The Trouble with Beetles

This scarab beetle (which to my untrained eye looks like Anomala marginata, though something tells me it’s not) was bumbling in the grass along the roadside in Florida. I only took a handful of shots, because its movement were frustrating my efforts. I almost got a nice head-on shot, considering the less-than-flat surface, but if you look at the larger version of the shot, you can see its antennae are the only part really in focus. It was a very nice scene though; I liked the backdrop of the grass.

The real trouble with this beetle and many others is, they are shiny. I really like the dorsal view shot, but the glaring spot on the back is very distracting. It’s a shame; I’ve lost many a good beetle shot to this problem. I suspect my fondness for beetles will grow when I decide to seriously address it. In this instance, I used the original LordV coke can diffuser on these; my current larger version of same diffuser might have done a little better, but it is still tough. I would probably have served my interests better by lowering the shutter speed as well as the flash output. That scenario introduces the problem of camera shake (a.k.a. the problem of my shaky hands), but it’s exactly when the art of photography, like life itself is fully realized. There is a choice to be made. On we go.

EDIT: I was inspired by Victor’s comment below to try to use the software solution to remove the highlights. Here’s a before and after:

The difference is evident, and I imagine on closer inspection of the edited image, the imperfections be just as evident. I imagine after a while, one gets better at this, and it is less time-consuming. For me it can be like hitting a brick wall, but this went okay relative to the proportion of time and result. I’m wondering what the effective limit regarding print size would be, before this kind of edit detracts from the photograph. Obviously, it is tied in large part to the photo editor’s (the person, not necessarily the software’s) abilities, but I will be in the “novice” stage for a while there, so that’s the delimiting factor for me right now. (And time, always time. But I guess that just gets us back into the “choices” thing…and away we go again.)


3 thoughts on “The Trouble with Beetles

    1. Well you inspired me to give it a whirl. I found a tutorial for GIMP, and it was a bit difficult, I didn’t really give the more minor areas the proper attention, but I got an interesting result. The possibilities are out there.

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