Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Macro Magic - First day's play

I've just recently acquired a new macro lens (Canon EF 100 mm 1:2.8 L). 

So on the first day, I went out for a play. Didn't need to go far, no need for the car,
just out to the garden, to see what was there.

The following is just a self-indulgent gallery of some of those first pictures. The flowers were easy targets to begin with.


Grape Hyacinth 


Dutch Iris

Eucalypt blossom and buds

But with the flowers come the pollinators. The first hoverflies (family Syrphidae) are the harbingers of spring for me, and are the first sure sign that the warmer weather has finally arrived after the long cold Canberra winter. But other flies, mainly calliphorids I think, were also getting amongst it, and it was amazing to see just how much pollen they were picking up and spreading around. 

To a prospecting hoverfly, the protruding stamens of a cluster of viburnum flowers must look like a forest of food.

Hoverfly at Chinese broccoli flower

and again


... and closer.

Flies are often said to be continuously 'washing their hands' - I think perhaps they're actually rubbing them with glee.

A stunning golden-bummed calliphorid fly

and again.

This fly is carrying a massive load of pollen, but not from the viburnum it's currently on.

Whereas this fly does appear to be spreading viburnum pollen.

Bees are of course better known generally as pollinators, and they too were very active on this day, particularly in the viburnum, the grevilleas, and the rosemary. Until looking at these photos I hadn't realised that even the humble rosemary flower is exquisitely structured to ensure the bee comes into contact with the over-arching stigma. 

Honey bee at grevillea flower

The style of the rosemary flower arches over so the stigma contacts the bee's head or thorax to increase the chances of pollination.

I hadn't even realised this tiny beetle (about 2-3 mm long) was there until later looking at the photos.

And everywhere I looked there was something different to focus my new toy on.

Scale on a eucalypt leaf suddenly looked like miniature rock oysters

common sugar ants took on individual personalities

a case moth caterpillar hung discretely in the callistemon

and a tiny early instar katydid very nearly avoided detection.

And with such an abundance of insect life, the tiny jumping spiders (family Salticidae) presumably make a killing...

Jumping spider (type A)

Jumping spider (type B)

I'm going to have a lot of fun with this new lens!


  1. Harvey

    You have a fantastic eye for taking macro's. I like the design-y aspect of the flower photos. And your insects are brilliant.


    1. Thanks, Kathy. I'm glad you enjoyed them. And It's really nice to get feedback!

  2. You've had lots of fun playing with the new toy. Great to see flies featured, especially Calliphoridae :-)

    1. I did my PhD on transposable elements in a calliphorid - Lucilia cuprina. As well as several years of blowfly research with CSIRO Entomology. Learned to tell a male from a female Lucilia from 3 paces!