My wife took the following photo of me trying to get a shot of this giant, evil-looking spider while we were in Florida. Ever since I moved to Washington, I’ve been shocked by the evilness and the size of the spiders here. I’ve always had fear issues with bees and bee-related nightmares were pretty common. Spiders, on the other hand, never really bothered me. That was then. Now, after doing battle with golf-ball-sized arachnids (armed only with a broom!) pregnant with their hellspawn, my bee nightmares have been replaced by spider nightmares. Still, I try to be brave.
True macro lenses have a reproduction ratio of 1:1. What that means is that the image being formed on the sensor or film is the same physical size as the object itself. Contrast this to taking a picture of a person, where the image of them on the film is much smaller than they are in real life. The working distance is the distance between the subject of the 1:1 photograph and the film or sensor plane. Working distance scales with focal length, independently of sensor size. What that means is that the 6mm focal length used on a small-sensor digicam has a very short working distance. A 100mm macro lens allows the photographer to stay farther way from terrible demon creatures like spiders.
The shot below was the result of my attempts. Not my favorite, by a long shot, but I like how the sunlight shines through the spider’s body.
That spider was tiny compared to the following spider, which I photographed from a safe distance using a 500mm focal length. This spider is about the size of my hand with fingers outstretched. Beautiful in a way, but mostly just disgusting. The stuff nightmares are made of.