Dorothy Was Right



Nothing like a crunchy aphid for lunch.


At the end of the movie, “Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy says that if she ever goes looking for her heart’s desire again, she won’t look any further than her own back yard.

A couple weeks ago I put out a call asking for the best place to find ladybugs. I wanted to take some closeup shots and I knew this was the time of year for them. I got several suggestions, most of them fell into two camps: 1) drive way the heck up into the hills, or 2) buy a bag of them and wrangle them myself. Instead, I took Dorothy’s advice and looked in my own backyard. Our fruit tree is heavily infested with aphids so it made sense that I would find ladybugs in the tree.

Sure enough. As I got closer to the tree I could hear the faint cry of aphids being devoured alive (and dead).


Don't bug me, I'm busy.

This photo raises a question: What do you call a male ladybug? I learned the answer is: a male ladybug.

Gear talk: These photos were taken with a Canon 7D, 50mm f1.4 lens on a 20mm extension tube, and two Nikon flashes (left and right side). (ISO:100, 1/200, f/11) The camera and flashes were mounted on a home-made bracket (natch) that is pretty mobile and well-balanced.  I can get more magnification by using a longer extension tube. Focusing at this magnification is very critical, depth of field is about 3/8 inch.

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Macro photography – do it yourself!


I took this bee photograph with a Do It Yourself macro lens. I bought an old used wide angle lens at a camera store’s junk bin. The lens looks like it was originally made for an older Minolta 35mm camera. The filter size on this lens is 55mm, so I also bought a used filter step-up ring from the same junk bin. The filter ring fits on the front of the lens and has a flat area for a larger round filter. I then took a plastic body cap that fits my Canon 30D camera. I cut out the center part of the body cap and used some JBWeld to glue the body cap to the step up ring. This makes a “reversing ring adapter”.

This adapter lets me mount the wide angle lens backwards to the front of my 30D, thus making a very powerful macro lens. I also bought a used 50mm lens with the same size filter mount; this lens is a little less powerful, but still very useful for close-up photography. 

Total investment: $22 for two lenses and one adapter.

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