On a hot and sunny afternoon in Spring this year I was relaxing at a friend's terrace. Suddenly a little Gecko came onto the terrace looking for a sunny place to also relax and get some warmth. It looked like he would join me in enjoying the silent scene. But, what I did now was to slowly and carefully get up to grab my camera. I was moving very carefully to not chase him away. Luckily he didn't feel disturbed. He changed position a bit but did not run away and I was preparing my camera and looking for a good position.
400mm f/9 1/800sec ISO400
I layed myself flatly on the ground in front of the Gecko. My huge tele zoom lens was resting on the ground. This way I got a stable position with minimum shakes and a really nice perspective. Photographs of animal should be taken at their eye level which is really difficult with such a small thing. To give you an impression of his size, he was approximately as thick as a finger. With the tele zoom lens I had the chance of magnification and bring out details, that are not visible with pure eyes.
400mm f/11 1/1000sec ISO400
After relaxing and sunbathing for some time he started action. There are some gaps between the tiles of the terrace. The Gecko moved to one gap and started to inspect it. He was looking around and sticking his head into the gap. With his claws he was digging deeper and throwing the dirt out of it. He must have noticed something interesting. He was digging deeper and deeper, sticking half of his body into the gap. That was very interesting to observe.
400mm f/10 1/800sec ISO400
Suddenly he came up again with some worm or grub in his mouth. That's what raised his attention. It looked so funny, like he had a cigar in his mouth. With two more bites the lunch was over. And I was laying there in front of him observing all that through my magnifying lens and taking one photo after another. That was so interesting and so much fun although the whole action took about 5 minutes.
400mm f/10 1/1000sec ISO400
Afterwards when I was checking the photos at my computer screen I was amazed about all the details. Because of my stable position with nearly no camera shakes the images got quite sharp. OK, with such a high focal length the depth of field gets very narrow and therefore several parts are out of focus. But the narrow depth of field also helps to separate the reptile from all the stuff around. It is very interesting to see that such a small animal has exactly the same skin texture as a large lizard. To give you one more impression of his size, the "stone" next to him is a cherry stone.
400mm f/11 1/1000sec ISO400
Last but not least the technical details again: I used my EOS 500D with an EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens mounted to it. The camera was set into P mode and calculated aperture and shutter speed automatically. ISO was at fixed value of 400. Because I was laying flatly on the ground there was a wide distance range within the frame. This is challenging for using auto focus because usually it focuses at a near distance. To avoid this I switched auto focus to focus in the center only. With that setting I can control focus even when using auto focus. Similar did I with exposure metering. I had bright parts in front and really dark shadow areas in the back. To get the scene exposed correctly I switched into spot metering. This way I can use automatic exposure control and still get a perfectly exposed photo.