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