Ladybugs – Macro Lens for Micro Photography

I learned a lot about lenses recently. I went to a camera store and told the salesman I wanted a lens that would let me take better pictures of Ladybugs. Apparently he gets lots of requests like that, because he said he had just the lens I wanted. Did you know that you have to have a Macro (meaning very large in scale) lens to take pictures of Micro (meaning very small in scale) things? Seems counter intuitive.

The salesman put one on a camera, and showed me how to use it. I played around with it for a while, pretending that the words on a magazine cover were ladybugs.

I wasn’t ready to buy one yet though, because I was shopping, not buying. To me these are two different activities. But The Car Guy was with me, and to him, shopping and buying are one and the same thing. So he said to the salesman, “We’ll take it.” He didn’t even ask the price. He didn’t go to another store to compare prices. He just bought it. We were in and out of the store so fast that the parking meter had barely begun to count down the time. The Car Guy is exciting to shop with!

We took the lens home, and I went outside looking for Ladybugs.

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Photo 1: This is a picture of a ladybug taken with the old lens – an 18 to 55 zoom lens. Let’s call this ladybug Larry. Ladybugs can be male or female, and it is pretty hard to tell one gender from another.

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Photo 2: This is a picture of a ladybug with the new  60mm 2.8 macro lens. Let’s call her Lucy. See how much bigger Lucy appears than Larry? I should mention here that neither Larry nor Lucy caused the damage you see on the leaves. That was from the hail storm.

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Photo 3: This is Larry, the ladybug in Photo 1, after I cropped the photo.

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Photo 4: Here is Lucy, the ladybug from Photo 2, after I have cropped the photo. See how much clearer the resolution is than Photo 3?

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Photo 5: A side view of another Ladybug, Linda. This photo was cropped as well. Linda is hoovering things off the top of this surface, I think. They are very beneficial bugs to have in the garden!

It is very hard to take these really close up pictures. The Ladybugs get quite skittish when a big black lens starts closing in on them and it tends to make them head for the under side of the leaf they are sitting on. Rest assured, though, that no Ladybugs were actually harmed in the making of these photos! Scared a bit, maybe, but not harmed.

How brave a ladybug must be!
Each drop of rain is big as she.
Can you imagine what you’d do,
If raindrops fell as big as you?
– Aileen Fisher –

Which bug is the superpower of the bug world where you live?

22 comments

  1. I am impressed! I would love to have that lens. We seem to have a steady influx of praying mantis here lately. There is usually one or more waiting by our garage door every day. I have tried to get a micro/macro whatever close up picture but they won’t ever be as sharp as your ladybugs. I do find them fascinating though (my daughter is petrified of them!)

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    • Hi Maineiac – It is a very nice lens and I am enjoying looking for bugs. It will be fun next year for closing in on flowers.
      We don’t have praying mantis here, but I understand they are very beneficial in the garden. The aren’t quite as cute as ladybugs, though!

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    • Hi Jennifer – I was impressed with the help I got from the camera salesman. I am still very much a point and shoot photographer, but he showed me how I would have better control of my close up photos if I used the manual focus.
      I showed my daughter the new lens and she has taken it, and the camera home with her. She says the camera (which is about 7 years old) needs some cleaning, and a few settings tweaked. Then she will give me some pointers on how I can take the next step in my learning curve.
      I am very lucky to have family who know a whole bunch more about photography than I do!

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    • Hi Mags – You are certainly right about having the right equipment. Being able to use my husbands camera, and his suggestion that I get a macro lens, has opened up a whole new way of looking at life!

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  2. Ladybugs are one of my favorite bugs. Macro is my favorite way of taking photos of little things, but I don’t always do well. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a macro-lens. That’s pretty neat. I enjoyed all your photos of the L family. Very fun and cheerful post. 🙂

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  3. Your posts are like entering a whole new world for me. It’s not just the lens, it’s the creative eye looking through the lens. I could have the same camera and lens and never be able to produce the kinds of images you do.

    As for super bugs in my area–I love spiders, all of ’em!

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  4. Those are beautiful pics. I love ladybugs but around here we have what look exactly like ladybugs but are actually what people call Japanese beetles. There’s probably a more specific name. They come out in massive numbers certain times of the year, swarm on houses, get inside and generally wreak havoc! I guess there are worse problems though.

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  5. Wonderful photos! I love ladybugs and I’ve never seen them up close like this. Thank you! Keep thrilling us with more up close and personal pics (none of spiders, please).

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    • Hi SDS – I took pictures of bees and wasps the other day, but so far the only spider is a daddy long legs. Sorry, but I can’t guarantee I won’t post a spider picture if I get a good one, but I can assure you the spider will be a friendly one!

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    • Hi Simple Life – We are visiting on a farm today, and the grasshoppers are pretty thick. Grasshoppers – I hadn’t thought of this for years, but my grandson used to call them hopgrassers!

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