Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500.

Romalea guttata - Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

[iPhone 4S - $336]

The ubiquitous iPhone isn't designed for macro photography, but when the subject is as large as this 3-inch lubber the little camera's optics do just fine.

The challenge of making this photo was not optics but lighting. I built a white-box studio using foam boards from an office supply store, printer paper, and a desk lamp inserted facing upward in the box. The bounced light was softer than direct light, and as a result I achieved a professional-looking image even though the shoot was conducted with little more than standard office supplies and a phone camera.

To photograph the grasshopper, I placed it on the white paper in the middle of my tabletop studio and stuck the iPhone in through the gap in the far wall.