Soldier Beetle (and a word about Macro/Close-up Photography)
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My reference books tell me that this is a soldier beetle. This picture marks the start of “bug season,” the season when the interesting insects appear in the field. I find that every year I struggle to get back to where I was the year before with close-up photography. All the variables of focus, shutter speed, exposure, and flash combine to make things just a little more complicated than when taking birds. The closer you get, the less light and the shallower the field of focus at any given aperture. At 20 meters F2.8 might be great for a bird in a tree, F11 will get the same depth of field five inches away from your insect subject. Even with flash you get small movement as you see here in the legs; often the antenna of an insect will move at remarkable speeds. While tripods are great for some insects, particularly sedentary ones, most insects will not stay around long enough to set up. This is the challenge and the fun of it.