Take your Time

The smaller the insect, the more difficult it is to get the eyes in focus due to the little depth of field. Tiny bugs are also hard to focus on because they only fill a small portion of your camera frame which makes it hard to tell if you are in focus visually. Here is an example of a tiny bug that took a lot of patience to get into focus, on the left is how the spider looked through the camera, and on the right is the same photo zoomed in:

a very small spider on a flower stem
a close up view of the small spider on a flower stem

I spent a good while following this little guy with my lens as he ran up and down the flower stem. There were brief moments where the spider would stop and look at my camera, most likely to see what the flashing light was 😄. Since the spider was so small and moving I had to be very patient following these steps until I captured the photo I wanted:

  1. Move lens slightly back and forth to locate and focus the spider
  2. Track the moving spider all over while moving back and forth to maintain focus
  3. Wait for the spider to stop
  4. Take multiple photos of the stopped spider after acquiring focus by moving back and forth
  5. Review the pictures to see if the spider was captured in focus, back to step 1 if the focus is not correct
A female paper wasp on a flower

The Patience Mindset

Patience helps you deal with many situations. Bugs will move, run, and fly away; the wind will come up and shift the plants, leaves, and flowers you are trying to capture; the weather is capable of dramatically changing without much notice; patience is the key. I do not have tips for obtaining patience, but I do have this list of items to help see a different perspective which can lead to improved patience.

  • The bug flew away, but since there are bugs everywhere I know I’ll find another one
  • The wind is whipping this flower around, at least I can hold it with my other hand to get focus
  • The rain came out of nowhere; I’m happy that it will help me get some unique shots
  • This little spider won’t stop running around, I better rest my arm for a few minutes and try again
  • I missed the focus 20 times in a row, getting it on the 21st time was worth it!

The list above reflects frustrating situations and how I think about them to remain patient and continue to enjoy taking photos.