Smiler

insect close-up

f2.8, 1/640, ISO 100, 100mm

It’s been a while since I posted a bug shot. Well, at least a couple of weeks, which is a long bug-holiday for Focused Moments! These are shots from 2010, found today while trying to clear some space on my hard drive. I recently heard someone describe dragonfly faces as scary but I think they’re rather cute; they always look to me as if they are smiling.
insect

f.13, 1/80, ISO 400, 100mm

    The Dragon-fly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
-Tennyson

Lace bug

insect macro

100mm , f13, 1/200, ISO 800

This bizarre creature is a lace bug, probably stephanitis rhododendri, which is bad news for the rhododendrons and azaleas in my garden.  Or it might be stephanitis takeyai, which is bad news for the pieris in my garden.  So it is bad news for me as a gardener either way!  I don’t know why it was posing in my sumac tree instead of one of its preferred meals, but I thought the colours worked rather nicely.

The bigger picture

garden photography
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.
garden photography
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.
carder bee
What do you think?

Male crab spider (probably)

araneus quadratus
When I first posted this, I very tentatively identified it as a male four spot orb weaver spider (araneus quadratus) (maybe). Or possibly a marbled orb weaver ( araneus marmoreus var. pyramidatus). I hadn’t found the I.D. especially easy, and asked if anyone knew better, for them to please tell me! Thanks to two very assured comments below, I have now changed the I.D. to an adult male crab spider (misumena vatia). Thank you both. I should perhaps give up trying to identify the bugs I find in my garden as my success rate is woefully low. Anyway, this tiny crab spider was photographed peering over a leaf in a tree rather high up and I was using my macro lens when I spotted it, so these are big crops. A characterful little thing.
araneus quadratus