These macro photos were shot with the Sony a7R and a Tamron SP Adaptall-2 52BB lens, it’s 90mm f/2.5, manual focus only. Fill flash was a Sony F60M, with the diffuser on for the green spider shots.
The smaller spider is a green lynx spider. The big spider is probably a Neoscona crucifera, also known as a Hentz Orbweaver. Wolf spiders don’t generally make webs, and this spider had spun up a large web. The Hentz Orbweaver is known to eat it’s own web. You can see how this spider wrapped up what looks like a bug, or possibly even some of it’s own web. It only took a few minutes to dispose of whatever the object was. The photographer looked down to adjust the camera, then looked up, and the prey was gone. Serious business in the insect world, check out the mandibles on that spider.
Taking photos of surfers from the beach generally requires a long lens and a rudimentary knowledge of the sport of surfing. You can shoot it with shorter lenses, just frame the shot like it’s a landscape photo, with surfing as a minor part of the equation. In this case the photo gear was a Sony a7R, LAEA4 A-mount adapter, and Tamron 150-600mm lens. Unfortunately 600mm on a full-frame camera wasn’t enough reach for the bigger waves at Trestles, which was the location of the shoot.
The good news was that these were professional surfers, in the 2015 Hurley Pro surf contest, so there was plenty of opportunity for getting good action photos, if the weather and the surf conditions cooperated. The bad news was that the light at this location was at a side angle at it’s best, in the morning only, and one of the two days that were shot was cloudy. That made processing the photos into anything useful rather difficult, as you’ll see. The swell was also down for the last day of the shoot; good for shorter lenses, bad for big surf action shots like getting air.
Point Sublime is one of the majestic viewpoints in the Grand Canyon. There aren’t too many places there where you can see a view of more than 180 degrees around you, but it can be done on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, at Point Sublime. The road going out to Point Sublime is 18 miles long, it’s dirt and rocks, and should not be navigated with passenger cars. People do run it in rental SUVs, but if a flat tire has to be changed out for the donut spare, it could be difficult to drive out. There is also the issue with most rental car contracts not covering offroad activity. The photo of the road that you see here does not look like the bad sections of the road; they are much worse.
The photo labeled as dispersed camping is one of the semi-secret places next to the Grand Canyon, that most tourists drive right by. If you are on the main road going to the Lodge, take a left at Forest Road 611, a couple of miles or so before the park entrance. It’s a gravel road, much better than the road to Point Sublime, and it leads to a series of nearly hidden primitive campsites on the East Rim of the Grand Canyon. These sites are free, but not all of them are on the edge of the canyon, and sometimes most of the view is blocked by trees. The air temperature at night can get down to 29 degrees in late September, or it can even snow, so be prepared. The cold wind seems to pick up in the evening and blow off of the high ground down the hill, but then the direction of the air flow reverses early in the morning, when things start heating up. Watch out for bees.
That all sounds a bit rough, but of course this is paradise in the Kaibab National Forest, and at the time of this article, the camping is free, no need to get any permits ahead of time. If on the other hand you wanted to reserve one of the two elite campsites at Point Sublime, you’ll have to work it out ahead of time with the Park Rangers, at the Backcountry office, which is located shortly before the Lodge. You can reserve a camp spot at Point Sublime a few weeks ahead of time via mail or fax; allow for at least five weeks lead time.
These photos were all shot with the Sony a7R, using an old Pentax-M 35mm f/2.8 lens, with the exception of the long shot of Isis Temple Butte, which was taken at 150mm with a Tamron 150-600mm lens.