Just a quickie before I submerge myself in the weekend. Have a good one everybody!
When I started shooting insects, I was inspired by my subjects, the challenge to photograph them and the pride in capturing an image that could potentially continue the thread of inspiration. I still post a photo or few from my earlier Canon Powershot A620 days on occasion. My budget (as ever) delimited me with a point and shoot camera, but I tried to push it as far as I could. One way was to get a lens converter adapter and attach a Raynox MSN-202 lens element; this setup helped me get closer shots of smaller subjects. As a novice, I was not really aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of the A620 (though the noisiness of the images seemed unbearably evident at a certain point), or maybe more accurately, I was not aware of how to manipulate the camera to compensate for those weaknesses. I won’t get into clichés about “it’s not the size of your sensor, but how you use it,” etc.; but for the macro enthusiast, it’s worth pointing (and shooting) out, that you can get good shots without having a giant dSLR rig. So get what you can now, and make up the rest later. (And read the user manual, that really helps, too.)
This isn’t a Phidippus regius jumping spider, but that is what I am hoping to find today as my Florida adventure continues. My ignorance was cured by a quick Google search, and I realized they were (potentially) under my nose all the while. I’ve been in a scrub palm habitat questing for the next great insect subject, and apparently that is a good place to look for these spiders. I have zero jumping spider sightings so far, but here’s hoping. In the meanwhile, I have a ladybird beetle pupa nestled under a funky plant structure.
Sometimes you are the spider; sometimes you are the fly. Some days you are both, and Sunday was one of those days for me. Things were looking up, then they were looking down. And so it goes. To keep pace, I will try to lean on the wisdom of Dennis Brown: “Some days you’re up, some days you’re down, so thank God you’re still around town.”
Many bugs seem to have their own “dances” like butterflies twirling and darting around each other or dragonflies darting and hovering in territorial maneuvers. Our featured insect has the dance built right into its name. Dance flies, members of family Empididae have a unique mating ritual that gives them their name. Here is a quote from BugGuide.net’s Empididae page: “In mating swarms, males fly up and down in a sort of dance. They have captured an insect, wrapped it in silk, and hold as an offering for females. Females seem to choose the male with the most enticing offering. Sometimes a male may offer just an empty ball of silk.”
Interesting phenomenon. Keep dancing and have a good weekend everyone.
For the non-entomologist bug photographer, identifying insects can start out as an intimidating exercise, but the first place I go, being a resident of North America, is the indispensable BugGuide.net. I am not familiar with the sites specific to other parts of the world, but I know they are out there. (Feel free to post them in the comments!)
And so it was I went to the guide to identify the weevil pictured above. I went strictly by appearance which can have its pitfalls, but I am fairly confident I narrowed it down to a couple weevils. They were both similar in appearance, but the Butternut Curculio was what I decided on. In this case, it helped to know the environment I found this insect in. It was underneath a large butternut tree, so it seemed like the obvious decision. Of course, I still remain anything but an expert, so please consult your weevil scientist before using this ID for essential purposes.
That is kind of how it goes for me. Sometimes it takes a while; sometimes I already have a good idea of what bug I am trying to identify, and I can pick it out more quickly. Another good general purpose bug identification site is What’s That Bug? I have used it to great success on more than one occasion (and have submitted some photos too!). Another way to get the proper taxonomical name is to follow photographers in your area who are likely to find same or similar bugs; I like to go to Jenn’s page on Flickr as we are both in Massachusetts. So I hope that is somewhat helpful for the bug enthusiasts just getting started; happy ID’ing!
Greetings from Florida! I am in the Sunshine State visiting friends and trying to take as many photographs of insects as possible. So far so good; I’ve been trying out a new DIY diffuser and it seems to be working out okay. I will probably try a couple different things too, diffuser-wise.
In the meanwhile my plan is to keep posting, though the Florida shots may have to wait until I get back home. Posts may be photo heavy and writing light (but I hope to get some writing in, too!). Here is a simple, little orange wildflower I wanted to sneak in for you today; they are very pretty especially up close.