Some of you may be wondering where all the bug related posts have gone. Well, neither the available time nor the weather has been particularly cooperative but here’s what I could scrape together.
First up is this butterfly which isn’t a duck. No, I’m not crazy, I’m very sure it’s not a duck, positive. The reason I’m talking about ducks is that I was actually on my way to shoot some ducklings that I had spotted in the park we were at. However, some kids managed to scare them off very effectively before I could get there. So there I was, camera in hand and nothing to shoot, when I saw this butterfly (for it wasn’t a duck, we’ve established that) sitting on a clover. I hadn’t been able to shoot this particular type of butterfly before since I had never seen them sit still for very long, but this one seemed fairly content where it was.
The big difference between this and my other bug shots is that I didn’t use any flash this time. The reason was simply that I didn’t have the flash with me since I was in duck mode. I had to open up the aperture to f11 to get a fast enough shutter speed for a sharp picture in the faint breeze, luckily the critter itself wasn’t moving. Even though it was a sunny day I would still have liked some more light on the right side of the frame to balance the light better. I chose this composition because I wanted the whole wing in the frame but actually I find it a bit distracting, my eye is drawn to the bright wings instead of the eye, which should be the real focal point of the image. That’s why I would have like to balance the light with some flash. Of course, that’s something I only noticed once I viewed it on my computer – at the time I was preoccupied with being flat on my belly in slightly damp grass, getting funny looks from people passing by.
This hoverfly isn’t a duck either, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be, so that’s fine – it was almost a bee though, almost. This was shot at my dad’s place where I didn’t get around to hunting as many bugs as I had hoped. Right before I took this picture my wife spotted a bee that was sitting completely still on a flower, just begging to be shot. I rushed off to get the camera bag from the car, the bee was still there, I changed lens to my macro lens, the bee was still there, I got the flash, flash cord and diffuser out, the bee was still there, I put everything together, looked up, the bee was gone. Too bad, would have loved to get some nice shots of a more cooperative bee than the ones I’ve had to chase around before.
Instead of the bee I had to settle for these guys, who definitely weren’t sitting still. This wasn’t my favourite shot in terms of composition and colour (there were some much nicer flowers) but it’s the only where focus is spot on. As you can see the sun was quite bright so I could (should) have left the flash off in order to get some shots of the bee before it took off. I guess I’m not used to having a lot of sun so I didn’t really consider it at the time.
Finally we have this ladybug, which thankfully didn’t have any aspirations toward being anything other than a ladybug (not even a duck, awesome though they may be). This shot was only possible thanks to my assistant (my lovely wife, in case you haven’t been paying attention for the last 40 or so posts) who lent me an extra hand to hold the flower in position for me. I needed both to keep the flower steady in the overly enthusiastic wind and to move it in order to get a nice composition. The critter wasn’t moving very fast but it never really stopped completely either, often ending up on the wrong side of the flower or in awkward positions to shoot. If cybernetic limbs ever becomes a reality I’m getting another arm or two attached.
In this shot we can also see one of the problems with using flash for bugs: specular highlights. Bugs with shiny and smooth exterior in particular can be very tricky to light in a good way. I’ve been telling myself I should build a small softbox (the one I have is a bit overkill to bring on bug hunts) in an attempt to get better light but, you know…procrastination…I’m still young, I’ll get around to it.
There you have it, something to satisfy your bug addiction for a while.
Sorry about the ducks.