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