Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Mycena capillaris

Mycena capillaris


If you go down to the woods today ... you're likely to find a middle aged photographer rooting through the leaf litter looking for fungi. Beech is rare in these parts so it's a treat to find Mycena capillaris growing on decaying leaves. This species is probably not rare so much as easily overlooked, I've found it frequent on two sites over the last week - you just have to look for this tiny Beech specialist.


Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/125 ISO 800

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Dicyrtomina saundersi

Dicyrtomina saundersi


Dicyrtomina saundersi admiring my ability to add scale bars to macro shots.
But not as much as me.


Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f11 1/200 ISO 100

Monday, 20 November 2017

Close to home

Close to home

I'm sitting at the computer entering records of observations into NatureSpot. An annoying little fly is flying around and keeps landing on the screen. I take a closer look at it. It looks like a Moth Fly, very difficult to identify to species level, but to be sure I pull out the camera and take some photos of it. I load the photos onto the computer and I can see that it's not a Moth Fly but a Barklouse.

I look it up on NatureSpot. It's Ectopsocus petersi. I enter the record into NatureSpot. A little fly lands on the screen. It's not Ectopsocus petersi, this one's a bit darker in colour. I pull out the camera and take some photos of it.

This could take a while....


Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f11 1/200 ISO 100



Sunday, 19 November 2017

It's nice but it's not Friday

Its nice but its not Friday


The light on Friday morning was special, with a quality that only happens once or twice a year. I knew it but I was trapped. Plenty of other photographers knew it too, even sharing their indoor spaces where the extraordinary light had penetrated. I was frustrated. Looking at the weather forecast last night I was torn. After a long day in the field yesterday the idea of catching up on sleep and a lie in with newspapers and breakfast in bed was attractive. But what if the light had the same magical quality as on Friday morning? It wasn't a chance I could afford to take, so up an hour before dawn and out. And ... it was nice. But it wasn't like Friday.


Sony ILCE-6000
E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
f9 16mm ISO 100
5 stop HDR

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Note to self - remember to look up occasionally

Remember to look up occasionally


Beech is a rarity in these parts so it was a pleasure to spend the morning in some of the best beechwood I've found in the county, with a little bit of sun occasionally to light it up. I spent most of the morning searching through beechmast for Beechmast Candlesnuff, Xylaria carpophila. Most of our records from Leicestershire come from late winter, so in November this colony is very immature. However, note to self - remember to look up occasionally:

Remember to look up occasionally

Friday, 17 November 2017

German Wasp

German Wasp


The Germans are Blitzkrieging my Fatsia japonica. But at least their highlights are well diffused.

German Wasp, Vespula germanica.

Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f11 1/125 ISO 100


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Minions

Springtail and mites


I've been feeling guilty about the MP-E 65mm languishing in a cupboard - in a Supertoys Last All Summer Long kinda way, so I pull it out and give it some love. Being completely honest, I've never really got to grips with the MP-E 65mm. This isn't a lens you just stick on a body and shoot, it's more of a lifetime commitment - in a Supertoys Last All Summer Long kinda way. The MP-E 65mm is the most light-hungry lens I've ever used and I've finally realized that my failure to coax it into life is down to my tendency to use natural light whenever possible. In short, my problems with this lens are defined by the equation:

[Gimme light, gimme light, gimme light light light; still not enough] x [At this magnification? I'm going to show up every tiny, tiny defect in your technique. Yes, including those you didn't know you had] = Big Fat Fail

Oh, I've used a flash with it in the past, but at full extension the front element is so far away from a hotshoe-mounted speedlight that the combination of the inverse square law and the fact that the working distance is so short that you're working in your own shadow anyway ... is a problem. A bit of packaging foam, an elastic band and some tinfoil helps though. Here's one I made earlier. Macro nerds are obsessed with diffusion, building elaborate homebrew setups from exotic materials, so what do you do when you want to test the effectiveness of a diffuser? Take a picture of something shiny. These Oribatid mites (about 1mm long) living under one of the tame bricks in my garden did the job. Identifying Oribatids to species level is beyond mere mortals, and to be honest, they're not the most dynamic organisms, sociably spending their entire lives doing almost nothing, but as shiny diffuser testers, they're hired. The little Lepidocyrtus springtail at the bottom of the picture - well he wasn't hanging around.


Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f9 1/60 ISO 100


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

False Saffron Milkcap

False Saffron Milkcap


False Saffron Milkcap, Lactarius deterrimus.


Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/160 ISO 400


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Heteromurus nitidus

Heteromurus nitidus


Heteromurus nitidus, living happily in association with Yellow Meadow Ant, Lasius flavus. Just over 1mm long - note the red(ish) eyespot.

Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM 5X
f9 1/60 ISO 100