Texas Brown Tarantula

My wife saw this Texas Brown Tarantula last week on a walk and called me so I could shoot a few. These gals are pretty common right now. They are very docile and put up with my camera intrusion as I stretched out on my belly to take her photos.

I was trying to show a different view and was drawn to the warm browns and the interesting "Mohawk’ between her eyes.

This is my first post to NPN. Looking forward to learning a LOT.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I’m really working on soft lighting. Any feedback is welcome.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Slight rotation and crop so the arch went corner to corner. This centered the eyes which I’m not sure about and maybe would have rather put them on a third line. Would you do something different?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Hand held single shot with Sony a6000 ISO 250 at 1/100 sec. Laowa 65mm macro at f8. Flash is a combination of the Meike MK-MT24 at 1/8 power and an old Nikon SB-22 mounted on the controller and flashed through a home made diffuser from packing foam. Post processing with Lightroom. Some spot removal in Photoshop.

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Todd, welcome to NPN. This is a fine first post. The warm colors are quite inviting and you did an excellent job of getting the details in the eyes and “mohawk”. This view does have me wondering what the entire spider looks like… :grinning:

Welcome aboard. Your focus is pretty good with the eyes nice and sharp. I would go with at least F11 to F16 so that the front hairs are equally sharp. This is a fairly unconventional view of this fine spider. You may want to try to get a vertical shot with the chelicerae and palms next time as well. Pretty neat shot though and worthy of Halloween. Well done… Jim

Jim, thanks for the feedback. Depth of field is always a challenge. I did take a LOT of images with the thoughts that I could do some focus stacking in Zerene Stacker too but have not gotten the time. In the field, it is difficult to see what is in focus on the a6000 LCD screen on a bright day so when shooting hand held, I tend to lean in and out and shoot a ton of pictures on continuous mode hoping to get some in focus. I’m a little limited by the flashes ability to keep up. Still, lots of fun.

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Thanks Mark! I did take a set of images from the front of the spider in order to try a focus stack. That spider was huge and there was no way to get it all in focus. Even with the focus stack set it just covers some of the front legs and the cephalothorax. I’ll post her when I get her done.

Todd, welcome to NPN. What a fine photo for your first post. Nicely captured.

Welcome, Todd. I love the colors in this image, and it makes a fine abstract. It does look like some of the brighter areas might have gone a bit too far, so a little less flash might have worked better. I have the A6500 and when I do macro with it, I use manual focus and have the focus peaking and some function, the name of which escapes me that automatically zooms in at the same time. It seems to help quite a bit, but I usually use the viewfinder even low down. Some people have gone back to the dark cloths that the old photographers looking at ground glass used to use for focus. A nice large dark bandana would probably do the trick.

I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of your work.

Welcome, Todd! I think this is a fine photograph, and an unusual viewpoint of a tarantula. Not loving spiders, this sets me on ‘edge’ and that means it has the impact that you intended - to show us up close what this gal looks like! I agree that f11 or maybe f16 would have given you those hairs in front in focus, but I know how hard it is to see when photographing outside so I too use the method that Dennis does, manually focusing with the ability to magnify that focus area for critical focus.

Welcome to NPN Todd. Awesome first post and a wonderful subject. What a challenge to shoot this hand held. Some suggestions if your camera allows would be to focus stack to get more of the subject sharp. If you want a shallow depth of field then make sure that the subject is tack sharp where you want the viewer to look. I find that the focus is more on the lower left hairs and not the eyes. Again, very challenging hand held. I would also consider burning down the hairs in the left 20% of the frame to more closely match the right side. I would also burn down the very top left sections that is much brighter than the right side to try and even out the top of the frame. Looking forward to seeing more of your work and once again, welcome to NPN. Happy Holidays Todd! I just noticed that you did focus stack this but have not gotten around to stitching them yet. Would love to see that. :slight_smile: