Thursday, June 25, 2009

What Bugs Me

I love bugs. Well, I should qualify that and say, "I love 99% of all bugs," cockroaches and large, hairy-type spiders being excepted. On days when I am bored stiff, I go outdoors and search for bugs to photograph. The best places to look are near flowers. There's nothing like a patch of overgrown lawn, full of tall weeds and scraggly grass.

"OK," you say, "You have got to be kidding."

No, seriously, those are the best places to look! The first key to photographing bugs is knowing where to find them. The second is to look closely and be gentle. You have to remember you are much larger than a bug. The last key I would offer here is to give them space. Most bugs do not want you directly on top of them. It is best to creep up slowly to avoid scaring them away.

The focus rule for bugs is, as with last week's pets column, generally to focus on the eyes. When the bug is smaller though and you find you are having a hard time, pick a point of focus at a similar distance. (It helps to pay close attention to your LCD screen.) Flying insects can be even more difficult. I often get great results by focusing on the flower (or landing spot) ahead of time and waiting for the insect to land.

Male scolid wasp

Male scoliid wasp, probably Campsomeris plumipes

This brings me to dragonflies. For me, the dragonfly is the king of all bugs. It seems I can never take enough images of them. A lot of dragonfly species never land, and some dragonfly photographers choose to net and release. But I always content myself with the ones I can reach. It is too easy to damage their wings, especially on the younger, teneral dragonflies. If you are not experienced enough to tell the difference, then it's best to be hands off.

Gorgeous Eyes, Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Gorgeous Eyes, Blue Dasher Dragonfly

But the biggest reason I love to photograph bugs is the learning curve. I have been surprised more than once when I moved pictures from my camera onto the computer screen to find scenes I did not know were there. This next image is one of my favorites. I was photographing the ladybug (ladybird for our English readers). But when I finally saw the image, I was amazed at the pair of miniscule flies mating.

The World of Bugs

The World of Bugs

Here is another image where I found something unexpected. This jumping spider was very tiny, less than 1/2", but notice all the strange scorpion-like creatures around it.

Spider and Friends

Spider and Friends

That is really the best part of photographing bugs, capturing the unusual moments, things that you know you'd never see if you weren't looking. I think that is part of my fascination - that so much can be going on beneath my feet and I can never realize it.

Look closely, can you see the tiny male crab spider below?

Male and Female Crab Spiders

Male and Female Crab Spiders


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Suzanne Williams Photography
For More Of My Words
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

1 comment:

~Christina~ said...

I am so green jelly over your shot of the dragonfly looking right at the camera. I have been chasing these things around for a couple of weeks, just posted a few of the photos I got, and I can not get one at that angle! Great photo!