever seen a photograph of a grasshopper voiding frass before. It appears a bit perturbed at the lack of privacy.
    I love the light, real or coaxed, on the first leaf shot. The skipper is quite artistic. 🙂

    • What a sheltered life you lead, Steve. The grasshoppers are voiding themselves all over the place here. We are knee deep in gropper frass. Mucky little devils. It’s becoming headline news in the South China Morning Post.

      • I’ve seen plenty of frass…just not the contributory activity, Andrew. If it’s front page news, that should be a front page photo. And an enterprising lad such as yourself would be out there harvesting and packaging as the most potent Hong Kong plant fertilizer. Gardeners the world over would make you a rich young man. 🙂

      • I think I’d need rather a lot of grasshoppers to make it commercial Steve. How do you stop them jumping away?

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