Common Striped Woodlouse

Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

Philoscia muscorum has a dark stripe along the centre of its back. One of the ‘famous 5’ very common British species of woodlouse most likely to be seen.

Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

Seen all year round, it forages for dead organic matter on which it feeds during the cover of night, hiding under stones, bark or logs during the day.

Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

Woodlice can be quite a challenge to photo, not just because of their small size, but because they generally run off and hide again when disturbed. The camera flash can be problematic, too, for it tends to bounce off the shiny surface of the exoskeleton expressing ugly highlights. A diffuser helps, but control of the light can still be a challenge. To add, narrowing the aperture to around f/36 to get as much detail as possible means flash is essential. You are also outside of the ‘sweet spot’ for sharpness, but all depends on your lens and camera, too. And without a tripod, a steady hand is needed, so bracing on ‘anything’ using ‘everything’ is key.

Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum

Equipment: Nikon D7200 with Sigma 105 mm macro lens and Raynox 250 convertor lens. Nikon Speedlight with plastic direct fitting diffuser and fabric diffuser on lens. Hand held. Settings: f/36. 1/160 sec. ISO-320. A little post-processing applied.


24 thoughts on “Common Striped Woodlouse

  1. It’s fascinating to read of the settings that you used, Pete, and to see the results. I am not sure that I have ever seen a photo shot at f/36. Even at that setting, your depth of field was pretty shallow.

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    • Thank you, Mike. I may be retaining the depth of field as the second lens which I click onto my macro gets me that bit closer, and I am virtually in the face of the creature, almost being full frame. It can be a balancing act at times, for I think there is also a sweet spot distance wise and as to what your lens and camera can achieve. Sometimes stepping back a little and cropping later can be more effective, but I do like filling the frame when I can 🙂


      • Thanks for the explanation, Pete. It is a balancing act every time I take a shot as I mentally juggle all of the options for camera settings and composition. There are definitely tradeoffs with each choice. My first instinct is also to get in as close as I can, whether physically, when I am shooting with a macro lens, or by zooming in, when I am using a zoom lens.

        Liked by 1 person

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