Insects

Ad Astra

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What does the butterfly see when it stares at the sky. As insects go they have keen eyes, a sense of direction and ability to manoeuvre so it’s not an idle question.


Posed

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Dragonflies don’t pose, they stop like damselflies to soak up the sun which gives them energy for their next foray of hunting other insects. Usually their backs are to the sun. These two facts can help in photographing them. If your approach makes them fly away you were never going to get the shot, but if by moving forward slowly they remain still, you have a winner.


Bee

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This bee spent some time skimming along the edge of this group of flowers. Delicate, fast and energetically going about its business. I take bee shots with most of my lenses most recently with a 200-500 mm lens. The results are similar to using a 105mm with an extension tube, but the distance from the bee is more comfortable for both of us.


Colourful But Back-lit (Two Photographs)

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There are many ways to be creative in photography. As cameras advance in technological sophistication we get new possibilities. One of which is the ability to ignore ISO and pull more out of shadows with little noticeable grain. It worked in these shots of a sweat bee.


Butterflies (Two Photographs)n

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When I am shooting in nature I try to get some context, contrast, or framing. Not always possible but I find focusing on just the subject is bit too clinical and not necessarily creative photography. An added bonus is it makes shooting some subjects just a touch more challenging.


Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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The second photograph could be my ode to Halloween. Hummingbird moths look better just a bit further away. Their flight pattern is more like helicopter than a plane which makes some shots a little easier.


Monarch in the Light (Two Photographs)

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If you read my last couple of posts on colour and shadows you will notice in these photos taken a few seconds apart, the change in colour due to shadow and positioning. It’s not a question of which is right or closer to reality, but that colour and shadow are variables. As a result there are choices to be made when taking the photos and some latitude when it comes to processing. In this sense (and others) photographers interpret reality.


Painted Lady Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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By far the most compliant insect I have seen. They pose! It takes a bit more movement to frighten them off, and they usually have great eyes. Whenever I find one there are dozens and its great fun for photography.


Contrast (Two Photographs)

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In photographing insects its always great to have colour contrast. Many insects blend in with camouflage so colour contrast is nice to have rather than a must have. Besides beautiful flowers add to any subject.


Awkward Angles (Two Photographs)

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Since I started writing about photography, I have made a point of suggesting that photos taken from different angles or perspectives make it more likely you get a unique photo. And it is true that some angles result in awkward looking shots but sometimes those angles may be all you have to work with. In my case that means taking more shots however I can when the subject is interesting, in the hope of a successful shot.


The Agility Of Bees (Two Photographs)

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In the many photos I have taken of bees there has always been the element of activity, but in my most recent shots I am beginning to appreciate the coordination and agility of bees as they move from flower to flower and it’s not just a matter of flight. They have considerable energy for their size.

 


Wonder (Two Photographs)

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In the past I was wary of any insects and scared of spiders. As I spent more time on nature photography, I learned a lot more about insects and spiders, bought some books did some studying and I was amazed. The feeling quickly translated into my photography. The butterfly you see here, I believe is a common white admiral, but its colouring, its eyes its pose, its patient work, are a wonder of nature.


The Bee’s Knees (Two Photographs)

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The bee’s knees is an expression of unknown origin but indicates something of excellence or high quality. Given the importance of bees to the environment, our food chain and our well being, the title seems appropriate.


Painted Lady (Two Photographs)

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I could spend all day shooting painted ladies. Unlike most insects they are tolerant of close up photography, preferring to eat than fly away. A remarkable butterfly to watch at work. In addition, they seem to love to land against good backgrounds!

 


That Bee (Two Photographs)

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Another sweat bee, doing its thing and taking off. Because of their colour and antics they are the most popular type of bee in our local woods. They are best found in late summer when they are looking for their final meals of the season.


Love and Hate, Macro (Three Photographs)

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What I like about close-up photography is that I get to see things I otherwise would never see. On the other hand narrow depth of field, difficulties with light and capturing detail lead to some effort in achieving a good result.


Bee Fight (Two Photographs)

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I was very surprised to learn that bees fight. This bout took about 4 seconds, and in the last round the bee on the right chose to fly off, leaving leftie to carry on pillaging the flowers. Nature Photographers are always on the look out for the unusual. This time it just happened while I was trying to shoot a metallic bee.


Hairstreak Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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I have posted photos of the Hairstreak before, so this time I wanted to try a black and white treatment. Black and white brings out elements that colour hides and also brings out a bit of drama (almost always a good thing in photography).

 


Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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If you see one of these wonderful creatures, time is not on your side. You need a super fast shutter speed and great reflexes just to get a few good shots. The moths are almost always in flight and hovering means a bit of jitter. Nonetheless they are quite a catch as they are not common where I live.


A Bee on Echinacea (Two Photographs)

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The echinacea flower is a favourite of bees and makes for a classic bee shot. The trick is to take many photographs while moving closer and filling the frame. My preference is to have the bee less centred on the flower, but I get what I get.


A Hornet (Two Photographs)

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Hornets are not my favourite subjects and fortunately I don’t see many. This one took me by surprise. I saw an insect but it was not until I got close up that I realized what it was. Thankfully it was otherwise occupied and ignored me.


A Slight Obstruction (Two Photographs)

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Insects often try to hide behind things, as do rabbits etc. I was once asked what I do about that. I explained that sometimes it doesn’t matter, sometimes it tells a story and sometimes it’s annoying. Two out of three are not bad odds for a good shot.


Perspective (Two Photographs)

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When shooting butterflies my rules include being able to see the eyes, and capturing as much detail of the wings and body as I can. I rarely go for the top down shot and these photographs are the exceptions. But they do make it easier to identify the beast.


A Canadian Tiger Swallowtail

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When I took these photographs I had never seen these butterflies before. The camera overexposed the photos, but not so much that I could not fix it later. Like most butterflies the visit was short but sweet.