A Pursuit of the Insect World


To view more of my photography please visit www.rakmilphotography.com and feel free to leave comments

My interest in macro photography has led me to me to meet a number of entomologists and seize an opportunity to visit the Canadian National Collection (CNC) of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (the latter is an amazing national treasure started in 1883 it has more than 16 million specimens).

In an earlier post I mentioned a number of sources that help me identify what I see, but more importantly I am on the path to knowing where to look for various insects and spiders. (Just to illustrate how ignorant I was I had no idea that spiders were not insects, and bees are related to ants.)

Many books on butterflies give examples of the kinds of bushes or plants that a given type of butterfly will find attractive. It is not always the case for other insects and local knowledge seems the key, hence my searching out and meeting entomologists and other nature types. They can help you discover, for example, that tiny (8mm) ambush bugs, like goldenrod and what damage they can do to you (painful but harmless injections etc.)

Most modern macro/micro lenses are only going to get you a life size shot which fill the frame with your subject, at its closest focus point. In other words the longer the lens the farther you are from your subject at your maximum magnification, which is a good thing if the insect is not pleased. You can shorten the focus distance and improve your magnification with extension tubes. I use a 105mm lens with Kenko extension tubes. As far as insects go you are probably as close as you want to be!

Strange things happen in macro photography, your depth of field becomes minuscule even at F11, and as you step down past F11, you can soften the photo by an optical phenomenon called diffraction. Secondly, light is at a premium and you will need some form of artificial light. In an early post I suggested where to go to learn about these things (especially how to create the tools yourself – an entomologist I know uses a pop bottle and some paper to focus his flash).

Photographing insects in the wild is challenging but fun and if you are lucky you get to meet interesting people like entomologists

11 responses

  1. Great pic there. Lucky for you it kept still.


    March 8, 2013 at 4:21 am

  2. Fabulous image and interesting post. I have also learnt something too – bees are related to ants!


    March 8, 2013 at 4:37 am

  3. Brilliant captured. Thank you for sharing with us


    March 8, 2013 at 6:54 am

  4. Wonderful shot Victor. One of my favorites!


    March 8, 2013 at 8:07 am

  5. Lovely! These are one of my favorite subjects to photograph, usually found while stalking butterflies.


    March 8, 2013 at 8:58 am

  6. cool shot


    March 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

  7. Nicely done.


    March 8, 2013 at 9:56 am

  8. Interesting post! Great photo! I don’t know if they are prevalent in your area, but we all need to be mindful about ticks. Lyme disease (from ticks) is not something that is easy to live with. If Lyme disease is a possibility in your area, be sure to use a lot of repellent on your pants and shoes… and watch where you venture!


    March 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

  9. Great shot.


    March 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

  10. Thanks for visiting my blog, I have enjoyed exploring yours, especially as an entomologist that studied in Canada, I really like your insect photographs and the advice on macrophotography.


    March 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

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