At least, that’s what they call it on my photography forum. Ever since I bought the second-hand Coolpix for the Holi festival in August, I realised that a whole new world of macro photography had opened up for me. Although the quality is good, there are problems that make it difficult to use. Typical macro lenses tend to have a much longer focal length, giving a narrower field of view and allowing the photographer to keep their distance from the subject. This doesn’t matter so much with flowers, although I still have to be very careful about what is in the background.
Unfortunately, the Coolpix will only operate in macro at 28mm, so to get images of bugs I literally have to hover over them and understandably, not many stick around. I have to be careful not to cast a shadow over my subject and with the camera covering the area, if the bug walks off then I struggle to find it again. These are minor problems though for someone who has never been able to take these kind of photographs before and I’ve thrown myself into it with relish.
A few weeks ago I was at home on one of those warm and still afternoons with bees buzzing contentedly around the May blossom. It seemed like the best time to give it a whirl and I padded out into the garden still wearing my slippers. It definitely wasn’t easy as I found myself chasing insects from one flower to another. I soon learned that some species were far too wary to let me approach, but I eventually found a little hoverfly that was very co-operative.
With no control over the shutter speed or the aperture, it’s down to luck if a shot is successful or not. Perhaps that is the one advantage with the wider angle in that the depth of field is greater. I soon learned to focus on the head with the insect facing sideways, hoping some of the legs would be sharp enough too. Out in the bright sunshine and with no way to zoom in on the end result, I could only keep going, fingers crossed that there were some worth keeping.
In the end I took more than normal for a session and deleted a greater percentage. I am still thrilled with those I kept. Having processed the images and uploaded them for the forum, my next problem was identification. I had no idea it would be so difficult. Thankfully I am surrounded by experts who named them for me, or everything would be titled “Bug1” and “Bug2”. I found a lovely web site to help me in future, but with flies that look like wasps and endless varieties of bees, I know it isn’t going to be easy.
So for now, the featured image at the top is the friendly little hoverfly. The rest of the images are below with what I can only hope are their correct names.
Red headed cardinal beetle
Bee on a chive flower – converted to black and white in Silver Efex