To view more of my photography please visit www.rakmilphotography.com
The photograph shows the insect in the course of doing what insects do, gathering pollen. At bugguide.net, the identification was not solid (they would have preferred a view of the fly from on top –a dorsal view, but indicated it might be a Tachinid).
I always try to get a composition in the first shot, because that may be the only chance I get. Even if the subject does not react and fly away, you cannot chance moving the camera from your eye, adjustments to your camera need to be made by touch/memory. So when entomologists ask for a top down view I smile, entomologists generally photograph captured insects or shoot for the dorsal rather than the dramatic view. Its also a good reason to get to know your camera!
When I started doing macro photography of insects, I was told a tripod would not be helpful. However, tripods work and work very well for subjects that stay still or move slowly (e.g. ambush bugs). In spite of their nuisance I carry a tripod with me most of the time so it is available when I need it. The tripod I use is short, able to go very low to the ground and in addition to a ball head, has a focusing rail. Ball heads allow you to move the camera in almost any position quickly, and the focusing rail permits small adjustments to position and focus.
The technique of finding the right speed at which your movement and your subject’s is minimized, as well as the right fstop to capture as much of your subject as possible, takes practice. I have had to give myself a refresher course this year, which makes it all the more rewarding when it works!