Re-exploring macro photography

Macro photography was, or is, my first love.  Although it's been a while since I went on a bug hunt, I'm still very fascinated by it.  Online I tend to follow people like Nicky Bay and Thomas Shahan.  Their specialty is a more extreme type of macro photography.  While typical macro lenses achieve a 1:1 magnification, they go beyond that so that they can photograph the really small insects. 

After seeing hundreds of pictures of jumping spiders, I decided to try this type of photography myself.  Why?  I'm one of the few people who love spiders.  I like exposing details which you can't see with the naked eye.  You can find small critters close to home, even in your own garden, which is very nice if you don't have a lot of time. 

My setup at this moment.  My trusted Nikon D800, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro F017, Raynox DCR-250, Kenko 36mm extension tube and LAOWA Macro Twin Flash KX-800 with the optional LAOWA softboxes.  I need to say at first it was a bit awkward to take pictures without my tripod and to use a flash instead.  The LAOWA doesn't support TTL or any other aids, everything needs to happen manual which means there's a learning curve.

Last weekend I had my first go at a small spider with the size of approximately 5mm.  I'm quite happy with the results for a first try, but the lighting needs to be much better.  All pictures showed quite a lot of highlights and hot spots in the "face" of the spider.  I think my flashes were to close to the spider.  Also to diffuse the light more, I have bought myself some sheets of tracing paper.  I'm going to try to make an extra diffuser to put between the object and my soft boxes.  To be continued!