Shy Wasp

This is another from my morning bug hunting expeditions. This guy was stumbling about in a leaf that was suspended in some tall grass. When it finally turned toward me, I was able to get off this shot. I like the expression (I’m not sure if it is a look of curiosity or suspicion :-). I’m always fascinated by these tiny creatures and enjoy getting a glimpse into their little worlds.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any feedback on composition or cropping is appreciated. I intentionally left a bit of negative space on the right, but I think this might detract from the image. I prefer shots of live bugs in their environment. This usually means it is only possible to hand hold and get off a single shot before they move. I’m interested if others have any thoughts on this approach.

Technical Details

This is a single shot, handheld with a reversed 50mm enlarger lens at f/11, 36mm extension tube to get to 2:1 and a Pringles can flash diffuser. The DoF is always a challenge with this setup, so I brightened the in focus areas and darkened the rest.


Interesting shot, Tom. Suspicion, I think. I nearly always hand hold, but sometimes I use the tripod for early-morning sleeping insects. The brown (wing?) under its antenna bugs me a bit (sorry!). It could be cloned out. I like the negative space, and the face detail is excellent.

1 Like

Oh this is nice, Tom. The light looks about right to me. Very dramatic, but not overly harsh. It looks like flash, but well handled and I love how it brings up the dew on the head so well. The wing doesn’t bug me quite so much, but maybe evening out the exposure on the antenna there would help keep the end from looking like it’s floating in space. Leaf litter is a great place to find these and so many other crawling things. I should take a page from your playbook this weekend when it warms up a little. Are you using on camera flash or off?

1 Like

Oh, what a great find and capture, Tom. I love those dew drops on his head. I can’t think of anything else to offer to improve the shot that hasn’t been already offered. Nice details where it matters.

1 Like

Thanks Mike. I’ll see what I can do with the wing. My setup gives me only about 2” of working distance, so using a tripod is tricky. I thought about trying one with an extension arm, but I’m not sure how much I’d use it.

Thanks Kris. I use a on camera flash with a Pringles can diffuser. The cap from the can isn’t much of a diffuser, but adding a piece of parchment paper provides a nice warm light. The working distance of my setup is only about 2", so I need this to direct the light on the subject. Here’s a photo of my setup:

That is a neat photo tells a story of being hidden or waiting to strike. The DOF did very well. The lighting of the photo came out well and the flash setup is nice. Hard to tell if there is a slight yellow-green hue but overall looks very natural. Great photo Tom.

1 Like

Wonderful capture!! All said above – I’ll add kudos for the great idea of the diffuser! It looks perfect, giving off-center light for a super-close subject without a clumsy rig.

Hi Tom,
Wow, your setup reminds me of my early days with macro.
I used to use a 50mm prime lens with a piece of glass that came out of the end of a broken 200mm telephoto lens, I made a threaded adapter for the magnifying glass so I could screw it onto the end of the 50mm prime. I have a small machine shop in my basement so making wild contraptions was almost as much fun as photography.
My flash was mounted on a swiveling side handle I made so the light could be directed from either side but still be right at the end of the lens as yours is, my flash tube was made out of aluminum but rectangular to fit the flash and it flared out a bit toward the other end, for a diffuser I used a thin slice of white UHMW translucent plastic (Polyethylene).
Your photo reminds me of many early mornings crawling around hoping to find a good shot or two! :slight_smile:

Sorry for the memory lane ramble! :frowning:

The wing doesn’t bother me at all and I like the space you left there on the right side, the colors compliment each other very well, the exposure is great and the composition is spot on.
IMHO the DOF is perfect, it holds my attention on the most important part of the scene.

Thanks so much for posting this!

All the best,