It is amazing what life is invisible to us as we walk about in the woods. There are millions of things we don’t see in just a small location. With a bit of searching around, these life forms can be observed with the naked eye, and photographed. Just by rooting in some leaf litter, looking under old logs and branches things can be found, from the larger centipedes and slugs to the much smaller.
I spent two days over the past weekend at a local woodland, hunting around in a small area, not quite a “1m square field trip” as someone on a forum recently suggested. As, although, I started looking in that sort of radius, some fetching of some interesting branches to the “base camp”, did take place. Nevertheless, the total area search was not very big, just a few paces here and there.
Here are a selection of photographs, of what lies beneath…
Firstly a four image stack of a small spider with its dinner. Images were processed in Helicon Focus 6.
I stack images in the field hand held, the idea being that stacking several images together increases the depth of field that is in focus – Even with F11 at high magnifications, the area in sharp focus is very small.
And a single shot of it.
Then two stacked images of a Dicyrtomina ornata, a type of Collembola (Springtail). To learn more about these and other small things I recommend a look up of the excellent website www.chaosofdelight.org
Both images were processed in Photoshop CC, the first is 4 combined images, the last two shots. The first image is about 3x magnification on the Canon MPE-65mm, the later is at the maximum magnification of 5x.
Here are some more Globular Springtails.
With this one firstly impersonating a horse ( that’s what sprang to my mind anyway 🙂 )
And then smiling and waving at the camera.
These globular Springtails, have some flatter cousins – Elongated Springtails.
In this next shot, I used a bit of colour tweeking in Topaz Restyle, to make the log colours less harsh.
I believe is another type of Collembola – it is very tiny, and seems to me like a small walking blue cloud.
Perhaps more familiar to many is the millipede.
This next is obviously some kind of tiny fly. I have yet to identify it.
You might assume this next is a catterpillar – well yes it is a larvae. But it is a larvae of a biting midge!
These larvae produce a sticky, glycogen-rich substance from the hollow hairs on their backs. Each globule absorbs water from the environment before running down and coating their thin cuticle, helping to retain moisture.
The substance also acts as a fungicide and bactericide, as well as a defence against ants and other predators.
My final subject was this tiny and colourful small weevil.
The last image is a 3 shot image – stacked in Photoshop.
I hope you enjoyed looking at some of the creatures that live beneath our feet.