Photographing insects and other “little critters” is a form of wildlife photography. At least in the animal, vegetable, mineral sense.
There are as many ways to photograph these creatures as any subject nature photographers encounter.
I am not going to go into tons of detail with these images, but I’ll speak to what I believe they need the most.
Most of my close-up photos of little creatures were captured with either a 105 Nikon Micro lens, or a 300mm Sigma macro lens. I have also used a 500mm Nikon, a 400mm lens, a few zooms and more. 1.4 tele-converters and extension tubes have also been put to use. The first magnifies the subject, and the second allows a closer focus. Of course since turning to digital photography a long time ago, I have also used standard lenses and then cropped the image in the editing process. Photographers today can afford to give their tiny subjects some more room, and then crop at home. I always preferred to get it on location so to speak, but it is nicer for the subjects when work from a distance.
I have used mostly natural light, but I certainly employed reflectors and electronic flash when necessary.
Finding dragonflies or damselflies and other insects as we have below, perched in the open, especially with a blue or at least clear sky, is pure magic. Often a slow easy approach will get you close, and allow you a clean background. I have often spent hours at a time pursuing photos under such conditions.
Distant grasses and other greenery also make perfect clean and simple backgrounds. There is little doubt as my intent with any of the images above, or the two you see below.
Of course never miss an opportunity. I have photographed with other photographers who had absolute rules as to what sorts of backgrounds or other things that they got when making images of such creatures. I never much believed in those sorts of rules.
I did break a lot of “rules” when making images of butterflies and moths.
This image was made rather obviously with electronic flash. This is also the hood of my car. If nobody considers this a natural history photo, you might be surprised how often people in the art world take to these images.
The sides of buildings, especially rustic ones are often great for critters such as this Tiger Moth.
Of course, natural history photography requires telling the story of these creatures. This Swallowtail Butterfly had just about come to its end when I made this photo. Life has a cycle and that is a part of the story. This one could still fly, but its path was a ragged as its appearance.
Of course, butterflies and moths begin their journey as caterpillars. This Milkweed Moth caterpillar posed nicely for an image. Caterpillars are of course slow and afford you some time, unless you turn your head for about five seconds at which time they will shock you by how quickly they will disappear.
Of course bees make great subjects and they often come with a bonus,. That of a pretty flower to compliment them.
While at times I headed out in the morning in search of specific critters, I took whatever came my way.
As always, when I finished making images of a subject, I said thank you and moved on.
Just another morning in the life of a nature photographer, but what mornings they were.