Aug 19, 2013

Staying Hydrated


Taking home-field advantage and exploring a local wildlife sanctuary can be very rewarding and beneficial for our photography. Usually one can find birds and other wildlife that are willing photographic objects, beautiful flowers, or insects of all sorts. My favorite macro photography location for insects and butterflies in the wild is the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is located near Worcester, MA and is a short 55 minutes drive west of Boston. That morning I arrived quite early and not much was going on. I was evaluating my options to explore the trails, the beaver pond or stay put at the butterfly garden in front of the main building and entrance. I am glad I stayed put as usual! I equipped my camera with a macro lens and got cracking on my quest for capturing exceptional Flower Photographs and Insect Macro Photography images. There were mostly bees going about their business and a couple of butterflies stopped briefly to tease me; in fact not staying long enough to capture any photo of them; very frustrating at times. I then started scanning the garden for more little creature and my patience paid off that day again when I spotted this black fly resting on a coneflower. Nice contrast of colors I thought and started exploring the subject when I noticed to my delight that this little creature had a water bubble attached to its head or mouth. I figured it was using the water drop as a source for drinking and staying hydrated. Perhaps it was washing its face or rinsing its mouth; go figure and I sure appreciate the scientist who will spread some light on this insect behavior. Luckily though, the fly was so busy sipping the liquid that it was not bothered by me moving in closer and closer with my gear. After a few hand-held shots I quickly decided to become more serious and placed camera and lens on my Gitzo tripod. This allowed me to switch to manual mode and precisely nail the focus on the head of the insect and the water droplet thereby raising the odds for a sharp, high quality close up picture of this unique subject. It even got better when I studied the droplet reflection and noticed it had some of the surrounding flowers and sky; the sun streams bouncing off the bubble was the icing on the cake. I gotta say, this sanctuary rarely lets me down and there is always something new that is unfamiliar and exiting to explore and photograph.

An aperture of f/11 at ISO200 resulted in an exposure time of 1/30 seconds. During post processing I minimally adjusted contrast, lighting and color saturation before slightly cropping and sharpening the final image of this Water Drinking Fly