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Author Topic: Spiders as Art?  (Read 3673 times)
JohnKoerner
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« on: August 01, 2011, 11:41:51 PM »
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Slender Nursery Spider
(Pisaurina undulata)
Canon EOS 7D | EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro Lens
1/20 | f/13 | ISO 400
Natural Light | Tripod | Remote Switch




Flower Crab Spider
(Misumessus oblongus)
Aberrant White Phase
Canon EOS 7D | EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro Lens
1/13 | f/11 | ISO 100
Natural Light | Tripod | Remote Switch




Red Widow
(Latrodectus bishopi)
Canon EOS 7D | EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro Lens
1/20 | f/10 | ISO 320
Natural Light | Tripod | Remote Switch




Woodland Jumping Spider
(Thiodina sylvana)
Canon EOS 7D | EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro Lens
1/80 | f/14 | ISO 400
Natural Light | Tripod | Remote Switch



Is it possible to present creatures that most people find repulsive ... beautifully and artistically?

C&C Welcome Smiley

Jack

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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2011, 12:55:58 AM »
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Some great arachnids you have there!

Mike.
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
Riaan van Wyk
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2011, 01:04:35 AM »
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All animals are beautifull, even spiders Smiley

Excellent work here sir!
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2011, 01:39:53 AM »
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I've been doing something similar with flies dinner - maybe I should start a thread ...
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 07:32:31 AM »
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Thank you for the nice comments Smiley

Any criticisms or things I could have done better?

Jack


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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2011, 10:11:57 AM »
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They're great, Jack. It's nice to see you posting again.

Eric

P.S. Yes, they are art!
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
RSL
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2011, 10:42:21 AM »
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Good shooting, Jack. Looks as if leaf photography is somewhat similar to street photography. You gotta get 'em when they're there.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2011, 11:36:15 AM »
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... Any criticisms or things I could have done better?

Oh, boy, so glad you asked!

It was kind of boring the last couple of months, i.e., without getting into fights with you.  Wink Grin

So, you want criticism? Are you sure you can handle it? Anyway, here it goes:

Seems that your forum absence did you good.  Less time to scribble Tongue, more time devoted to improving your photography. If my recollection is correct (of your earlier photography), this new series is so much more refined and elegant, your lighting is much softer and natural-looking, your backgrounds much less distracting, with a nicer bokeh (a Canon 180 macro?). Your subject positioning, framing, and choice of colors, all reflect a much stronger sense of esthetics and design than before. So, yes, you managed to turn it from a textbook illustration to a fine art.

Having said that, it mostly refers to the first three examples. The forth one is busier, with more distracting elements.

All in all, good job!

« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 11:39:34 AM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

Slobodan

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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2011, 12:29:36 PM »
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All animals are beautifull, even spiders Smiley

Excellent work here sir!




That's a bit sweeping; not even all of us people can be described as beautiful, and guess in whose image we are supposed to have been made!

Regarding spiders: how on Earth can a tarantula ever be thought of as beautiful? Or a vampire bat? These things are designed to be horrid and to petrify people and other creatures into submission or a deadly panic!

Other spěders can indeed be beautiful; just as with people, then, it can vary.

Again, I don't know if I mean ;-) or perhaps ;-(

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2011, 12:32:25 PM »
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Hey, John, welcome back!

I like your current set of beasties and colours; maybe a little bit sweet, that last one, but there you go - almost total conversion to sainthood.

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2011, 12:36:06 PM »
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Quote
That's a bit sweeping; not even all of us people can be described as beautiful...

Russians have a saying "there are no ugly women... just not enough vodka"  Grin
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Slobodan

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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2011, 12:40:33 PM »
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... These things are designed ...

Really? And there was me thinking it was all down to something called evolution ...
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2011, 01:00:16 PM »
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Good shooting, Jack. Looks as if leaf photography is somewhat similar to street photography. You gotta get 'em when they're there.

Thank you for the props, Russ, but I must hang my head in shame on the congrats for the "street" element ... you would cringe to know that all of these shots are staged Shocked

There is good reason though! For example, Slender Nursery Spiders are only found in swampy grass, and the idea of sticking my head sideways in mosquito-infested swamp grass to compose a shot isn't as appealing as capturing the spider, placing it on a carefully-selected blade of grass, in front of my tripod, while am seated on a chair sipping coffee sounds much nicer Grin

And, while Flower Crab Spiders are pretty easy to nail in their natural environments, I felt that this white specimen would "show" better if placed on a purple flower with a green background. Is it natural (or "street")? No. Artisitic? I think so.

And then there's the Red Widow, which is only found in the Ocala National Forest deep within the fronds of Palmettos. You'll never see one out in the open, so they pretty much have the be "placed" out in the open to be photographed ... unless you jiggle their webs and bring them out by trickery ... but I wouldn't have got the bokeh I did, placing on a lone frond like that Grin

Sorry to disappoint, but hope you see the reasoning!

Jack


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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2011, 01:01:20 PM »
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They're great, Jack. It's nice to see you posting again.
Eric
P.S. Yes, they are art!

Thank you very much, Eric, it is nice to be back--and nice to see you again too Smiley


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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2011, 01:23:29 PM »
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Oh, boy, so glad you asked!
It was kind of boring the last couple of months, i.e., without getting into fights with you.  Wink Grin

Even my "diehard enemies" wind up missing me Grin




So, you want criticism? Are you sure you can handle it? Anyway, here it goes:

Sure I can handle the harshest of criticisms, and I respect them when honest, and ignore them when not. It is actually through the harshest and most nitpicky accurate criticisms that I have learned the most and made the greatest changes to my photography. For this reason, I sincerely welcome any good solid critiques!




Seems that your forum absence did you good.  Less time to scribble Tongue, more time devoted to improving your photography. If my recollection is correct (of your earlier photography), this new series is so much more refined and elegant, your lighting is much softer and natural-looking, your backgrounds much less distracting, with a nicer bokeh (a Canon 180 macro?). Your subject positioning, framing, and choice of colors, all reflect a much stronger sense of esthetics and design than before. So, yes, you managed to turn it from a textbook illustration to a fine art.

Thank you very much, Slobodan, and I agree with you 100% on your assessment of my current photography versus my previous photography. Mind you, I have no formal education in photography, I have just learned as I go, but I try to continuously pay attention and improve. I admire the work of people who take better photos than I, and I try to learn from their techniques, which is what has improved my photography. I actually just wrote a blog post about the major changes that have taken place to what I do ... and the four most important factors have been 1) using a longer lens to give myself a comfortable working distance from my subject (as well as, yes, a better bokeh), 2) always using a tripod, 3) always selecting the best time of day to shoot in order to get the best light, and 4) using LiveView/MirrorLockup and a remote switch.

Where before I was hand-holding and using a flash alot, now I can't stand the look of flash macro photography anymore, and I never hand-hold anymore either. I am addicted to the "looK' of optimal natural light ... and I either search for my live field shots only during such times, or (if I have to) I will arrange a staged shot of a subject during such optimal lighting conditions. And I think these 4 factors have made a dramatic improvement to my work, and I sincerely appreciate you noticing as well as taking the time to provide positive feedback.




Having said that, it mostly refers to the first three examples. The forth one is busier, with more distracting elements.
All in all, good job!

I appreciate and respect your opinion on the 4th photo, however what I tried to achieve in that shot was a sense of harmony of the subject with its environment, and not such a close-up as the others. I felt the "straw" color of the jumping spider was in harmony with the brown elements of the vegetation, and I thought the bright greens and purples accentuated the scene.

I also admit to enjoying the irony of my placing the spider on a Spiderwort flower ... and am surprised Wolfnowl missed that Grin

Jack




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« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 01:29:24 PM by John Koerner » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2011, 01:34:34 PM »
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Russians have a saying "there are no ugly women... just not enough vodka"  Grin




And the next part of that one comes from North Virginia, were certain singers proclaim that though they never go to bed with ugly women, they often wake up with them.

Rob C
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JohnKoerner
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« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2011, 01:35:56 PM »
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Hey, John, welcome back!
I like your current set of beasties and colours; maybe a little bit sweet, that last one, but there you go - almost total conversion to sainthood.
Rob C


Thanks for the welcome back, Rob, and nice to see you again as well ... although the sainthood reference might perhaps be a bit off Wink

Jack


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Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2011, 01:38:27 PM »
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Really? And there was me thinking it was all down to something called evolution ...


And you are right: it's the greatest bit of designing ever! It even has the economical advantage of being just-in-time based; you thought mortal economists dreamed that concept up?

Rob C
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Justan
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« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2011, 04:57:19 PM »
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These are really cool! It would be nice to see people’s reactions to these. I bet the way in which they are represented nearly or completely hides the basic creepy reaction that many have to spiders. It’s the kind of work that can alter perspectives for some.

In the Flower Crab Spider, the focus kind of confuses me. The spider is perfect but the petal is out of focus near the observer and in focus in and beyond the back side of the spider. If it were possible, focus stacking would help with this one. Is the spider translucent?

I also like the more complex scene of the Woodland Jumping Spider. The rich textures and color of the flower complement the spider and shows variety in the presentation.

Great work!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 05:05:15 PM by Justan » Logged

JohnKoerner
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« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2011, 06:27:15 AM »
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These are really cool! It would be nice to see people’s reactions to these. I bet the way in which they are represented nearly or completely hides the basic creepy reaction that many have to spiders. It’s the kind of work that can alter perspectives for some.

Thank you Justan, this is exactly what I tried to do, was present these creatures in such a way as to accentuate the exquisite beauty that can be found  in many spiders' form and color. Spiders are really nothing but mini-predators, like tiny leopards or lions--and are in many ways vastly more successful and fearsome for their size--and yet few people can appreciate their majesty in the same way as the more familiar, larger predators. This is where macro photography comes in, by bringing them up close for full view!




In the Flower Crab Spider, the focus kind of confuses me. The spider is perfect but the petal is out of focus near the observer and in focus in and beyond the back side of the spider. If it were possible, focus stacking would help with this one. Is the spider translucent?

Yes, Justan, the spider is transluscent, and I tried to present it in such a way as to complement this. Your observations as to focusing are interesting, thank you for paying so close attention. I am actually just learning how to focus stack, and have been incoroporating this more and more to my macro photography. I do try to get everything right with just "one click" ... however, given the extremely shallow depth-of-field in macro work, I am seeing the benefits of stacking more and more. As a matter of fact, I have just captured another specimen of this spider and may try for a similar photo shoot again, using your suggestion.

As  a side note, I have been using the "stack" feature in CS5's "scripts" function ... but just downloaded a Zerene Stacker (last night, in fact) which many experienced macro stackers seem to feel is the way to go. So I will be experimenting with this new tool starting today.




I also like the more complex scene of the Woodland Jumping Spider. The rich textures and color of the flower complement the spider and shows variety in the presentation.
Great work!

I agree with you Justan, it is quite a "peaceful setting" IMO, so thank you for having a look and taking the time to comment Smiley

Jack



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