With Widest and Frondest Regards

katydid nymph on scrub palm

I don’t often take wide angle macro photographs, usually because I am searching for smaller arthropods for which 1:1 or greater magnification ratios are necessary. But I have one for you today.

The master of this style or technique, what have you, is Piotr Naskrecki, whose blog, The Smaller Majority, is a must read if you like beautiful photographs of and writing about insects and other arthropods. I believe that his entomological field is the Orthoptera which lend themselves to this photography because they can often be larger or longer than many other insects. If one wants to get all of the legs and antennae in a shot, the wide angle shot is an excellent option.

I ran into just such a situation on one of my expeditions in Florida. I’m usually not keen on switching out lenses, especially in a sandy environment as when I photographed this katydid nymph. But I had seen a bunch of them and took it as a sign that I should try to get a proper shot. One of the main benefits of the wide angle aside from accommodating larger subjects, is that it conveys the sense of the habitat of the animal. I particularly like the fronds in this shot.

I used the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G lens on this shot. Not too wide of a lens, but it got the job done here. I think a short extension tube might be helpful here, though I need to re-read Piotr’s posts on wide angle photography. Hopefully I will not be so lazy in the future and grab some more wide-angle shots.

Another side note tacked on to the end of a post, and another also relating to recent metaphors: I’ve enjoyed exploring the wasp searching for nectar metaphor, but it reminds me of a rule of Milan Kundera’s (explicated upon in either Testaments Betrayed or The Art of the Novel, which, much like my use of the wide-angle lens, I am not ambitious enough to look up right now). The gist of it is, limit your metaphors to short, direct formations, e.g. “like a steel rod.” I’m not sure if calling it a “rule” is an injustice to Kundera, but I’ll go with it and point out that the destiny of rules is to be broken. And yet, I think it is instructive: a metaphor can get away from a writer and spiral into ornate complexities and lose the intended meaning and attendant poignancy. I think my wasp metaphor lived well, but it is starting to fly like an old butterfly, intermittently and laboring, so I will put it to rest.


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