European Hornet (Vespa crabro)

I had been focused on photographing the Four-toothed Mason Wasp (Monobia quadridens) included in this photo last July when from over my shoulder this European Hornet came in and attacked it. It took me a few moments to realize what was happening as the two wasps grappled. It looked like a pretty intense battle. I tried to stay focused on the action and probably took at least 100 shots before it was over. It wasn’t until I was reviewing the shots at home when I realized that the European Hornet was decapitating the Four-toothed Mason Wasp before flying off with it’s body. I thought the Four-toothed Mason Wasp seemed pretty formidable in its own right. The Hornet didn’t seems so intimidated.

The Four-toothed Mason Wasp had been moving in and out of shaded areas so my ISO was set pretty high and I was shooting hand held on aperture priority at f/3.2. I often try to get a shot with the insect fairly parallel to the camera, but am usually willing to sacrifice some depth of field if i can get the eyes and head in focus. The action started so suddenly I didn’t have the presence of mind to adjust my settings. If I did, I guess I could have boosted the ISO even more. I think this shot came out okay, but a little faster shutter speed would have salvaged more shots.

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Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 7D Mark II, w/ canon 100mm macro. 1/500 sec, f/3.2, ISO 2000. Hand held

Marc, quite the action shot! In a dream world, I’d wish for more dof, to get both heads sharp, but action is action and this is quite a catch.

A very interesting story, Marc, and amazing to be able to get any kind of image under those circumstances. Nicely done.

Wow, Marc, that is an action shot, and quite a story behind it. I always feel sorry for the one caught, but I realize that is the food chain, so it is a natural event. I agree with Mark, DOF would have been a nice plus, but at least you captured the action pretty nicely.

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