Into the Light

four ants exit nest entrance in sand

Ants emerging from a hole in the sandy soil.

Ants are difficult subjects. Number one, they tend to move erratically, at least relative to the general human perspective. Number two, from the side they have a lot of round edges and sharp-angled legs and antennae, neither of which is easily amenable to a narrow depth of field. Their faces tend to be relatively flat which is nice, but barring the rare sedate ant, that’s going to take some good anticipation and timing to capture.

Ants also happen to be very interesting subjects. Their complex societies, intricate forms of communication, epic wars among opposing colonies, status as pests, and their (often) nefarious dwelling in the human consciousness, are some of the reasons they fascinate people. If you have the patience and a little knowledge, they are ripe subjects for good photos.

Despite their ubiquitous presence in almost any environment, rural or urban, I tend to neglect ants (a little) because of the challenges they pose. In my postings they are also a little under-represented relative to my library because I tend not to post things I cannot identify with some degree of specificity and certainty. Ants give me an ID headache! I like to have an identification around the Family level at least, but in this case, all I’ve got pretty much is “Ant.” It’s a case of putting the time in to educate oneself. For now and the foreseeable, I am an “ant-dumb,” but I’ll still keep trying to shoot ’em when I get ’em.

four ants exit nest entrance in sand

More ants emerging!

four ants exit nest entrance in sand

Even more emerging ants!



5 thoughts on “Into the Light

  1. Wonderful. Not being an entomologist, I really like the little guy in the last photo and would have focused on him. He looks like one of the three ant aliens in the movie Men in Black.

    1. That’s the problem with ants: they defy focus. :) This was definitely a case of crouching over a hole in the ground and trying to time the shot as the ants came in and out. They didn’t do me any favors, but at least they didn’t mind me nosing in on their territory.

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