Cheapskate Tuesday 31: Cheapskate Diffuser Mark III

Look how battered and sad these diffusers are. This is why I made new ones, and they are definitely more durable Ok, just a short post on mods to make basically the same diffuser as the Cheapskate Diffuser MK II, but a bit easier, and ending up with a stiffer and more durable product. These are sized for YongNuo 560 flashes, might be differently sized for a different light. If so, you wanna follow the…

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Matachia!

One of the coolest spiders I saw in NZ was quite small, and fairly inconspicuous. Matachia is NZ endemic genus of desid spiders which have a characteristic web architecture and retreat. There are several species of Matachia in NZ. Bryce McQuillan helped us find these in Christchurch, along the Avon River (just about here), in low branches above the bank.   Here you can see a Matachia poking out of her retreat, which is in…

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Wide (ish) macro continued: The EFS 24 mm STM

So yesterday I covered wide-ish macro with the 18-55 kit lens, so today I will go over a lens that I have found to be much more promising and fun: the EFS 34 mm STM. This is a lens that Gil Wizen turned me on to, and boy was he right. It is a great focal length, fairly fast (F 2.8), is VERY small (a so-called “pancake” lens) and is very inexpensive. Closeups without tubes…

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Cheapskate Tuesday: (wideish) macro part 1, the 18-55 kit lens

When I have not been blogging for a while, I usually start posts off with a bit of self-flagellation, followed by apologies and a promise to do better in the future. But to heck with that, what about a bit of shameless self-promotion instead? Nah, that does not work either. But something wakens Ibycter from her mighty slumber, and that is as shameful desire to take part in Science Borealis’ People’s Choice Award: Now, for…

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#TeamBlackWidow is back in the field!

This post will be an update on #TeamBlackWidow...As you may have guessed, based on following the #TeamBlackWidow hashtag on Twitter, we have arrived back in BC and are engaged in the early stages of our season’s fieldwork. Catherine and I are set up in a really nice basement suite in a house in the countryside (owned by arachnologists!) and are very much enjoying the new space (compared to our 400 square feet in Toronto). We…

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Weekend Expedition 73: Mississauga woodlands with Gil

Yesterday I went out to the woodlands near University of Toronto Mississauga with Gil for a springtime walk. We were hoping to see some post-breeding Ambystoma salamanders, and whatever else caught our eye…After a long cold and largely photo-free winter, this outing proved to be rather awesome… The first big spider we saw was this pretty amaurobiid. Their velvety abdomens are quite lovely in soft light. On one of the treetrunks we examined, we saw…

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Weekend Expedition 72: Leslie Spit with Gil and Catherine

Fall is swiftly turning into winter here in southern Ontario, with cold nights and disappearing leaves…This weekend looked like the last in while to offer any kind of warmish temperatures, so Catherine, Gil Wizen and I headed to Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie Spit) o see if we could find some cool arthropods. The following is a condensed collection of pictures I managed to get. On the way to pick up Gil at the train station,…

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A roundup of recent shots

The spider fieldwork Catherine and I have been doing at Island View Beach progresses slowly. Natural history observations and experiments take up most of our nights, but I have still been getting the opportunity to do some photography and arthropod outings here and there. Here is a sampling of some recent shots that I think you might enjoy. This is Island View Beach, near our fieldwork site. It is a gorgeous beach, and a rare…

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