Symmetry and a Robber Fly

dicotria robber fly almost vertical at edge of a leaf

A small robber fly looks a bit of the caped crusader ready to duck out from the edge of a leaf.

This robber fly had probably just turned or was in the process of turning away from my camera. Flies a pretty good for that, which is why the insect photographer ends up with a lot of bug butt shots. Usually this entails a lot of arm extending and neck craning to try to reclaim that parallel view between camera and subject so something besides the end of an abdomen is in focus.

I managed pretty well here with the cold shoulder, but a dilemma evolved afterwards in post-processing. The main issue for me was where to crop. There is obviously a lot of empty space (i.e. the underside of the leaf) to the left, but the space at the top, right and bottom of the fly was fairly even in distance. I tried a 8 x 10 crop factor which might have allowed me to preserve the symmetry in the margins around the fly. But I didn’t like the closed in look and flat feel chopping off the left side created. The original framing of the shot was constricting my choices a bit, but apart from OCD for getting “closer,” (and apart from maybe my bad eyesight, natch), shooting at the higher magnification might have made the bright background possible by cutting out shadowy spaces and/or distance background items which induce light falloff; I believe the flash also diffuses more evenly the closer it is to the subject which is nice (or so I’ve read in the past; it *seems* to be true). So, I’ll excuse myself from the “too close” demerit here. In the end, the symmetry of the dark and light halves of the shot won out, and I didn’t crop the photo at all. I still think there’s something a bit unsettled about the shot, but for now I like it this way best.

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