Clicking insects interests me a lot maybe due to my passion for macro photography. But mind you, insects don’t sell much in microstock. I have never seen much of insect photos sell in here no matter how creative your picture might be. That reminds me of a rejection reason – The is not an RF stock oriented Image! Lol. Anywayz, so when you are deciding to click insects in macro, make sure you put them after the shoots that are going to help you earn some good money$$
Lets start with ants. Ants have fascinated me since long, and I have always studied them with a magnifying glass when I was a kid. It was my hobby feeding them. Yes once I burnt an ant with my magnifying glass by mistake and the second time I burnt it on purpose just to see if it was really me who did it. Ok lets get back to the shooting of ants which can be really really interesting apart from the photography itself.
Ants are very selfless creatures. They never work for themselves but always for their community. Their physical design itself proves that. They have two stomachs one to digest food for themselves, and one just meant to carry the food to their homes for the larvae. Interesting isn’t it? Ok, get ready with your macro gear and put a drop of sugary water somewhere near a place where you find ants. It is very difficult to click them as they move quite fast. This can be a way of slowing them. Now you can always click the ants as much times as you want but first time don’t click just study. If you concentrate and watch for some 2-3 minutes, you will see the ant actually drink the water like those wild animals we see on animal planet. Once you experience that entry into the macro world, start shooting with different angles and techniques.
Springtime, the season of love. This is a time insects are in the mating mood. You can actually see the depression in their behavior in these times. Normally an insect would run here and there when you try to get close, but in this season, a lonely insect doesn’t. No matter how close you get to it, it wont budge until you touch it. It is too busy dreaming about his/her mate. Getting to the lovely couples who are mating, this is the first time you will notice that even insects get shy naturally when they understand that someone is watching them while mating. The start running together, stiff in the positions they are in and get stuck somewhere awkwardly. Clicking mating positions can also be very challenging and rewarding as well.
Move to butterflies. The most unstable flying object I have seen. The more beautiful and colorful they are, the faster they will be in their movements. You cannot rely on time when its about butterflies. My past experiences in clicking butterflies tells that you should always get up early morning and try to catch them while they are just dying to bask in that morning sun. Butterflies are always trying to catch that warmth in the morning. They are more stable than they will be in the afternoons basically as they are hungry as well. If you do manage to follow just one butterfly for quite long, like some 20mins you will be lucky. Because they actually get tired and settle down very stable allowing you shoot them very easily.
There is a very beautiful flying insect that is often ignored by photographers who are more busy clicking beautiful models. A dragonfly. There is no flying machine like that in the nature. They are so stable and beautiful in their colors, it will make the best costumes look worse. Clicking dragonflies is comparatively very easy that other flying insects. If you go to their favorite spots like ponds or lakes, they get used to your presence very easily allowing you to shoot them very closely and in any kind of position you want. Their mating positions are also very rare and interesting. It must be the most difficult sex position that the best pornstars wont be able to do, so don’t miss it.
Caterpillars are as beautiful as their adult stages called butteflies. A caterpillar can look beautiful individually with all the colors and patterns on it which will eventually end it up in being a beautiful butterfly someday. They move slowly and that’s why are easier to click if you have enough light. Best way to catch them is underneath some wild leaves. You will find the best ones like a monarch caterpillar under the milkweed leaf. Its their favorite food.
Worms look better when they are in a group. Because with all that similar color and design, they form a beautiful texture or pattern that makes the over all picture very beautiful. Worms move much faster than a caterpillar basically as they don’t collect all that they feed on. They eat and excrete. In cases of caterpillars, much of the food is stored for the energy required to make them a butterfly once inside a cocoon, which makes them plump and slow. Shooting worms together sometimes can be a bad experience because you might end up with a worm or two crawling in your shirt or pants. Be careful. Some might be poisonous too.
Snails come in different sizes and colors. Being slow in their movement they are also very easy to click. But switch to macro mode and try to get a moving snail, it will seem quite fast then. lol. Yes it is very frustrating with the position you want them to be in and they can stop or turn suddenly with no reason for their actions. The best places to catch them in between lying bricks or mossy areas which is their favorite food. The jelly like body often has a glaze of certain color which can be rarely seen in a specific lighting position.
Then there are the ordinary or easily available insects that look beautiful too. Like a honeybee, a wasp or a simple housefly. They look very beautiful if clicked in the right angle which can show their real colors or the pattern on their wings. A bee collecting nectar can make an interesting topic as you actually can see the pollen stuck to their hairy feet or just some bags where they store nectar in. In cases of honeybees, they look more interesting with a flower. It will give some interesting colors to the overall picture.
Spiders. I don’t have a phobia of them but many do. House spiders are generally not beautiful. They are all the same, black in color, thin black limbs hanging on to a web. But they can be interesting if they are eating some of the prey caught in their webs. I have those shots but unfortunately the movement is so violent when they eat that I couldn’t capture them very sharply with my non-slr cam. Spiders in the wild on the other hand are very beautiful. They can give you the best postions and lighting situations too.
Their colors are carefully crafted and their webs are untouched by any human civilization. These webs are better to click in the morning with the dew drops on them. You will actually see the difference in the designs with every specie you click. Once I have clicked a spider net as huge as 2 meters wide and 1 meter tall. But in the overall picture, one cannot even make out that it’s a huge spider home. Closing into macro, I have that picture here where it shows one spider on every 2 square inches in that huge empire. It’s literally a factory of their food where even birds can get trapped into.
Summing it all up, you will see that nothing in nature is ugly. The most hated housefly, or a yucky worm, a stingy bee or a bulky caterpillar will look beautiful if you show your vision to the world. It not just helps us relate to nature or understand its beauty, it will also give you a vision to see the patterns or color combinations which might give you some composition ideas for a next picture or a designing concept for some illustration.
I am sure I have forgotten many other beautiful insects like ladybirds or fireflies. They are usually clicked by many people. Fireflies have to be clicked when trapped. They cannot be possible clicked individually ever unless you have them in some glass container or holding them in your fingers. Ladybirds have always been a favorite subject for photographers or non-photographers alike because their beauty can be easily seen like in case of butterflies and very easy to click.
Photo credits: Nikhil Gangavane.