Tuesday 1 July 2008

It's a Jungle Out There - a Very Small One!

I have a new toy. It is a Nikon AF-S VR Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. This magnificent piece of engineering has been coveted and drooled over for the past year and now it is mine, all mine. And I love it! Here are some of the specifications for you:

        • Vibration Reduction (VR) minimizes image blur caused by camera shake
        • An ED glass element minimizes chromatic aberration
        • Nano Crystal Coat that drastically reduces flare
        • Silent Wave Motor for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet auto focus
        • Focal Length 105mm
        • Max aperture f/2.8
        • Min aperture f/32
        • Min focus 0.31m
        • Construction 14/12 elements/groups

        If all that technical stuff doesn't float your boat and you haven't got a clue what this lens actually does yet - well, it is a macro lens - it makes small things big. If the truth be known, I don't understand all the technical stuff either, but I do know that all the photos that I took with this lens were done without a tripod and I can safely say that the vibration reduction is worth its weight in gold.

        So, now that I have acquired this magnificent piece of engineering, I venture out into the jungle that is Green 1/25th of an Acre. And here is some of the wildlife that I found:

        Here is a wasp eating a caterpillar. I know people don't like wasps. I know that they declare war on wasps as soon as they see or hear one droning away anywhere too close to their house. But, please, give them a chance. They are great for keeping the pests off your potatoes, caterpillars off your cabbages and bugs off your begonias.

        This is a snipe fly. Not really sure what it is good for, but it did sit still very nicely for this photo. The larvae are predaceous, so they must be good for keeping down pests in the garden and many adults feed on nectar and so help pollinate all your beautiful flowers. OK, so some may suck your blood, but have you ever been bitten by a snipe fly?

        Here we have a bumblebee on a blackberry flower. Everyone loves a bumblebee, don't they? They are all cute and furry and they are always working hard in the garden pollinating your flowers.

        This is the inside of a petunia flower. Who knew how pretty they were inside? I certainly didn't until I downloaded this photo. So, what are petunias good for? Well, just looking lovely, and isn't that enough?

        Pretty amazing huh? Even if you don't like the creepy crawly things, you have to admit that they are fascinating creatures - stunning examples of natural engineering at its exquisite best. So, the next time you see a "bug" out there, please don't squash it. Take another look, a closer look and be astounded by its beauty.

        If you want to be more amazed than you ever thought possible by the miniature world that exists out there, right under your noses, go buy yourself a copy of Life in the Undergrowth. I don't normally recommend books or DVDs. It takes a lot to impress me. If you get a "well, it was alright, I suppose" out of me, then you are doing pretty good. But this, I am very happy to say, is one that I can enthusiastically recommend. I am sure that you have all heard of Life on Earth, The Living Planet, Planet Earth and The Blue Planet. Well, this is one of Sir David Attenborough's less known series. Less known, but no less fantastic and fascinating. The photography is stupendous, stunning, awesome, breathtaking, astounding - I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Go and buy a copy!


        Anonymous said...


        Not sure I like the photo of the "lunch", and some of the others are a bit hairy. Nature truly is cruel and disgusting. But - the lens does take wonderful photos (not to denegrate your participation in the process). Guess I am going to have to spring for the camera and lenses.

        Anonymous said...

        Is it the lens or the camera person .......?

        Don't Bug Me! said...

        While I will admit that the lens is brilliant, it didn't get up, go outside and actually take the photos. I did have a little something to do with the whole process, thank you very much.

        Dawn said...

        HOLY CRAP! those are great photos! I want a macro lens! so now it is my turn to drool... I have lens envy ;)
        thanks DBM for all the lens facts.
        I am emailing you.

        Don't Bug Me! said...

        Dawn: Holy crap is what I thought when I started downloading the photos - I didn't even realise what the wasp was eating until I saw the picture. I knew he was chewing something, but I couldn't see what.Very impressed by the lens. Now all I need is a very large zoom......oh yes, and a flash, and a tripod and.......photography really is one big money pit.

        Anonymous said...

        That wasp was super cool, and the bumble bee so sweet looking. I really wonder what the petunia flower would look like under UV, you know, the way the insects see it? Can't wait for more photos from you. :)

        Don't Bug Me! said...

        Thanks CA. I am quite looking forward to getting out with the camera over the summer. Good question about the petunia and UV light. If I had one, I would try it!

        Anonymous said...

        I don't buying you a Petunia ....

        Anonymous said...

        Those pictures are stupendous! I looove macro photography and was out taking pics of hoverflies today with my little compact digital. It has really quite a good macro option with image stabilisation and does a great job, but nothing beats an SLR with interchangeable lenses and that one you have is a beauty.

        But as you say, the lens doesn't take itself out there and take pics for ya, you have to compose, frame up, choose your exposure options. Well done!

        If you do much macro you'll find you will need a tripod plus excellent lighting - go for it!!

        Don't Bug Me! said...

        Jay: Thanks for the compliment. I know that I am going to need a tripod and better lighting - I have already picked out the ones that I want. Now I just need to find the right time and place to break this to Mr. DBM. He is a very patient and giving man, but even he has his limits!

        Anonymous said...

        Ooh, I haven't popped by in a while and look how bloody prolific you've been! Also loving the bumble bee, and the wasp is quite spectacular. Great shootin' hunny! x

        Don't Bug Me! said...

        Thanks EM! I am now on the hunt for something a bit prettier - perhaps a butterfly of a dragonfly?