Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Tenebrio molitor, pupa

Tenebrio molitor is a darkling beetle known more for its immature stages than for its adults. It is the ubiquitous mealworm. You can buy these granivorous beetles at any pet store as food for fish, birds, and reptiles.

The above shot of a developing pupa requires two sources of light. A flash head positioned behind the insect backlights the subject to produce the translucent glow. A second, positioned above and in front, is powered down and provides the highlights and details of the head and appendages.

Tenebrio molitor larva and pupa

Stronger backlighting gives this shot more glow

Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, f13, 1/40-1/250  sec

Read Full Post »

Blatta orientalis
Oriental Cockroach

The key to this image is the soft lighting. A strobe fired into a white box produces an even white light, allowing us to see the subtler tones and textures on the surface of this common pest insect. You could almost sell this roach on ebay.

Photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 200, f10, 1/160 sec

Read Full Post »

I had an assignment this weekend to shoot preserved insects as if in a museum display collection. Dead bugs aren’t normally my thing, but there’s something to be said about subjects that stay put and allow me to arrange lighting without scurrying off. I pinned the insects in foam-bottomed trays and reflected the strobe off an overhead white board. More photos below.


Read Full Post »

This week was warm enough to go insect hunting in the yard, so the Friday beetle is back with new material.  I snapped a few shots of this little staphylinid under a brick, figuring I’d identify it later.

That turned out to be a more complicated process than I’d anticipated. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Muscleman Tree Ant

Podomyrma sp.
Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia

Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60
ISO 100, f13, 1/200 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper

Read Full Post »

Ok, so we all know this is a wasp.  But what’s with the lumps near the tip of the abdomen?

Ten points for identifying the lump, and five points for anyone ambitious enough to put a name on the wasp, too.

Read Full Post »

At the time I photographed this little scene (at Bell Smith Springs, Illinois) I was myself unsure of the drama playing out on the oak gall. I sent pictures to wasp expert Hege Vårdal to see if my preliminary guess of a pair of gall parasites was worth anything. Her reply: (more…)

Read Full Post »

Alright, Sherlock.  What’s going on here?

Five points each for the identity of the big round thing, for the insect at the top, and for the insect at the side. Ten points for describing the story.

And a freebie point to anyone who comes up with an idea for what to do with all these points.

This scene was photographed in the fall in southern Illinois. Here are close-ups of the critters:

mystery wasp #1

mystery wasp#2

Read Full Post »

Who's that odd ant out?

While in sunny Florida last summer (ah, sunshine! I vaguely remember what that looks like), I spent an hour peering into a nest of little Dorymyrmex elegans. These slender, graceful ants are among Florida’s more charming insects.

Every few minutes, though, the flow of elegant orange insects out of the nest was interrupted by a darker, more robust ant: Dorymyrmex reginicula. Who was this interloper?


Read Full Post »

Here’s a chart I made this morning. It depicts the number of new photos tagged “insects” or “insect” uploaded over the history of the leading photo-sharing site Flickr. Note that the graph doesn’t show the cumulative total of insect photos on the site; rather, it shows the increase from year-to-year. Thus, even though the rate of increase slowed in 2009, the amount of insect content is still accelerating.

Interpretation of the chart is tricky. The increase may reflect several patterns: a growth in Flickr’s popularity, the growth of digital photography, and a growth in overall interest in insects.

I am particularly intrigued by the latter possibility. Is digital photography driving a renewed interest in arthropod diversity?

I would like to think so. Photography is certainly opening a new avenue for raising awareness about entomological issues and about insect conservation. But its effectiveness for outreach will depend on this pattern being driven by newcomers. If the increase in insect photos results merely from people already enthused about insects acquiring cameras, photography won’t pack nearly the same punch.

Acromyrmex versicolor

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »