Top bug shots of the year

As I was sitting looking trough my photos of insects from this year I really longed back to the summer and early autumn when I was out every day shooting 100+ photos of insects and enjoying every second of it. Learning the lens, the methods of manual focusing, sneaking slowly up on the subject and spending hours in Adobe Lightroom doing small corrections of white balance, sharpness etc.

One thing’s for sure, when the spring comes next year I am getting out again, maybe with a new macro lens if I can afford it. But when I look back I realize that I have managed a few quite good photos with the one I am using already.

So here you have it, my own top ten list of bug photos from this year. I am not a pro, this is just me trying to learn and hopefully I will have a top ten next summer that is even better!

Remember to click on each photo to see it in higher resolution!

#10 – the autumn hopper

From just a week ago. It was nice to see that I still could shot sharp freehand manual focus macros. The subject is nice with its colors and sharpness. I would have wished for a background with higher contrast but it’s still a nice shot me thinks

#9 – the crouching dragon

This photo has what the previous one was lacking; a good contrast between the subject and the background. I would have wished for an ever deeper depth of field so that the wings weren’t out of focus but this is not easy with freehand and low ISO. Also the leaf that it is resting on is a little bit too big in the shot, maybe I should cut it down a little? But I am happy with the sharpness and the way it looks towards the sky.

#8 that spark in your eye

The most fascinating with taking photos of insects is that what looks small and uninpressive to the naked eye gets to become this amazing thing when you get to come this close to it. I like the sharpness of the eyes here, the way it is composed and the contrast towards the background. All in all I am rather pleased with this.

#7 the stone dragon

Maybe not perfect in any way but it was one of the first photos I took with my new macro lens early this summer that I got really satisfied with the sharpness. I really love the greyish color which makes it almost look like it is made from stone. Dragonflies are some of the hardest insects to sneak up on, they see you which angle you might come from, so when you get this close to take a shot like this you need to be ready with all the settings and the focus becayse you won’t get that many photos taken before it takes off.

#6 Look at me

I took more photos of butterflies than anything else this summer. Still it was hard to find that many that made it into this list. This is quite a classic subject, a newly hatched butterfly (small tortoise) that sits in the warmth of the sun. I like the shallow depth of field with the blurry background which in color are great contrast to the bright red butterfly, I also like the sharpness and the thistle flowers in there too.

#5 nectar lunch

Often when you take photos of insects they look naturally still and it is hard to get “life” in the photo. This photo I feel like I have managed to actually catch this butterfly (Large skipper) with some life in it as it crawls around on the flowers sucking up the nectar from the flowers. I like the light in this photo as well as the pink flowers which kind of frames the butterfly. I a also very pleased with the sharpness being on the “right” spot so to speak.

#4 The clan leader

Just around the corner from where I like I found this “colony” of fantastically colored Stink bugs that turned out to be one of my practice motives. It took me quite a few tries before I managed a photo that I was pleased with. This is a good example of a photo with good contrast between colors in the front and the background. If I could have wished for more I would have wanted to manage a better depth of field so that the whole bug would have been sharp, but again it is not easy with freehand, you are kinda stuck with low f# values. I’ve cropped down this photo quite a lot to get the focus of the surroundings.

#3 In the mighty jungle

Not only am I pleased with the photo itself, the abstract shapes of the green background in contrast to the white/yellow buterfly and the composition itself. But most of all I am pleased with the way I shot it. I was following this butterfly as it flew in underneath this big leaf, with no real possibility to stick my head in there and look I carefully lowered the camera down to where I saw the butterfly and shot “blindly” into the jungle of big leafs. So all in all it is a very lucky shot, but I guess sometimes you also need a bit of luck to get the photos right?

#2 As I lay me down

I really had a touch time choosing between this and the previous one but I eventually chose this one for the second place. I was studying several Skipper butterflies among some bush flowers when one suddenly flew down to the grass and sat down on the only flower there. Slowly I lied myself down and crawled very carefully closer and closer and eventually managed to shoot about 40 photos of this butterfly. I love the composition of it, the depth of field with the abstract green blurry background. The only thing that I would have wanted to change is the grass straw just behind the butterfly that appears very bright, and it was even brighter before I lowered the brightness of that section in Lightroom, but apart from that I am super pleased with this photo!

 

#1 The way of the dragon fly

My choice for the number one spot was easy, this photo has been my favorite since I shot it and I still love it. I got only three photos shot of this golden dragon fly as it was sitting high up on the fence of my neighbors. You see how shallow the depth of field is when you look below the dragon fly, it is not the shadow from i, it is the only part of the fence that is sharp. Super sharp, with great colors and light…. yep, I am pleased and a little proud of this too 🙂

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About Ulf Hagström

Fly fishing, fly tying, family and going your own way; the way of the fly. View all posts by Ulf Hagström

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