Back in the 60's & 70's when I was a small boy we led a different lifestyle to most kids these days, when I was four we moved from our maisonette above The Broadway a busy high street in Loughton Essex to Stevenage a new town in Hertfordshire.
We were surrounded by wildlife, the road I lived in backed onto farmland there was a sizable area of woodland a few hundred feet from my door & even bigger areas a short bike ride away.
In those days we were free to roam the woods, park & countryside at will because the fear of letting your kids out of sight had not crept into every facet of parents lives so my friends & I would spend most of our free time doing just that.
because the school I attended also backed onto the same farm & woodland it wasn't unusual to see foxes & deer in the school fields, squirrels & hedgehogs made their homes in our gardens, bats would flit around over our gardens, at night owls could be heard when I went to bed & I would be woken at the crack of dawn by birdsong & the distant sound of cockerels in the farm.
It sounds idyllic I know & could easily be put down to my viewing my childhood through rose tinted glasses but I still know many of the people who I grew up with that road & their memories are the same as mine.
My favourite TV programmes were presented by people like David Attenborough, David Bellamy & Jacques Cousteau, the stars were the animals & I always wished I could take pictures like the guys who got to travel the world shooting footage for these wildlife shows, my dad presented me with a Kodak Instamatic camera when I was 8 or 9 & I saved for months to buy an Olympus Trip at the age of about 13 but they really were not able to do what I wanted; you see I wanted to get right up close........
I wanted to get the pictures of what proportionally are the most dangerous animals going, insects’ spiders, & all manner of creepy crawlies & bugs.
Even later in life when I could afford the equipment I was far too busy to get out into the country & get the shots I wanted so it kind of got left behind.
Until that is about nine years ago; I was in a charity shop near my home & found an interesting little bit of kit in a small leather case, the asking price was the princely sum of £1.50 so I just had to buy it.
It was a Peak scale loupe & as soon as I saw it I knew I could do something very interesting with it.
What you will need:-
A digital camera with a retractable lens.
A scale loupe, I got mine in a charity shop but they are readily available on ebay for a few pounds.
A plastic tube, I used the middle from a roll of sticky tape.
A 35mm film canister cap or somethng similar.
A glue suitable for use on plastic.
The list above will almost certainly be different for other cameras but the basic concept remains the same, get the loupe on the front of the camera lens.
Step 1: Getting the core of the gadget.
We had some fun taking pictures in the garden of the spiders & bugs during that summer & then the loupe in its little leather case sat on my desk. I used it occasionally but never for pictures when the camera was replaced with a different model it that didn't fit so well.
Until this summer that is....
We gave up our pub last year & moved back to my better half Joanie’s home not far from where I grew up, the garden isn't large but it faces east to west so it gets sun from early morning until well into the evening we have a large area of allotments at the end of the property so we are slowly encouraging the wildlife back into the garden.
I also bought a second-hand Kodak CX7530 a few months ago & it occurred to me that I still had my loupe in its little leather case.
I had surgery on my shoulder in March so anything more than light gardening duties have been out of the question so I have spent a good amount of time camera in hand trying to get some good shots of the smallest wildlife that made its home in our garden.