The bug season is over, autumn is here and winter is coming. To commemorate this occasion I thought I should make a list of my top 10 photographs of the little buggers. It was my first season shooting them and I’m happy with the results.
First a word about the featured image for this post: it was a late birthday present from my mom and her fiancée and it’s been custom made for me, in other words it can’t be found anywhere else, which is pretty cool. At first I was planning to find a dead bug to shoot but when I received this I knew I had just the right thing to start of this post with. Technical details: Two LP160, one in softbox from above and behind, the other snooted and coming in from behind and to camera right. Now, let’s get on with the main attraction.
It feels as though I’ve made some noticeable improvements over the months I’ve spent crawling through the grass, looking for everything that crawls, flies, hops or squirms. My technique has gotten better, my composition has gotten better and I’m very much looking forward to taking it even further next year. For now, however, you’ll have to make do with a recap of some of my favourites so far. Picking out just 10 photos was kind of tricky and I’m not even sure I agree with myself – so with that in mind I suggest you also check out my flickr. To those of you new to this blog or my macro photography: all the shots below are uncropped and shot at 1:1. That being said, here they are (larger than I usually post on my blog since I’m sure some of you will still be too lazy to check the full size versions), in no particular order:
1. There are two things that appeal to me in this shot. The first thing is colour, I love every single colour in this shot: the brown, the red, the green, everything. Second is the focus, the eyes are just perfect here. The composition is also decent and to make things even better I took this shot the day after some really poor results, so it was an excellent way to cheer myself up from that.
2. The main reason why I like this shot should be obvious: death, wonderful, gruesome death…sorry, got a bit carried away there. It’s just a nice piece of action that goes to show that it’s a dangerous world. There’s also a certain crispness to the whole shot that I quite like and the background is nice and soft.
3. This was one of my earliest shots and it still holds up quite well. Again one of the main attractions is the colours. Another aspect that really makes this work as a whole is the composition, especially the background that stretches all the way from the foreground to the very end of the frame, giving the impression of visiting a completely different world. It brings to mind Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the valley of the wind.
4. A nice and bright butterfly with summer colours. I think this was one of the first ones I captured while feeding and I still think it’s one of the best. There are some nice details in the fur and the composition isn’t bad. Perhaps it doesn’t have any single element that’s excellent but the impression as a whole gives a nice summer feeling.
5. One of my reasons for liking this shot is that I just think these bugs look rather cool. I love the eyes and mustache. I also enjoy the brightness, both the sun and the background really went all out to help me out with the light on this one, the only shadows are from the bug itself. The final touch is the angle that makes the whole thing more interesting.
6. A guest from Indonesia that was kind enough to pose for me in the early morning. Here we have a nice combination of colours along with a good composition and clean background. I love the eyes and the small dew drops on the leaf adds some extra sparkle to the scene. The angle of the fly also makes it more interesting.
7. This is another shot where the angle makes a huge difference. Even though I have some reservation about the focus and light in this shot, I still really like it because of the overall composition. The colour from the flower work well with the butterfly and I think it’s a good moment that has been captured.
8. It took me quite a while to get any good bee shots but it was worth the effort. Focus is good, colours are lovely and the composition is nice. Everything works well in this shot, perhaps with the exception of the part of the flower that’s obscuring the mouth of the bee, but that’s a minor nitpick. A nice summer photo.
9. Colours, composition, focus, I’m happy with all of them in this shot. This is the third fly on this list but they all deserve to be here. One thing that I think really adds to this image is the leaf, both the colour and the shape. The focus is also excellent; not only are the eyes in perfect focus but also the front of the face. The background is clean but doesn’t go completely black, which is also nice.
10. This was probably the biggest surprise when I shot it, I really wasn’t expecting much from the subject but it turned out to be one of my all time favourites. Focus is good but above all it’s the composition that really makes this a winner. The black background also works perfectly with the story of the picture and I’m definitely considering getting a fairly large print of this to hang on my wall.
There you have them, my pick for this post, though I certainly have more favourites. Let me know which one is yours, maybe a completely different one that I didn’t include here?