Dragonhunter Dragonfly & Garden Spider macro

Dragonhunter Dragonfly on green leaf - Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/22 ISO 200 1/60th SB-600 hotshoe mountedPicking organic blueberries was only really a facade for actually doing macro photography.  Just before I moved back to Florida after living in Asia for nine years, I thought that insects would be crawling and flying all around just outside my door in Florida, wouldn't it be great to have a macro lens?  As I tend to do with such things I became obsessed with finding an affordable priced used Nikkor AF-S 105mm VR micro f/2.8G lens, Nikon's flagship macro lens.  Just a few days before I left Tokyo, I did.

black & yellow garden spider Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/22 ISO 200 1/60th SB-600 hotshoe mountedHowever, there was no parade of fascinating insects marching past my front door in Florida.  Then I remembered it is much easier to hear an insect, than to see it.  I would soon learn that macro insect photography requires much, much more than just having a great macro lens.  

Anyway, the blueberry bushes were quite popular with black and yellow garden spiders, who make a web much interesting looking than their common name would make you think.  It reminded me of either a polygraph test readout or the graphical representation of speech.  

Dragonhunter Dragonfly Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/22 ISO 200 1/80th SB-600 hotshoe mountedThe dragonhunter dragonflies mostly hung out on wires strung between the rows of blueberry bushes.  They have faces that are very easy to anthropomorphize.  It really looks like they are smiling at you.  I would have to say that dragonflies are perhaps my favorite insect.  They leave humans alone and they eat mosquitoes.  Cannot ask for more than that from an insect!  Plus, one day looong ago, I had no car at that time.  I got every where on my trusty Trek mountain bike.  This meant rain or shine I rode.  Florida in the summer produces torrential rain storms of various lengths.  That day one of those storms was raging while I had to go to work.  I put everything into a plastic bag inside my backpack and rode shirtless to MOSI (museum of science & industry).  Riding in that kind of rain obviously is pretty hardcore.  I looked down at my handlebars and clenched to the brake cable was a dragonfly.  We looked at each other, neither showed aggression, and I rode on.  The whole 20 minute ride he was locked onto my bike and I felt a camaraderie with him.  He was gone when I returned to my Trek to ride home.  These are things that have meaning to me, even some 15 years later.  

black & yellow garden spider Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/22 ISO 200 1/60th SB-600 hotshoe mounted

I have struggled with macro insect photography in the past year, but I feel I am refining and improving my technique.  All these shots were at f/22, the first time to shoot with such a small aperture using the 105mm VR micro lens.  I look forward to my next macro chance . . .