Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Sac Spider

First encounter
The Ramadan month is a period where its usually quiet at the state forest parks.
I took advantage of this to utilise my time to capture some macro shots with my new rig on a Canon EOS 5DmkIII.
For starters, shooting full-frame is simply amazing.
Now, having walked up and down on a 2km trail, I found a couple of subjects to capture. 
Nothing really interesting until I came face to face with an ant.
Underneath it, the bug was being gripped by the jaws of a Sac spider.
This was my first encounter with the species and after making reference with a field guide, its confirmed.

Looks can be deceiving: the ant paralyzed by the spider's venom
A slow death 
The Sac spider is an ambush predator and it kills by injecting a lethal venom on its prey.
Slowly, the spider's digestive enzyme will slowly turn its victim's internal organs and flesh into a goo soup where its consumed by the spider.
I didn't notice the Sac Spider until I turned the fern leaf that it was under up-side down.
The creature was so still, I managed to change the flash power output to capture some shots under 3:1 and 4:1 magnification.
For this, the Canon MPE-65 is the only lens capable of landing such shots.
Thanks to the guidance of Macro Master Kurtis Guek, who is also an amateur entomologist, I was able use the settings correctly with great results.
Its not easy to maintain focus on a spider that measures about 10mm.
And under high magnification, the flash exposure compensation has to be set to two stops over.

Face to face with a deadly micro predator: the Sac Spider
The details
Using controlled lighting with the right amount of diffusion, I was able to capture the Sac Spider.
And since it has a rather dull and dark coloured exoskeleton, I was glad that the image had turned out allright.
With some minor tweaks on my Adobe Lightroom 4 photo finishing software, I was able to bring out the details and I am pretty happy with the end-results.
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