Posts tagged “Insects

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.


Comma Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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These butterflies are said to be common, but any butterfly as far I am concerned is a rare and welcome sight. They blend in so well with fallen foliage that they can only be seen in flight or against a brighter background. I caught these commas resting in a cool breeze some months back.


Skipper Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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You can’t always be sure everything you want is in focus, even with a depth of field button on the camera. That said I liked the juxtaposition of these two skipper butterflies and the softness in my view is of less concern. In black and white I tried to do a version more dependant on contrast.


Damselfly Portrait (Two Photographs)

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Damselflies’ eyes are very hard to focus on, they are the circles with a line through them. The sparkles and other lights on the insect are fluorescing spots of dirt. While this can be fixed, it’s often a very difficult job to keep the texture and not create a portion of the face with a single colour with a lack of tonality. Sharpness is measured by whether you can see the beard. I shot this with a flash, the damselfly was backlit.


A Fly (Two Photographs)

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Flies are actually easy to shoot. Many of them stop to rest and clean their sensors on their front legs but mostly they seem to like a bit of rest. Often ugly, flies still make dramatic subjects. They are creatures I would rather see outside the house than in.


Colour and Shape (Two Photographs)

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I was aiming for some dragonfly photographs but the glorious colour and shapes were the standouts. Who am I to complain, things don’t always turn out as planned, they may turn out better. A bit noisy but fixing that would have softened the dragonfly which is in focus.


Cabbage White

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You know that feeling when you take a lot of photographs but one stands out. Among the cabbage whites I saw that day this female was exceptional and her photograph was the most impressive of the day. I especially liked the wild and crazy eye.


Jewelwing

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I had heard about jewelwings and had only seen them from a distance in flight. When someone pointed out this one just sitting there I did what I could to take the best shot before it flew off. Liquid eyes, bad light, no time to make any adjustment of the flash or camera but I was quite pleased with the results. My pre-shoot configuration of my macro gear worked out well! Unfortunately after three shots the insect had enough and flew back a few feet just out range of my micro lens and extension tube.


Mourning Cloak Butterflies (Three Photographs)

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I have written about these butterflies before. How they love these particular trees and its sap when it runs. I have also mentioned their checkerboard eyes. This time I was walking with my telephoto lens not a macro lens and I took my chances. In the editing I played with the light and color a bit. I think the results are a little more artistic than is usual for me.


Bees, while they last (Three Photographs)

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I have not noticed a significant fall in the bee population but will take the experts word that there is a problem. There was a slow start to the season due to the weather, but this family of bees seem to have survived well enough. Their unceasing efforts in seeking out new flowers is amazing.


Dragonfly (Three Photographs)

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This dragonfly unlike many of his contemporaries, chose to hang onto this stalk regardless of the hard breeze (and a mad photographer with a huge telephoto lens). The breeze was cooling and I kept my distance. So in the end everyone was a winner. After a few shots and when the breeze died down the dragonfly flew off.


Damselflies Mating (Two Photographs)

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Once a year I get damselflies in their signature heart-shaped matting pose. They can fly in this formation and remain as skittish as ever, I recommend the longest lens you have and crop significantly.


Damselfly (Two Photographs)

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This damselfly was very agitated and I took a few shots before realizing something was holding it hostage. Lovely shots so in return we freed it from whatever was holding it and watched it fly away.


Skipper Butterflies (Two Photographs)

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Always a great day when I see skippers. They are the most sedentary butterflies I know. Once they find a place to feast they are more likely than not to stay in one place. Moreover their size means you are not restricted to macro photography. Lovely little things flying about in the fields.


Damselfly (Three Photographs)

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Damselflies are very cautious because they are prey for a lot of other animals. However, they get their energy as much from the sun as from what they eat. Given that they tend to land in bushes, generally you won’t be shooting directly into the sun. Secondly, if you dont use image stacking and I don’t yet, you are unlikely to get everything in focus. But what I liked here were the backgrounds as much as the subject.


Hairstreak Butterfly (Two Photographs)

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Tiny butterflies are very flighty, but all butterflies tire out sooner or later. To get close a macro lens, tubes and a close crop are the only solution. You really need to work with the smaller butterflies to get sharp images, most of my shots were marginal with only a very few sharp enough to work with.


Jumping Spider with Lunch (Three Photographs)

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This little jumping spider made my day. The only other jumping spider I have seen this year was on the arm of my shirt, and he did not hang around too long. This spider had found a grub, and was taking it somewhere when I caught up with it. Jumping spiders and spiders in general may not be to everyone’s taste, but most are completely harmless and won’t overreact if you take photos.


Damselfly (Two Photographs)

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Damselflies are small, and pose a few issues for photographers besides getting close enough to shoot. Their eyes are liquid filled, making it hard to focus on their face (sharpening in post processing helps a bit). They collect all kinds of dust that reflects back light (I use the same technique I use on dust removal to get rid of most of these distractions). Finally they are skittish but they like to have their back to the sun, so if you want a portrait approach from the shadows; secondly they believe leaves are great protection and are more likely to stay in place when hiding behind one as you see here.


Bees (Three Photographs)

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There are times when all you have to do is wait and the bees will come to you. I use a flash, but they seem pre-occupied and unaffected by my presence . The difficult part is that often the detail of the bee is lost in the dense black of its colouring, this includes the eyes and sometimes you just have to accept that. By the way this is one of my few bees in flight photos.


Mourning Cloak Butterflies (Three Photographs)

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For the past few years I have posted photographs of mourning cloaks, very often taken on the same two dark wood trees. This trees are not tall but they leak sap. When that happens you could set off fireworks and the butterflies wouldn’t budge. These are the earliest butterflies in the spring and they last into summer, but as you can see they have some wear and tear on their wings indicating age. I have tried in every photograph to capture the checker board eyes. That is easier with my macro kit but unfortunately I did not have it with me for these shots.


Bees (three Photographs)

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I am so looking forward to shooting more of these this summer. I haven’t posted these before but they are from one of the best years we had for insects so I had a few left over to process. Bees for the most part are benign, they won’t bother you. The bright light of a flash does not sway them from their task. Unless harassed most species will let you get close enough for a shot. The other thing to remember is you are going to have to significantly crop your images even if you use a micro lens and extension tubes. Bees’ eyes are reflective so they can catch the sun or your flash. They take their time on good flowers and bushes so that helps a lot.