I’ve already posted a few pictures from my recent backpacking trip to Crystal Cove State Park (flowers, self-portrait, rattlesnake mating). But as I was photographing dew-covered flowers on the foggy morning, I couldn’t help but notice the spiders in their spiderwebs.
I had to get up closer, of course:
And, you know me, I’m not satisfied unless the subject is spilling out of the frame, but I’ll spare you from a third picture of the same spider in the same post.
Since I know spiders are everyone’s favorite critter, here’s another one I saw that morning:
But I saw more than just spiders that morning. After the fog burned off, the day warmed up and a ton of insects came out to go about their business. Chief among them were dozens of bees buzzing around this plant:
While most of the spider and flower shots I’ve already posted used my new macro lens on a tripod, the rest of theses shots tested out how the lens performed hand-held with fast-moving subjects. It worked very well, auto-focusing quickly and allowing me to get decent depth of field with shutter speeds fast enough to freeze motion:
Of course there were more than just bees and spiders out. My hiking partners spotted this cabbage butterfly flitting around on the trail, and the macro exceeded my expectations by allowing me to capture this image in the few seconds I had before the butterfly flitted away 1:
The next butterfly looked perfectly normal, until I looked closely at the image while trying to identify the insect and realized that it appeared to have only four legs:
A few insects popped up while I was working on other subjects. While I was photographing the bees, this hemipteran briefly wandered out to stand on a nearby leaf:
While I was working on some of my flower closeups, this little insect wandered out onto a nearby prickly pear cactus pad. Thank goodness for quick-release tripod mounts!
I’ve now done a decent amount of work with my new macro lens (Canon’s EFS-60mm), and I’m very impressed. Almost all of the pictures in this post and my flower post were taken with the lens 2. It focuses fast enough and is light enough to be easy to use hand-held with insects who’ll let you get close in good light, and is just a pleasure to use when mounted on a tripod for plant and lichen work in any light. It’s incredibly sharp in the middle of its aperture range, and being able to open it up to f2.8 is great for low-light shooting and beautiful creamy bokeh.
1 And the image is uncropped.
2 The only picture in these two posts not taken with the lens is the non-closeup of the bee on the flowering plant. If you’re evaluating depth of field, keep in mind that for still subjects I will sometimes exposure blend to get additional depth of field.
To see more pictures from the trip, head to my Crystal Cove State Park Wilderness Gallery.
Crystal Cove State Park: Located along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach in Orange County, California. I camped at the Lower Moro Campsite, which is about a 2 mile hike in from the parking lot. Parking is plentiful at a new parking lot and picnic area past the Moro Campground (for RV’s), but you must pay either a day use fee for the state park or an overnight fee. The park is currently open from 6am – sunset; their website has lots of good information on it.