Rifqi's photo

My photographic journey

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when shooting bugs you often have to rely on luck if you want to get really good shots. That’s why it’s always nice to find a bug who’s kind enough to help you out a bit.

Such was the case when I recently shot this robber fly (at least I think it’s a robber fly but as usual I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m way off base). I was looking for some grasshoppers when I saw this guy sitting on a beech tree (again, the translation of that could be completely wrong), he was pretty much screaming ‘shoot me, I dare you’, so of course I had to oblige. One of the good things about these critters is that they’re pretty big so they’re usually easy to spot when you’re lucky enough to run into one. They also look pretty cool.

What made this guy more helpful than your average bug was the location he choose to pose for me. For starters he managed to sit at a height that allowed be to stand rather comfortably, as opposed to the contortions I often have to resort to in order to get a good angle. That, and the fact that I had a tree to lean on, greatly helped me to keep things steady and as a result I walked away with the majority of shots in focus, something that’s very rare. However, the big jackpot came from the type of tree he had chosen. These trees have white bark and he was sitting on the sunny side, which basically meant that he was sitting on a huge reflector – a bug who knows photography, who would have thought?

Robber flyHere’s another shot of the same guy, not as interesting composition but still a good profile shot with lots of detail (be sure to check the larger versions of all the shots) and you can see how good the light is. I could easily have shot this without flash but I still used it for some fill. The good light was also a big help with focusing and I don’t think I’ve ever shot any bug with such a high percentage of keepers, the conditions were just that good. It’s at times like these I really wish I could get even closer and shot some nice portraits of the critters but that’s something that will have to wait until next year’s season – I’ll be getting a set of extension tubes that should allow me to get around twice the magnification – don’t you just love getting new and shiny gear?

Anyways, I hope other bugs will take note of this fellow’s excellent initiative, it would make my life a lot easier if they could all just start cooperating like this.

We leave no man behind...We’ll end by throwing in an additional shot that kind of fits with the title (for a completely different reason). On my way home I took a little detour to the ant territory to see if they were up to anything. I found this guy carrying his friend (enemy?) back to the ant hill. Ants on a mission are very difficult to shoot, they just move way too fast to keep up with so you have to shoot them when they slow down and get a bit lucky. I went for some darker and grittier post processing on this one and I think there’s a bit of a World War 2 vibe to it – can’t you imagine the little helmets and some explosions going off in the background?…hey, that would actually be rather awesome…explosions…

And I’m back…sorry about that. If everything is going according to plan then this will be posted while I’m enjoying some more exotic bug hunting in Indonesia, hopefully I’ll have some good ones to show you all when we get back. Also don’t forget to stay tuned for upcoming guest posts.


Robber fly Robber fly We leave no man behind... Robber fly


4 Responses to “Sometimes your model does the heavy lifting”

  1. forkboy1965

    Very much a robber fly. As often as I have enjoyed photographing dragonflies I had never seen a robber fly until last year. I thought this odd seeing how robber flies very much like dragonflies… for lunch.

    I don’t know if this guy flew around for you, but when they do they make the most angry sounding buzz I’ve ever heard from an insect.

    • Rifqi

      He wasn’t flying at all, he was a very patient poser. Wouldn’t mind feeding him some dragonflies if I could find any :p


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