When I have a photo subject, I like to work from the big scene down to details and abstracts to tell the whole story. And I would rather have 1 great image than 100 average ones. To do that, I like to get the easier images out of the way so that I know I have some pictures I can use. And then, if the opportunity is still there, I like to go for the  “harder” shots.

Here is this simple workflow in a handful of images from the flooded Great Trinity Forest, of another wolf spider with babies on her back, perched on a log above the water. I was in about 3.5 feet of water.

Here is a big picture image of the spider, with a 180mm macro at a decent distance to keep her from running away.

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

That was good, but I wanted to try a wide angle “environmental portrait” that showed more of the spider’s environment and perhaps a bit of the water. That meant I would have to get really close, and might spook the spider to run away from me.

Using my 16-35mm lens zoomed into 35mm, and slowly moving up to about 6 inches from our spider family and composed the image to show the surrounding environment as well as the spider portrait. When the sun created a little spotlight on the spider, I knew I had a shot I really liked. And the spider never moved.

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

Now that I had the big picture images, I tried to shoot more of the babies on mama’s back.

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

After getting that shot, I figured I could start taking some more chances. I really wanted to shoot just the babies . . .

So I pulled out a 2x teleconverter to make my 180mm macro into a 360mm macro. That is a bit of a tough equipment combo to pull off as you need very precise focus and no movement.  I moved up the ISO, set a small aperture and gave it a go.

I scooted a bit closer and tried to isolate the babies while showing the mother’s out of focus eye. One little spider baby finally climbed to the top, and I focused on it and shot. What do you know, it worked!

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA

Wolf spider mother with babies on back above floodwaters, Texas Buckeye Trail, William Blair Park, Great Trinity Forest, Dallas, Texas, USA. Canon 1Dx. 360mm. ISO 1600. 1/125 second @ f/18.