A common approach with insect photography is to zoom in close, sometimes very close, to show the details not normally noticed by the naked eye. Sometimes it’s nice, however, to show the insect in a wider view, perhaps because it has settled on a particularly pretty flower or because the photographer wants to show the insect’s habitat. I think I come at my insect photography with the eye of an aspiring landscape photographer. I naturally tend to situate my insect subjects in a wider setting, where the background is as important as the insect. For me, although the top shot is pleasing, I prefer the version below, because I enjoy the background as much as I do the bee.
In this last image, the bee provides a focal point, a starting and finishing place for the viewer’s eye that, hopefully, stops the picture becoming simply a ‘wallpaper’ image. But, for me, the real impact of this image is the gentle, muted colours of the out of focus border.
What do you think?
I prefer the wider view. The bokeh adds a lot to the interest and atmosphere of the image. The close-up is a bit too clinical.
Thanks! Looks like we agree.
In general I agree with you Rachael as I too like to show the habitat. Extreme close-ups of insects don’t really do it for me as I prefer to see what the insect is doing..
Sometimes the extreme close-ups are amazing though. I just worry that the bugs have been popped into the fridge first.
Hmmm . . . Photography, for me, is showing the viewer something they don’t normally see (the first shot), or showing something they often see, but not look at (the last shot).
All those shots are fine with me, but they serve different purposes. The last one is a beautiful artistic shot, but the bee is not the subject. You could put any insect there, and while it may draw the eye, it would not change the feel of the photo. It would even work without the bee.
The first, on the other hand, is showing you details of how the bee interacts with the flower. That is a bee shot, showing you how it hangs on, how it lines up, etc.
I would not call it clinical . . . clinical would be a lone be on a flat surface, with a pin through it.
But, I’m an amateur, with my own ideas about things (often made up on the spot).
Hi. Thanks for this lovely, long comment. I completely agree that the last shot would work without the bee. In fact, I have even made a version without it.
I am an amateur too, really. Some of the best photogs I know are amateurs. 🙂
I just think the bee is mighty cute! 😀
Yes, so do I. But it is a bug, you know – are you sure? 😉
I love the last shot and the wider view in general. At the moment I am getting as close as I can but only for recording and trying to identify the insect. That is a clinical approach.
It’s a clinical approach with a purpose. And jolly helpful when trying to ID something.
I like both: the wider view appeals to the artistic sense, but the closer view appeals to my nerdy scientific sense. And of course, you do both extremely well.
Thanks! It’s nice with these big sensors in new cameras that we can have the luxury of both in one shot – the wider view and then the crop.
Lovely photos, the bokeh in the background and the detail in the foreground are brilliant.
Thank you for this lovely, generous comment.