Soldier Beetle (Two Photographs)

Soldier BeetleTo view more of my photography please click on

When I first saw this I thought it was a firefly (also a beetle), but after consulting Arthur Evans’ massive work, Beetles of Eastern North America, I am leaning towards it being a soldier beetle (common in North America). They were plentiful in the spring and early summer, and pretty much disappeared by mid-summer. What was interesting was that the beetle seemed to be hunting and looking for something. I have no idea about its eyesight but in peering over a leaf at least four feet off the ground, it must be good for it to see anything including movement. From a photographic perspective regardless of ISO when you crop down significantly to frame the insect you will get noise. For most bugs, when you get closer than 30cm, you will need to ensure there is sufficient light either natural or artificial and as most insects are often under other leaves, flash is helpful. Flash and ISO help with stopping action, and the lower the power of your flash the more it will help stop action. I tend to shoot close-up on full manual, keeping my shutter speed at its highest flash synch speed (1/250th), and try to keep my flash below 1/8th power and my aperture between F11 and F16. It does not always work as many insects are reflective and you can get specular highlights (bright spots); sometimes even at F16 the depth of field is insufficient. All of this makes it a wonderful challenge.

Soldier Beetle-2

7 responses

  1. Is there a simple explanation of ‘noise’? Pixels? Thanks!


    October 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

    • Noise is static like on the radio. Its unnecessary signals collected by your sensor when its sensitivity to light is above normal. The native ISO of your camera is where the camera has been designed for no noise. Above that the sensor has to push to acquire the data it needs and it collects unnecessary or faulty signals. As sensors improve, a higher range of ISO, higher sensitivities of your sensor to light, have almost no noise. Hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 18, 2015 at 9:58 am

      • Yes. Now I mostly understand. 😉 This winter I will have more time to play around with settings and will better understand once I’ve actually done it. Thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

        October 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    • Pixels are the elements of your sensor that capture light and color, some capture red, some capture, green and blue (RGB). How many and how tightly packed they are affects resolution.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

  2. Interesting insect – and valuable info about your choices of camera settings.


    October 18, 2015 at 1:25 pm

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