Posts tagged “Insects

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.


Issues with Bees (Two Photographs)

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I have taken many photographs of bees as my long time followers will know, but very few in flight or moving. These are typical of shots taken with a high shutter speed and a fairly large aperture. Taking photographs of bees in flight is challenging because they vibrate at high speeds even when appearing still. It’s why I mostly stick to bees that have fully landed.


Damselflies (Two Photographs)

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I remain impressed with the combination of the Nikon D500 and the 200-500 F5.6 lens. I have shot damselflies up close with a macro lens and it’s not just more difficult but the closer you are the more likely your subject will fly off. That is much less likely with a 500 mm lens.


Lotus Borer Beetle (Three Photographs)

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This longhorn beetle is a real pest and its rather hostile look does not help its image. You can see on its back the distinctive “W” markings. I have never seen them in flight and they are not easily disturbed by noise or flash.


Dragonfly (Two Photographs)

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Not all dragonflies are wonderful up close and one seldom has the flexibility for too many perspectives in shooting them. In these two shots of the same insect you can see some of the issues, such as how much is in focus.


Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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Butterflies like the White Admiral and the American Lady are among the wonders of nature. I particularly like the many different coloured eyes and the design in the eyes of butterflies. Most of the time I notice them as they fly past. Only a few stop long enough for closer look.


Hummingbird Moth (Two Photographs)

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The secret with these insects is that once you see one stick with it, they are rare and don’t stay around very long. I have recently been experimenting with a square 1×1 crop and find it quite helpful in highlighting the subject.


Lenses (Two Photographs)

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The locust borer is a wonderful creature. This photo was taken at 500mm with the Nikon 200-500mm lens, my “go to” nature lens. The second photo of the net-winged beetles mating was taken with a dedicated macro kit (105mm lens, extension tubes and flash). The latter gear is arguably harder to use, more prone to user error, and more expensive than the former. Times change and the gear you use changes with experience and new opportunity.


Cabbage White (Two Photographs)

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This is an interesting problem in nature photography. The wings of the butterfly are clearly white, but as you can see in one of the photos they easily take on the colour of their environment. You would think a bit of white balance adjustment or colour cast adjustment would work. If it did it would not be true to the scene as it was, where only the wings took on a bit of the surrounding colour.


Fragility (Two Photographs)

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Insects are generally fragile creatures. Butterflies especially so. As they age their wings fray, they get attacked etc. They fly fast and high and yet they are vulnerable. Most photographs of butterflies are taken from a distance and their fragility is sometimes only clear up close. This mourning cloak is close to its prime with little damage to its wings.


Dragonfly Macro?

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Usually macro means 1:1 filling the screen life-size. This photograph is actually cropped and therefore close-up photography. Taken at 500mm, with a Nikon 200-500mm lens. It shows the normal narrow depth of field at f8, which if I had increased it another stop would most likely have affected image quality.


Little Wood-Satyr (Two Photographs)

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A Satyr, or wood spirit, how appropriate a name for such an elusive creature. They fly in and out of bushes, tempting you by setting down on the edge in broad daylight only to fly off. At the best of times they are often under cover making the light problematic. Regardless they are a sight to see.


A Giant Swallowtail Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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I was trying various metering modes to capture this butterfly from a distance with my lens at 200mm. The results were unexpected though I think pleasing to the eye. A lepidopterist might question how the colours and detail came out. It raises the question, am I shooting nature photography or art photography.


Not Every Photograph… (Two Photographs)

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Not every photograph turns out as intended. Clearly not the best shot of a Black Swallowtail butterfly, but interesting nonetheless. Taken from a distance with highlight protected spot metering, there is a lot of noise in the detail. My preference is the black and white version.


Cabbage White (Two Photographs)

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These lovely butterflies are fairly common. Their wings take on the colour of their surroundings, which can be a bit of a chore to fix. However as butterflies go it is easier to capture their full body, wings and eyes than most.


Milkweed Bugs (Two Photographs)

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From mid to late summer it is not hard to find milkweed bugs. Often you will see them in pairs. Getting close is no problem and I have never seen them stop moving regardless of what they were doing.


A Milkweed Bug (Two Photographs)

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This type of true bug (assuming I have my taxonomy right) is quite common and easy to photograph. I like to wait for them to climb over something or get to a vantage point. In either event I try to get the eyes, and a look in my direction.


Bees (Two Photographs)

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You cannot argue with bees. They do what they want where they want to do it. Patience brings them into view and patience gets a better portrait (I use a 105mm or longer lens to keep a good space between me and the bees.)


Natural Fairy (Two Photographs)

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Dragonflies and damselflies have long been among my favourite subjects. Finding them in a position where they remain still is hard enough, but getting them where their whole body is visible can be impossible sometimes. Here the wings are folded and cover part of the body. Dust and detritus become colourful specular highlights providing some surprises. The black and white highlights the patterns in the wings.


Cabbage White Butterfly (and some discoveries about Close-up photography)

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I wanted to create a dramatic photo of a static butterfly and as I was working on this photograph I decided to check the metadata. I had already scaled up the size and cropped the photo, so this is a small part of the frame; to give you an idea I have posted another photo of the same cabbage white without processing. 1/800 of a second at f8 on a Nikon D500 200-500mm at 500mm and ISO 1600.  In Lightroom I scaled the image and cropped it. In Photoshop, colour corrected the butterfly using hue/saturation. I then used Skylum’s Photolemeur, Intensity CK and Tonality CK to process it. Thanks to the Nikon sensor and Lightroom’s scaling, my closeup shot was almost true macro. My macro gear (105mm lens, soft box etc.) is not going to go to waste but using it I could get much closer now with better quality using the above techniques. I think more importantly if you can use your birding lens to do this then that is going to satisfy many photographers’ desires for macro insect shooting. The challenge is finding your subject with a 500mm lens.


Copper Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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Besides the incredible detail of this butterfly, what amazed me was the camera, the Nikon D500, 200-500 mm F5.6 lens at 500mm, ISO 1600, 1/500 of a second at f8. The D500 is a great camera and I cannot complain about the lens (though it did stick and I had to send it back to Nikon, who fixed it for free in under two weeks).


Cabbage Whites and Photolemur (Three Photographs)

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These came out nicely though I did find Photolemur left a colour cast; fortunately one that was easily removed. It may be that the A.I. is developed more for landscapes and people. Nonetheless Photolemur leaves me more time to look at issues other than basic adjustments and for that I am still pleased.


Damselflies (Two Photographs)

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It is almost always more interesting when your subject is framed, a part of the scene or reflected in shadow. All of these help give a photo dimension. It’s one of those things you have to get right in camera.


Photographing Bees (Two Photographs)

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One of the interesting things about photographing bees is that you can also get them with some great flower backgrounds. More importantly is that you get some contrast between the bee and the bright colours around it. The first photo was taken with an XT-2, a 50-140 lens and a Godox flash. The second was taken with a Nikon D500 and a 200-500 mm lens at 500mm. This is not to say you need a macro lens, it does go some way to say close-ups of insects can be done with other lenses, assuming you don’t mind cropping.