"...mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”
E.O. Wilson (Biophilia)
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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not an entomologist. I do my best to have professionals assist in identifying the subjects of my photographs. However, positive identifications can not always be done unless the specimen is dead and viewed under a microscope. If you do find an error, or have doubts about the identification provided, please let me know in the comments or by email.
Tag Archives: Macro photography
My daughter is soon to be launched on a musical tour of Spain, travelling with the Singing Strings Orchestra. I was clearing out the memory cards from her camera in preparation for the trip, when I came across a series of photos she had taken while I was photographing mason bees along the banks of the Saskatchewan river…
There are only a few images of me ‘at work’, so I thought I would share this one. I am using my standard configuration, consisting of the Nikon D80 with Tamron 90mm macro lens mounted on Kenko Pro 1.4x tele-extender, with the wireless Nikon R1 unit and 2 diffused flashes. This is the same exposed part of the riverbank that I discovered earlier that year (See ‘Dummkopf!). It was an unsuccessful attempt at photographing the bees as they came in to land - very fast, and hard to predict. It was this location that made me reconsider the usefulness of high-speed photo triggers.
That bamboo pole? That’s for
poking at hornet’s nests steadying myself while shooting – very light and infinitely adjustable. It also has many other uses – holding back vegetation, fending off dogs and nosy children…and toasting marshmallows.
(Photo by Arwen Thysse, 22 July, 2010. Canon A620)
Cool, windy and cloudy, I went on a quick scouting mission yesterday, trying to locate more potential bug shooting locations. I want to develop a list of locations near home so that I know where I can go when I only have a short time for photography. In Edmonton, that usually means somewhere in the river valley. Between errands, I went with my camera and GPS to the nearest valley access point. I park, hoist the camera and stroll down stairs and paths until I get to the trail closest to the river. Walking up along the river, I am pleased to see some exposed bank ahead and make may way up the embankment to have a closer look.
The exposed face of the bank is pocked with holes, and a nearby buzzing tells me I have found a colony of some sort of bee. I stand still, and soon one comes in to land – it is a deep metallic blue. ‘Eureka!’ I think to myself…followed quickly by ‘Dummkopf!‘ as I realise I have no macro lens with me. I stand and watch for awhile.
The bees are sensitive to my movements, but by watching which hole they enter, I know I could place myself to photograph these as they emerge. I mark the location on my GPS. It wasn’t to be my only frustration. Within half an hour, that strip of exposed river bank and the path below it revealed at least 5 different species of bee, 2 wasps, a large salticid, a few grasshoppers and one tiger beetle! I could have cried…
The sun disappeared behind clouds again. I had a little more time to linger.More inner cursing, and I wend my way back to the car and home again. I’ll be back with my macro equipment when time allows.
(All pictures with Nikon D8o and the Nikkor 18 – 200mm VR zoom lens)