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If I were on top of my game and got extremely lucky, my best shot of a spider might look as good as No. 9. All your other shots seem to show a much sharper focus and a deeper DOF. Are they stacked, or are these single shots? Anything you can describe to explain the difference between 9 and the others?
Just an amazing set.
Thanks for the comment. #3, 4, and 7 are stacks. The others are single images. You can get decent DOF if the spider is big enough and/or you don't up the magnification as much. Most people tend to like full-body shots of jumpers (I think) and if you have a decent-sized spider you only have to go to 2X-2.5X. #9 was a single high-mag shot taken at 5X mag, so the DOF is necessarily very small. I like #9 though and don't necessarily equate a lot of DOF with being "good". Though high-mag stacked images are great, I like the selective DOF you can achieve with single shots. There is a similar effect with this image, where only a small part is in focus, but you can see the rest of the spider, though it is out of focus:
Bird dung spider by kiernter, on Flickr
Or you can go the other way, and try to get a stack of multiple images, though this is one of the very few times I've managed it:
Jumper stack by kiernter, on Flickr
You can click through the links to my Flickr pages for more details. Anyway, good luck with the spiders. Getting obsessed helps a lot.