First attempts with ‘Meeting your neighbours’ technique
Having an untidy house and garden(!) means that we seem to have plenty of bugs about the place. I made my first attempts with the ‘Meet your neighbours’ just to try it out. This is the technique of shooting on a white background with multiple flashes; I found things worked out pretty well (in fact better than I was expecting for a first attempt).
The spider and bug were brought inside, where I had set up a thin white polypropylene kitchen chopping board (bought in a pound shop today!) horizontally about a foot or so above the floor, and with my SB600 flash pointed upwards to the underside of the board. The flash was set to work wirelessly using the excellent Nikon CLS system, triggered by the onboard flash. The SB600 was set at something like +2EV or so TTL, and the onboard flash slightly lower.
For both shots I shot handheld; the spider is quite a hefty crop; for the bug I used 32mm of extension on the lens to get a bit tighter without getting so close that the onboard flash didn’t light the subject. The bug and spider (collected separately for each shot) were not too eager to sit still; in an ideal world for the smaller subjects I’d probably use the 60mm with tubes and have a second dedicated flash with a softbox to provide overhead light (perhaps the SB600 – I’d probably want a more powerful flash to shoot through the board).
As I said in my previous post, I’m not convinced about using this technique for flowers since I’m not keen on the way flash lights flowers rather unnaturally in my view. However, it does work very well with insects. I also think I’ll try to attempt some more creative fungi shots this autumn using flash.
The spider is a male Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) – a lot smaller than the female.
I’m not sure about the ID of the Shield Bug, though I know we have Green Shield Bug and Dead Nettle Shield Bug in the garden. Edit: I now think it’s Dolycoris baccarum (Sloe Shield Bug). They’re usually purple, but turn brown towards the end of the year; I spotted another purple one in the same place this morning.